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Jul 19, 2011 07:57 AM

Best places for VERY spicy food??

Have a friend coming from out of town who loves spicy foods. The guy grows his own Ghost peppers...

We took him to Sichuan Gourmet last time he visited and figured we would go there again but thats not really very spicy in his/our book. (same goes for the other Sichuan places around MA)

We used to like SE Asia in Lowell but since the cook changed there the food is barely edible and not spicy. (i hear they are closing it down?)

Not a fan of East Coast Grill at all....

Any ideas?

East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sichuan Gourmet
1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

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  1. I've yet to find any place that'll *consistently* bring the heat to this gringo. Even Hell Night can have its ups and downs. Based on the comments you made regarding his growing naga chiles and that sich gourmet wasn't good enough, I doubt you'll find anything that suits.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jgg13

      yeah, if he grows his own ghost peppers then i doubt you'll find anything that'll be spicy enough for him

    2. I know you're not a fan, but I've had the most intense heat at ECG, often by ordering a side of inner beauty with my meal. Note, however, that different batches of inner beauty have different intensities of spice, and that it reacts differently with different foods. Also, whichever version of spicy wings they have on the menu usually is pretty spicy. You also can get sides of inner beauty at All Star Sandwich Bar.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Blumie

        yes the all star meatloaf sandwich is ridiculous, thanks to the inner beauty

        op - i trust youve been to Chili Garden in Medford? did it rank?

        1. re: 5thAndNowhere

          I have not been to Chili Garden..
          S&I sounds like a good pick.
          Thanks for all the responses.

          1. re: 5thAndNowhere

            Chili Garden is the spiciest of the sichuan places that I have been to. The cilantro and green pepper salad in particular has a real nice kick.

        2. The spicy version of vindaloo at India Quality in Kenmore Square nearly blew my head off when I had it.

          India Quality Restaurant
          484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

          2 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston

            Spicy version of vindaloo? There's a nonspicy version?

            1. re: Moopheus

              Yes, it's called vindaloo for Americans. :-b

          2. I was pleased with the heat level of the haleem at Darbar last weekend. , the New Shanghai (i.e. szechuan) and S&I Thai are capable of bringing it but you need to ask like you mean it.

            New Shanghai Restaurant
            21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

            1. S&I. Order a yum or a laab "very spicy" and you'll get it.

              35 Replies
              1. re: Luther

                I have had mixed results here. Twice, I ordered the crispy pork belly "pet pet." The first one almost incinerated me, the second was not even close to that level.

                1. re: Ruprecht

                  While placing my order and chatting up the waitress at S&I, I shoehorned in the fact that my father lives in Phuket. I was served the spiciest food I've had in the States or Southeast Asia.

                  1. re: crowdingthepan

                    Actually, that's not true. I've done the Hell Night thing at ECG, and that was spicier. The food at S&I is the spiciest food I've ever had that wasn't a stunt.

                2. re: Luther

                  S&I Thai will bring the heat, but if you are not a Thai ex-pat, my experience is that you have to lobby them very hard to convince them you want serious chili fire. If you succeed at this, you will enjoy a serious two-day burn. I keep hoping they'll remember me two visits in a row, but this rarely happens.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    My only response to this is that perhaps they recognize me? Maybe it's also a confidence an dish selection thing. Either way, I've gone about once every 10 days for the last couple years and it's usually the same waitress, but not always, and I am not Thai and don't speak Thai and nothing more than "very spicy" has ever been needed.

                    1. re: Luther

                      Their website indicates they are mainly a takeout place. Is it difficult for 4 people to get a table??

                      1. re: hargau

                        No, we've been there many times.

                          1. re: hargau

                            Depends. I've found it full at off-hours, not full at prime time. But there are such good fallbacks in the vicinity, it's worth just showing up with a Plan B.

                          2. re: Luther

                            The S&I pork belly pet pet referenced earlier is always incendiary for me, even though i request 'not so spicy', so i have stopped ordering it. sigh. On another S & I thread a CH mother suggested bringing in a little girl with me, as the presence of her daughter has resulted in this dish not being incendiary when she orders it 'not spicy.'

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              I've had a similar experience as Luther - and even when I order the salads "medium" spicy they are almost too much for me. If I order "very spicy", it is definitely too much.

                              I don't think there is any need to speak Thai or have experience living in Thailand. When you order, explain that you *really* like spicy food and that you'd like them to make it truly spicy. I think this emphasis might be helpful.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                try the ka na moo krob (fried pork belly with chinese broccoli)

                                1. re: galangatron

                                  On my latest visit (today, lunch) I was specifically asked how spicy I wanted the Crispy Duck Basil. Medium was just fine; your mileage may vary.

                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                              I understand why places do this, but this is the sort of thing that annoys me. I shouldn't have to make up fanciful stories about my lost youth in the streets of a far away city, or learn phrases that I'm likely mispronouncing anyways (e.g. "pet pet") to get something Really Freaking Spicy.

                              I'm willing to say that I want something "extra hot", and if they don't make something that's particularly spicy, I simply will downgrade the place several notches in my book. At least places like Rod Dee provide the condiment tray. Whenever they F things up, I like to make a big production of how much crap I'm dumping on to their food just so they'll realize that sometimes white people enjoy things to be super hot.

                              1. re: jgg13

                                I agree 100%. I guess I've just been lucky there.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  Yah, but in counter to your view, remember the number of gringos that say they want it hot, and then complain afterwords, or even worse send stuff back as to hot even after asking for it...

                                  Restauranteurs are not dummies they are businesses responding to their market.

                                  If ya need to do a little tap dancing to really get the heat, that is fine by me.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    That's what I mean by saying that I understand why they do it. I just tend to vote with my wallet by avoiding places that do it that way, just the same as the average joes vote with their wallet by avoiding places that are too spicy. Perhaps I should start sending dishes back for not being hot enough (joking, mostly. i would never send a dish back for fear of how it'd be (mis)treated back there).

                                    It's not just that I feel ridiculous trying to butcher things like "pet pet", but it just feels overly pretentious as well. I always picture the person on the other side saying to themselves, "Oh great, another a-hole white guy who thinks he knows what he's talking about".

                                    I'll give some leeway to places on my first/second visit because everyone has a different opinion as to what "hot" means. But if I say, "I asked for it 'extra hot' last time and it wasn't nearly hot enough" and it comes out exactly the same, blammo, they get dinged.

                                    Personally, if I opened a place that featured spicy food I'd just have a sign that said something like "you order it, you eat it" and let the chips fall as they may.

                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      Before SE Asia changed i swear every single time i was in there, somebody was sending a dish back because it was too spicy... I can see why places are shy with the spice.

                                      1. re: hargau

                                        I think you just need to make clear in saying, "You cannot hurt me, no matter how spicy you make your food." Then pull out a habanero and start chowing down...

                                      2. re: jgg13

                                        Have you ever been in a line of work where you actually had to deal with clients/customers? I have a feeling by your general tone that the answer is no.

                                        It ain't easy, and only a very few chefs have the luxury of saying "take it or leave it." Small struggling ethnic places are usually happy for whatever customers they can get and I feel it is our job as hounds to work WITH them to broaden their horizon's that not every gringo is a dork brain who wants exclusively pineapple chicken and pad thai.

                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                          I recently had the opposite problem.. Slightly OT story here.. We were up in midcoast Maine of all places and spied a new "thai" restaurant.. We decided to try it to have a break from all the Maine seafood we had been eating. We went in with a attitude that this isnt going to be any good or very authentic, based purely on its location and appearance. Ordered my dish "extra spicy" thinking that this was going to be a dumbed down touristy place. I believe she asked for a number 1-5 and i said 5.. I had a hard time finishing it and was sweating like crazy. The waitress and hostess had a nice laugh and came over a few times in what we perceived as actually mocking! Basically to say " haha hot enough for you white boy".. Lady actually said at one point "your face and lips sooooo red!" and started laughing! I seriously think they were tired of people asking for "extra spicy" and decided to have a little fun in the kitchen....

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            Yes, but probably not the way you mean. But me being the way that I am, that's still probably how I'd do it, even if it'd cause my place to fail.

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                I like dork brains when they're mixed with ghost chilis.

                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                  those are only on the secret thai menu

                                                  1. re: Nab

                                                    Dang they won't show me the secret menu, I look too much like a gringo dork brain.

                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                      Won Dee Siam in New York City actually has a printed "Secret Thai Menu":


                                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                                As I recall, the late lamented Rangoli in Allston had a warning on their menu that if you ordered the mirchi ka salan you were not allowed to send it back for being too hot (reasonable, given that it's basically stewed hot chilies).

                                          2. re: jgg13

                                            Why not just ask them to make whatever you ordered spicier? Say this tastes great, but I think the cook forgot the hot peppers?

                                            1. re: steve999

                                              I've done that many times. "The last time I was here I said "extra hot" and it wasn't hot enough" - it usually doesn't do anything.

                                              Unless you mean to send it back. I wouldn't do that as:
                                              a) I almost never send anything back due to fear of mistreatment of my food
                                              b) All they're going to do is throw some dried chiles or something on top, not necessarily make the dish as it was supposed to have been made

                                          3. re: MC Slim JB

                                            take a native speaker with you? i always order in thai and have never had a problem with the level of heat

                                            1. re: galangatron

                                              In summ -

                                              For spicy: bring native Thai speaker with you if you can't talk Thai

                                              For non-spicy: bring non-Thai small female toddler

                                              1. re: Nab

                                                Can we rent such people at the door? :-)

                                                1. re: gourmaniac

                                                  Hmmm business idea, Thai / Toddler rental service.

                                                2. re: Nab

                                                  An iPad might do the trick both ways. If you want spicy, use a translation program to make it speak in Thai. If you want non-spicy, fill the screen with a picture of a little girl, prop it up next to you and make baby-talk to it.