Do you enjoy raising a blister on your tongue or palate whenever you eat? If so, Jan. 16, aka International Hot and Spicy Food Day, has your number. To help you celebrate the pleasure of pain, we’ve identified five restaurants that lay claim to serving the hottest dish in New York City.
The phaal at Brick Lane Curry House (99 Second Avenue, 212-979-2900). It’s the dozen or so ground whole chilies in the dish — a British-style curry that also features a healthy hit of ginger — that boost it into the Scoville stratosphere. If you manage to finish an order, your photo is added to a wall of fame within the restaurant.
The laab neuh gah at Uncle Boons (7 Spring Street, 646-370-6650). The description of the dish on the menu of this unassuming Thai restaurant reads innocently enough, advising that it is a spicy chopped lamb salad with mint, cilantro, pickled onions, cucumber, chilies, and toasted rice powder. A salad, you say to yourself. How hot could that be? Check this one out if you have the cojones.
The Nashville-style hot fried chicken at Peaches HotHouse (415 Tompkins Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-483-9111) in Fort Greene. The chicken comes in three heat designations: regular, hot, and extra hot. The menu cautions that the last of these is “extremely spicy.” The house would not be remiss if it elaborated, advising that the dish will fog your eyeballs from the inside.
The chilate de pollo sopa at El Bombon (73-13 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, 718-205-2996). Take one chicken, simmer it with aromatics to make a good comforting chicken stock, then add a fistful of guajillo chiles. That recipe will give you a good idea of what’s in store if you place an order for this fiery soup.
Napalm burger at Island Burgers & Shakes (766 Ninth Avenue). There’s no actual jellied gasoline in the sandwich, though there might as well be. For starters, the burger is coated with blackening spices. It gets its main jot of heat from freshly cut jalapeños and a generous dollop of habanero sauce. If you can still feel your tongue and lips after taking a bite, you can increase the pain by adding some of the orange “napalm” sauce served on the side.