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Aug 9, 2013 09:04 AM

Your nominations for San Diego's spiciest dishes?

That's actually tasty and chow-worthy?

Is it Mexican?



Something else?

Please share.

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  1. Som tum (papaya salad) at Sab E Lee, level 10.

    6 Replies
    1. re: SaltyRaisins

      One of the spiciest dishes I've ever had that's not a gimmick is the Naked Shrimp at The Orginal Sab E Lee. Not Thai spicy (10), but Lao spicy which is even hotter. I was told somewhere around 12-14 on the Thai 1-10 scale. They won't even make it for you if they don't know you, or you aren't Thai/Lao.

      1. re: KirkK

        The "secret Thai spice menu" ... a cousin of the "secret Chinese menu".

        1. re: ipsedixit

          There are very few people who haven't grown up eating at that heat level who want to have the "morning after" experience.

          One of the most spiciest items I've had was the "big spicy" as in "our medium spicy, is hotter than most BIG spicy" Suan Do Jiao Chao La Ya from Hunan Chilli King. Just the steam coming off the dish felt like pepper spray.

        2. re: KirkK

          I live near the North County Sab e Lee. I hear that it is not as good as the original, anyway I ordered pad see ew (my goto Thai order) And since I was having a little stomachache I ordered a level 6.she told me are you sure, have you eaten here before? And I said yes I'm sure, no I haven't. anyway it was pretty tasty but I am going to ask for an eight or nine next time, and I hope that they recognize me.

          1. re: youareabunny

            I think it's actually more consistent than Linda Vista, though I've noticed not as spicy. I think they've toned it down a bit. Pad See Ew is never really "spicy". If you want spice, get a larb or the Som Tum.

            1. re: KirkK

              There was a place in Escondido that I used to goto that made my pad see ew nice and spicy.

              Anyway I did get the 8 at NC sab e lee and it was DELISH. I think I will try a 9-10 next time, hopefully they will recognize me.

              I did have som tum I believe at Sab e. We only got a 4 since it was my mother and I sharing and it was very spicy. Guess it comes through differently on salad. Larb appears to be pork which I don't eat.

      2. Spicy Noodles at Thai Table Oceanside Spicy 7 or above. I have had the 10 and sweated through it. I usually get the 7 because I think it's the right balance of hot plus flavor.

        One of the few Thai places where the heat scale is accurate.

        1. LV Sab-E-Lee's Tom Yum, Larb (any kind), papaya salad, pad thai, etc., but only if they know you've been there before, and even then only if you convince them that you really, truly, honestly, no-kidding, cross-your-heart want a genuine 10 and promise on a stack of holy books that you will not ask to send it back. Asking for "Lao hot" is a good idea, as KirkK suggested, but it would still take the same convincing.

          I asked for something at Koon Thai once and because their "10" had never quite made it spicy-wise, I asked for a "12" and it actually came out almost too hot to eat. Highly variable there. Usually a "10", even after all of the required attempts at convincing, turns out to be more like a "5" there.

          I've had some hot Korean dishes at Walmido, but it requires the same convincing, and still isn't as hot as Thai.

          At many Thai restaurants they have pickled chopped Thai chiles and powdered chili on the table (or will bring them) if need be, but it's not at all the same as having it cooked into the dish in the first place. Completely different flavor.

          I've never had really hot Mexican or Indian food in SD. Sometimes shrimp diablo can be fairly spicy, but it doesn't come close to Thai.

          I think in general the hottest cuisine in SD is to be found at Thai restaurants, especially Sab-E-Lee.

          4 Replies
          1. re: DoctorChow

            D. Chow - I'm not sure if you know this but Wal Mi Do has closed. It's now i-Sushi.


            La Playita made a pretty spicy Caramones a la Diabla, but they've closed as well.

            The sour tones in the Oscar's Mexican seafood "Cucaracha" heightens the heat and they can make it pretty picante.

            1. re: KirkK

              No, I definitely didn't know about Wal Mi Do closing. Too bad, I liked it there. Darn!

            2. re: DoctorChow

              Whatever 1-10 value you normally give at a Thai place, subtract 3 when ordering at Sab E Lee.


              1. re: knifesavers

                @knifesavers....I would normally be a 9-10 at most local Thai restaurants and I have been going below even 5 at Sab e Lee just to make my dinner a pleasant experience. I normally ordered the papaya salad as "medium" and it comes out pretty damn hot. I need to start using the number system for that dish too I guess. I LOVE hot spicy foods btw.

            3. Chicken phall at World Curry.

              This dish defines what I think of as a "10" on my personal hotness scale. You don't have to request that it be made "extra spicy", level "10", or anything other such thing. It just comes that way.

              Phall is an English curry, amazingly enough. Frankly, I didn't think the British could eat food this hot.

              I myself can tolerate food that's hotter, but why? I'd get enchilado, and when that happens, it spoils the meal.

              In any case, I don't know of anything hotter in SD, other than "level 10" dishes at Sab-E-Lee in LV.