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Apr 13, 2011 04:07 PM

Spicy Food in Philly?

Chow Hounds, please help!

I am looking for the spiciest food in the Philadelphia area. I mean places that serve dishes that really burn the tongue (but also have flavor) and have you reaching for water (or milk).

I've come across Han Dynasty and the KOJA food truck, but I'd love suggestions from locals on the spiciest places in town. Anything come to mind?

How about a spicy Philly Cheesesteak (if there is such a thing)? I'd love to find unique foods that Philadelphia is known for, just done spicy! All suggestions welcome.


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  1. han dynasty is pretty fantastic- have you actually been or just heard about it?

    4 Replies
    1. re: InSearchOfTacos

      Just heard about it (and check out the menu online). Sounds really good, and SPICY! What would you say is the hottest thing on the menu?

      1. re: Spicy C

        dry pot fish. cumin lamb. dan dan noodles.

        1. re: coookie

          yes, the dan dan was a totally new mouth freaking out spice for me. love the szechuan peppercorn flavor.

        2. re: Spicy C

          all the dry pots are fantastic (i enjoy the fish) and the dry pepper chicken is absolutely fabulous and spicy too..i like to use the spicy cucumbers as a cooling agent for their dishes...definitely recommend you check out han dynasty for spicy foods!

      2. There's Szechuan Tasty House (I couldn't finish my order. My fault. Said bring on the heat). As for the cheesesteak, just load it up with hot cherry peppers.

        1. Koja actually makes a spicy pork bulgogi cheesesteak. I don't know how spicy it really is.

          Han Dynasty definitely. The gumbo at the Khyber is quite spicy and also delicious with real depth of flavor.

          For classic Philly food, grilled long hots and hot cherry peppers can be added to your cheesesteak, hoagie, roast pork, pepper & egg, etc. pretty much anywhere to kick it up a notch.

          Pat's & Geno's, the cheesesteak icons, have pretty mediocre to poor sandwiches but actually have good options for spicy. Geno's has a great thin hot sauce you can ladle on--it's very spicy, be careful--and Pat's has these awesome crispy chili peppers, they're like whole deseeded chilis fried in oil then dried. Not super spicy, but add some background heat. At both places, you add these on your own from the condiment bar. Steve's Prince of Steaks also has a very good thin hot sauce, and their steaks are actually good. But I think it detracts from the sandwich there so I usually don't add it--I like the vinegary spice from from the cherry peppers better,

          Some hoagie and steak shops offer "diablo" versions of sandwiches that are supposed to be spicy, but I'd rather have something traditional and just add peppers.

          Additionally, WMD Hot Sauce on South Street makes some nice hot sauces, they were even doing one with the ghost pepper for a while, it doesn't get much hotter than that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: barryg

            Thanks for the great suggestions, Barry! Very helpful... I'll have to look for those Diablo sandwiches. Everything you listed sounds tasty, though!!

          2. If you go to any of the Mexican taquerias or restaurants, I bet they could dial up something spicier than their menu offerings.

            1. yes, all very good suggestions

              i also recently tried the cajun place inside reading terminal (iconic philly, you should def make a trip there- just bc its fun and tasty). i had the po boy which was not at all spicy (very good btw) but they did have some other offerings with more of a bite

              1 Reply