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Best places for VERY spicy food??

h
hargau Jul 19, 2011 07:57 AM

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

  1. Bob Dobalina Aug 4, 2011 09:19 AM

    A recent article in the Herald about three local restaurants serving spicy chow: http://bostonherald.com/entertainment...

    I ate at Angela's the week before this article came out - they were offering the item described in the article, along with a special mole negro paired with beef shortribs. I ordered the shortribs and both the waitress and the host took great care to inform me that it was really spicy. I said bring it on, which seemed to surprise them. It was a mole with chipotles, tomatillos and garlic - a great deal of spicy, earthy heat. Not much on the front end, but a subtle burn that kept building on the finish...it was quite excellent, and Angela's should be encouraged to continue to offer dishes with such good heat. I would note that while I enjoyed the meat, it was not braised to a tenderness that many people would expect from shortribs - it was a little chewy, which I liked, but probably could have used a longer braise. But the mole was kick ass.

    1. d
      Dinsdale45 Jul 25, 2011 05:14 AM

      Simply Khmer in Lowell is my new go-to place for Cambodian. They bring the heat if you ask for it, like in the chicken with lemongrass.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dinsdale45
        h
        hargau Jul 25, 2011 05:42 AM

        I love the chicken wings at Simply Khmer. I find them more sweet than spicy though. We have asked for spicy on several dishes but sadly never have got it. Will have to try the chicken with lemongrass

      2. l
        lergnom Jul 21, 2011 03:04 PM

        I thought of a place that does very spicy. It's a tiny, tiny, tiny place inside the arcade in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, called MJ Ready International Cuisine.

        It's Thai food. I just had an order of drunken noodles at level 3 of 5 and it's hotter than nearly anything I've been served in the last few years at other places. It's also very, very good. I don't know why drunken noodles aren't more popular here and why they aren't generally prepared very well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lergnom
          Luther Jul 21, 2011 03:58 PM

          I'm afraid to eat there because they have things like this

          http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/5N89I3...

          1. re: Luther
            l
            lergnom Jul 23, 2011 07:00 AM

            Funny. My attitude towards weird looking dishes like that is two fold: if it's a chain, then totally avoid because they serve absolute junk in the name of "fun"; if it's a dive, then the cook may have a lousy aesthetic for what's classy but that's amazingly common in authentic restaurants in many parts of the world.

            I think it's just a husband and wife. He's caucasian, name seems to be Brown, and she's Thai. I've never had anything other than noodle dishes, which are uniformly good

        2. l
          lergnom Jul 21, 2011 08:39 AM

          I distinguish between food that's hot and food with lots of hot peppers. For example, at the late lamented New Taste of Asia, Qun Li served "chicken with chills" which was small pieces of chicken in an entire plate of chills. The chicken itself was mildly hot from the cooking, but my wife could still enjoy it. The number of chills I eat relates to how much discomfort I want to experience the next day. I've found versions of this dish but the chicken is usually coated. I've seen that called "mountain chicken" a few times but only when I was with someone who could read the characters.

          I find that asking for more chills in dishes works at Sichuan Garden, for example. I've never had much luck asking any place to make food really hot.

          -----
          New Taste of Asia
          1393 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

          Sichuan Garden
          295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

          2 Replies
          1. re: lergnom
            h
            hargau Jul 21, 2011 08:53 AM

            I know what you mean by that legnom.. For example when i order the Dried chicken w/ Chili peppers at any of the sichuan places around, there are always a lot of the dried whole chilis in the dish.. There are only so many of those that i will eat, not because of their heat but just cause of the package/texture of them.. Its just that are well very dry and sometimes kinda sharp and just not that interesting to eat plates full of..Id prefer more spice actually on the chicken or in the batter and less of the mountain of dried chilis on the plate.

            1. re: hargau
              jgg13 Jul 21, 2011 01:19 PM

              I'm exactly the same. After a small handful of those I just get tired of eating the leathery chiles. This gets compounded when you end up with something that's like 80% dried chiles and 20% other stuff.

          2. lipoff Jul 20, 2011 09:34 AM

            Wow, Sichuan restaurants in the Boston area not spicy enough? That has not been my experience. Admittedly, I order in Chinese, and I know that helps with the authenticity. Even ordering in Chinese, I have found the Brookline location of Sichuan Gourmet to be much more wary about making very spicy dishes. I have never had that problem at the Framingham or Billerica locations. I once received the oddest plate of Chongqing spicy chicken at the Sichuan Garden in Brookline --- it was sugary sweet! I have never had that experience in Wouburn either. I think the Brookline locations see more non-Chinese customers dining in.

            However, for the spciest Sichuan overall, I would recommend Red Peppers in Framingham, which is a Chongqing style restaurant. I don't want to overgeneralize, but generally Chengdu-style Sichuan food is considered spicy but subtle; Chongqing style Sichuan food beats you over the head with heat. My last few experience with Red Peppers have been uniformly excellent, even eclipsing the outstanding Sichuan Gourmet. I would also recommend Top Garden in Tewksbury.

            Outside of Sichuan, S&I Thai is a very good choice. If your order includes Pad Thai you'll have a hard time convincing them to give you anything spicy --- ordering only more traditional Thai dishes I have never had that difficulty. Even more importantly, there are four different types of hot peppers in small bowls --- one hotter than the next --- that you can apply to your food yourself. If the tray isn't on your table, you can just grab them from in front of the cash register, or look for them on another table. In Thai cooking often only certain spices are added to the food while cooking, while the rest are for the diner to add to taste, just as we are used to adding cream(s) or sugar(s) to our own coffee.

            I am not the biggest fan of East Coast Grill ordinarily either. I have really enjoyed Hell Nights over the years though (especially the spicy Chili) and I believe they always have a couple spicy items on their menu. I have never had anything hotter than the Pasta from Hell.

            Taqueria Jalisco in East Boston also has some very nice spicy food (and three terrific salsas that appear on the table) and a number of dishes at nearby Rincon Limeno are very spicy, especially if you add the rocoto pepper sauce. If it doesn't happen to come with the particular dish(es) you order, just ask for it, or even chopped rocoto pepper itself. This is a very common request in Peruvian restaurants.

            Any journey of spiciness shouldn't be complete without some good Ginger Beer. Highland Kitchen's Ginger Beer is unsubtle, but very spicy. Eastern Standard makes a nice Stormy Monday mocktail with Ginger Beer. You can also find lots of Ginger Beer in various stores, especially liquor stores like Marty's in Newton, which stocks several brands. Some of the Latin American markets also stock various brands.

            Not all authentic ethnic food, of course, is particularly spicy. I have found that toning down the level of spiciness is commonly done in Chinese (especially Sichuan) and Thai restaurants in particular, though.

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

            Rincon Limeno
            409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

            Eastern Standard
            528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

            Highland Kitchen
            150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

            Sichuan Garden
            295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

            Top Garden
            1921 Main St Ste 1, Tewksbury, MA 01876

            Sichuan Gourmet
            1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

            7 Replies
            1. re: lipoff
              h
              hargau Jul 20, 2011 10:22 AM

              We have not had very good luck at Red Pepper in framingham and prefer Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica for our Sichuan fix. Top Garden is good too. Everyones idea of "spicy" is different. I have friends who cant tolerate a hint of black pepper on their pizza or its "too spicy"....

              -----
              Sichuan Gourmet
              502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

              Top Garden
              1921 Main St Ste 1, Tewksbury, MA 01876

              1. re: hargau
                jgg13 Jul 20, 2011 11:49 AM

                True, although one would think that people could agree on a relative hierarchy of spicy - as in Place X serves spicier food than Place Y

                1. re: hargau
                  k
                  Kat Jul 21, 2011 12:32 PM

                  Went to Red Pepper right after they first opened. We like spicy food and were afraid they would automatically dumb down the spice level for a suburban western palate. My DH told the server "I have a Chinese stomach". Weeeeelllll...the food was incredibly spicy. So, so, hot, About twenty minutes after we left, we had to make a manic, unplanned detour to the Natick Collection where we both probably horrified the genteel shoppers using the Nordstrom restrooms with our incredible intestinal explosions. I thought I was going to die right there in the mall. It is a shame, because I liked the menu at Red Pepper, but just could not ever go back after that. Bad memories!

                  1. re: Kat
                    h
                    hargau Jul 21, 2011 01:15 PM

                    Funny story and perfect example of how different people like different spice levels.. My biggest issue with Red Pepper is the horrible service and the basement atmosphere. Mostly the horrible service.. Worst i have experience anywhere.

                    1. re: Kat
                      StriperGuy Jul 21, 2011 05:21 PM

                      rotflol

                  2. re: lipoff
                    opinionatedchef Jul 20, 2011 12:06 PM

                    lip, what a beautifully done piece. articulate, detailed, focused, and broad reaching. This should go into folders everywhere to be referred to and linked in the future.

                    I have one specific relevant experience.( I don't know when pad thai started being equated with low taste; maybe just another unnecessary smarminess by some other CHs) but i always order pad thai in some version from S&I Thai, and up until recently, where I finally gave up with this other dish, I ordered it alongside the aforementioned crispy pork belly topped with green peppercorns.The inclusion of pad thai in my order never ONCE (except the first time out of 5) saw an edible/not incendiary crisp pork belly.
                    When said pork belly is not dry and tough it has wonderful potential, but i have given up on it being edible for me, no matter how much i have requested it to be 'not hot'. P.S. if that pork belly is available in some other not-hot rendition, plse tell me so i can try it! Thank you again for your great post.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      Luther Jul 20, 2011 06:52 PM

                      Pad ka na moo krob = same pork belly in non-spicy sauce with Chinese broccoli

                  3. q
                    qianning Jul 19, 2011 11:18 AM

                    Phien's Kitchen in Lowell. If you used to like SEA before the changes, you'll probably like this place. Also Golden Palace in Chelmsford, Sichuan food Chongqing style, very similar to Chili Garden in Medford.

                    -----
                    Phien's Kitchen
                    586 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

                    27 Replies
                    1. re: qianning
                      h
                      hargau Jul 19, 2011 11:51 AM

                      Golden Palace? Do you mean Sichuan Palace?? We used to like that place but about a year ago they sold to new owners/chefs and the food now isnt nearly as good and not spicy at all. We used to alternate it in with Sichuan Gourmet before the ownership change.

                      I have been meaning to get to Phiens kitchen but have not made it yet. One time we went they were closed.. Is this their current full menu? Seems really small http://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/...

                      -----
                      Sichuan Palace
                      7 Summer Street, Chelmsford, MA 01824

                      Sichuan Gourmet
                      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                      1. re: hargau
                        q
                        qianning Jul 19, 2011 12:13 PM

                        you're right sichuan palace....didn't know about the change in ownership, haven't had anything other than hot pot there in a while...

                        phien's kitchen has a limited menu, but everything we've had there has been good. the papaya salad, spicy, is indeed spicy. they are very nice and they've mentioned to us they will do special orders if there is something you want that's not on the menu, i don't know how much lead time they need though.

                        1. re: qianning
                          h
                          hargau Jul 19, 2011 12:51 PM

                          Phiens kitchen is definitely on my places to go list.. Will make it there soon. I especially want to try that sticky rice dessert.

                          1. re: hargau
                            d
                            DoubleMan Jul 19, 2011 07:56 PM

                            That dessert is incredible, and a great compliment to a very spicy meal.

                            Second the papaya salad. The larb is also fantastic. I think my favorite thing is the sour sausages - not spicy at all, but incredibly flavorful. Under no circumstances should you take leftovers of the sausages home - the smell will stay in your car for a week.

                            1. re: DoubleMan
                              opinionatedchef Jul 20, 2011 12:19 AM

                              dm, would you plse further describe that rice dessert? coconut milk based? ingredients?thanks much.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                d
                                DoubleMan Jul 20, 2011 05:20 AM

                                It's purple sticky rice cooked in cocunut milk, served warm, and topped with very cold coconut custard and a bit more sweetened coconut milk. I've had it elsewhere and tried to make it myself, but Phien's rendition is by far the best I've had. If you like coconut, you will love it.

                                Here's a pic:
                                http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/E6lc-w...

                                1. re: DoubleMan
                                  justbeingpolite Jul 20, 2011 05:31 AM

                                  +3 or 4 on Phien's Kitchen, it was that first thing in my mind reading the original post. The papaya salad is indeed spicy, plus is has that strong flavor of the fish sauce, which I've not quite acquired a taste for , yet. DM, what's the dish you've pictured, with the peppers on top? Some beef dish? Larp Seen, the beef salad? It looks great. Some of the noodle dishes there are also wonderful (Lard Nah), tho' not spicy, so off point for this thread.
                                  Another big thumbs up for the purple rice custard dessert!!

                                  Here's a link to the menu:
                                  http://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/...

                                  1. re: justbeingpolite
                                    d
                                    DoubleMan Jul 20, 2011 05:40 AM

                                    I think that is the beef larb. It is great, but I usually go with the chicken. The chicken larb appears to have some other cuts in it - heart maybe.

                                    They will make the larb mild or up to blow-your-face-off spicy. Those white peppers an be lethal.

                                    1. re: DoubleMan
                                      d
                                      drbangha Jul 20, 2011 06:48 AM

                                      There is tons of very hot stuff at Fuloon in Malden, hot diced chicken being one of my favorites.

                                      1. re: drbangha
                                        h
                                        hargau Jul 20, 2011 06:54 AM

                                        I have been to Fuloon. Very good food. Its hot like Sichuan Gourmet hot but not very hot to us.

                                        1. re: hargau
                                          d
                                          DoubleMan Jul 20, 2011 07:38 AM

                                          I agree. It's spicy and delicious, but nothing ridiculous, except for the fish filet in chile broth. There is about an inch and a half of dried chiles on the top of the broth.

                                      2. re: DoubleMan
                                        h
                                        hargau Jul 20, 2011 06:58 AM

                                        Many mentions of "larb" yet i dont see this on Phien's Kitchen menu.. I see "larp" and "lard" and i dont see chicken in either?????????? Or is the Larb at S&I thai... Im confused!

                                        1. re: hargau
                                          d
                                          DoubleMan Jul 20, 2011 07:30 AM

                                          I guess it is larp on the menu. It's the same meat, toasted rice, chile, herb, fish sauce, and lime salad that Thai restaurants call larb (or laab or laap). They definitely have chicken at Phien's.

                                          I suspect that S&I also has a delicious larb, but I have not tried it yet.

                                          1. re: DoubleMan
                                            h
                                            hargau Jul 20, 2011 07:33 AM

                                            Is that served hot or cold?

                                            1. re: hargau
                                              galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:39 AM

                                              the larb is served room temperature

                                          2. re: hargau
                                            galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:38 AM

                                            the beef larb is called "larp seen" (laap seen) on the menu. they also have chicken and catfish larb written on a dry erase board inside the restaurant

                                          3. re: DoubleMan
                                            h
                                            hargau Jul 22, 2011 05:39 PM

                                            We tried it tonight. Very tasty. We liked it alot. Bummer their ac was broken on the hottest day of the year but not too bad with the ceiling fans. We were going to get the chicken larb but we dont like innards and the waitress told us it is full of hearts and other gizzards. We ended up with the fried egg rolls which were excellent. The sausages, also excellent (and we did bring the leftovers home in the car despite the warning above).. We also got a flat white noodle dish with shrimp/pork. They gave us their homemade hot sauce to spice it all up with. It was indeed a very tasty spicy sauce. The waitress was really nice and gave us a huge container of it to go too. We finished with the purple rice dessert. Definitely will be back to try more of the menu.

                                        2. re: DoubleMan
                                          opinionatedchef Jul 20, 2011 11:37 AM

                                          doubletheman, you IS my man. th you. when we next drive up to the excellent Meena's Kitchen (So Indian vegetarian) in Nashua, we'll detour here for some of this to take out.

                                          -----
                                          Phien's Kitchen
                                          586 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

                                        3. re: opinionatedchef
                                          galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:32 AM

                                          it's warm purple sticky rice topped with cold egg custard and drizzled with sweet coconut cream. a lovely combination of contrasting tastes, textures, and temperatures. one of my favorite desserts

                                        4. re: DoubleMan
                                          MC Slim JB Jul 20, 2011 09:28 AM

                                          Those sausages are my favorite thing at Phien's. Been way too long since I got back there.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            h
                                            hargau Jul 20, 2011 10:23 AM

                                            Yea i may take them to Phien's kitchen as its close to where we are going to be.

                                            What sort of flavor are the sausages? Sound good.

                                            1. re: hargau
                                              d
                                              DoubleMan Jul 20, 2011 05:18 PM

                                              They are fatty and delicious pork sausages with (I think) ginger, garlic, and rice that's been soured, so there is an interesting, funky flavor going on. They are not for everyone, but if you like some funkier things, like fish sauce-heavy dishes, you might really like them.

                                    2. re: hargau
                                      galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:23 AM

                                      the menu is small but they have all the standard lao dishes and the food is delicious. you can also special order off-menu items. i once had a gaang nor mai (sour bamboo shoot soup with yanang leaves) there that was incredible

                                      1. re: galangatron
                                        h
                                        hargau Jul 21, 2011 05:34 AM

                                        Anyone ever tried the chicken wings at Phien's? Im wondering what sort of prep they are. We get these incredible wings at our fav Cambodian place in Lowell Simply Khmer that are fried and have a sweet/spicy/sticky sauce on them.

                                        1. re: hargau
                                          d
                                          DoubleMan Jul 21, 2011 07:07 AM

                                          They are just nicely fried wings with solid salting. Unfortunately, they really aren't that exciting. I'd love to see something with a sauce there - maybe along the lines of Ike's fish sauce wings from Pok Pok in Portland, OR, which are pretty much the greatest things on the planet.

                                          http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ik...

                                          1. re: DoubleMan
                                            h
                                            hargau Jul 21, 2011 08:08 AM

                                            Ok thanks. Those Ike's ones do look good. You must try the Simply Khmer hot wings if you have not. So crispy and a tasty sauce. Another real good wing is at pho88

                                    3. re: qianning
                                      KWagle Jul 25, 2011 04:41 AM

                                      I second the recommendation for Phien's. The papaya salad comes in mild, medium, spicy, and extra spicy. We ordered the extra spicy (though later the waitress called it "extra extra spicy") and it was *almost* too hot for me to eat; my DC Andy Tannenbaum said it was too hot for him. It was certainly too hot for us to finish before the rest of the food arrived, or after. She said they could make any one of their spicy dishes that hot, and I'm hoping to go back with more people. I do have to admit to not liking the "thinly sliced" beef tongue, which was mostly not even sliced at all, but chunked, and which contained much animal matter that should've been left in the kitchen IMO. The sausage was excellent and the sticky rice dessert was awesome--easily worth the trip all by itself. The portions were quite large for the money, and two diners wasn't really enough to order broadly.

                                    4. Luther Jul 19, 2011 08:57 AM

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

                                      35 Replies
                                      1. re: Luther
                                        r
                                        Ruprecht Jul 19, 2011 09:26 AM

                                        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
                                          crowdingthepan Jul 19, 2011 09:42 AM

                                          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
                                            crowdingthepan Jul 19, 2011 09:47 AM

                                            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
                                          MC Slim JB Jul 19, 2011 09:33 AM

                                          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.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            Luther Jul 19, 2011 10:07 AM

                                            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
                                              h
                                              hargau Jul 19, 2011 10:59 AM

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

                                              1. re: hargau
                                                t
                                                Taralli Jul 19, 2011 11:21 AM

                                                No, we've been there many times.

                                                1. re: hargau
                                                  Luther Jul 19, 2011 12:05 PM

                                                  4 no, >6 yes.

                                                  1. re: hargau
                                                    Aromatherapy Jul 19, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                    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
                                                    opinionatedchef Jul 20, 2011 12:14 AM

                                                    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
                                                      Dave MP Jul 20, 2011 06:22 AM

                                                      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
                                                        galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:27 AM

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

                                                        1. re: galangatron
                                                          okra Jul 20, 2011 10:51 AM

                                                          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
                                                      jgg13 Jul 19, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                      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
                                                        Luther Jul 19, 2011 10:40 AM

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

                                                        1. re: jgg13
                                                          StriperGuy Jul 19, 2011 11:12 AM

                                                          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
                                                            jgg13 Jul 19, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                            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
                                                              h
                                                              hargau Jul 19, 2011 11:53 AM

                                                              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
                                                                Bob Dobalina Jul 19, 2011 12:32 PM

                                                                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
                                                                StriperGuy Jul 20, 2011 07:20 AM

                                                                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
                                                                  h
                                                                  hargau Jul 20, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                                  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
                                                                    jgg13 Jul 20, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                                    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: StriperGuy
                                                                      opinionatedchef Jul 20, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                                      Dork Brains. good name for a band.

                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                        hiddenboston Jul 20, 2011 11:40 AM

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

                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston
                                                                          Nab Jul 20, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                          those are only on the secret thai menu

                                                                          1. re: Nab
                                                                            StriperGuy Jul 20, 2011 10:00 PM

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

                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                              lipoff Jul 21, 2011 01:14 AM

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

                                                                              http://newyork.seriouseats.com/images...

                                                                      2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                        BobB Jul 21, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                    s
                                                                    steve999 Jul 20, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      jgg13 Jul 20, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                    galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:16 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      Nab Jul 20, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                        g
                                                                        gourmaniac Jul 20, 2011 09:09 AM

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

                                                                        1. re: gourmaniac
                                                                          StriperGuy Jul 20, 2011 10:01 PM

                                                                          Hmmm business idea, Thai / Toddler rental service.

                                                                        2. re: Nab
                                                                          f
                                                                          FoodDabbler Jul 20, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                                          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.

                                                                  4. g
                                                                    gourmaniac Jul 19, 2011 08:27 AM

                                                                    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. hiddenboston Jul 19, 2011 08:24 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                        m
                                                                        Moopheus Jul 19, 2011 09:39 AM

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

                                                                        1. re: Moopheus
                                                                          hiddenboston Jul 19, 2011 09:53 AM

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

                                                                      2. b
                                                                        Blumie Jul 19, 2011 08:13 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          5
                                                                          5thAndNowhere Jul 19, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            h
                                                                            hargau Jul 19, 2011 09:08 AM

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

                                                                            1. re: 5thAndNowhere
                                                                              j
                                                                              joth68 Jul 19, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                              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. jgg13 Jul 19, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              galangatron Jul 20, 2011 08:11 AM

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

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