Some of us relish the idea of heavily panting over a mind-numbing spicy dish. For the rest of us, hot sauces like Tabasco and Sriracha provide cheap thrills but no amount of something so quotidian will ever cut it when it comes to pure hot‘n’spicy euphoria.
If you’re after the spiciest food that Sydney restaurants have to offer, then this list is for you, you maniac. Because hardcore heat seekers need love, too.
Do Dee Paidang
This Thai noodle café serves up the infamous de dee lava tom yum spicy noodle level 3, known affectionately by the initiated as level 3 lava. Order it and receive a foreboding “are you sure?” from the waitress. When the red hot broth arrives and you feel that first tingle hit the back of your throat, you’ll immediately know what she meant.
Surry Hills Eating House
Order the kanom jeen set if you’re wanting to bring the heat in this Southern Thai-inspired Sydney restaurant. As if straight from Phuket, fermented rice noodles get served in a wicker basket alongside fresh herbs, veggies, and two types of curry. One of the curries is sweet and sour. The other is a spicy curry that will have you searching frantically for the nearest fire extinguisher.
Chilli & Spicy Restaurant
We’ll start with this: Chilli & Spicy Restaurant does indeed live up to its name. As you would suspect, nearly everything on the menu is dangerously hot but we say go with the fried rice cake and sea crab which comes marinating in a bowl of flavourful and spicy broth. Don’t let your guard down, this is the kind of heat that builds and builds with every bite.
Ayam Goreng 99
Fried chicken is what this humble Indonesian restaurant in Kingsford is all about. For heat addicts, we recommend getting a side of the sambal terasi dipping sauce to drop a match on it. Seriously, it will set your taste buds on fire. We suggest having a cendol es (green jelly with palm sugar and coconut milk) on standby to take the edge off.
Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
Sichuan cuisine, known worldwide to be insanely spicy, lives up to its reputation at Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant. The drunken chicken dish is exceptionally mouth-burny. Topped with green onion and sesame seeds and then drenched in an atomic chilli oil, this dish will weed out the weak.
Maya Da Dhaba
The vindaloo dishes (chicken, lamb, prawn) on the menu are described as fairly hot and spicy but a more accurate description would be downright fiery. After all, they are prepared Goan style, meaning lots and lots of chillies to melt your mouth into next Tuesday.
At Chairman Mao, it’s common to see diners wiping the sweat off their brows while enjoying a spicy serving of stir-fry. The pig intestines with red chillies is the way to go if you’re looking to join in on the brow wiping. Yeah, it’s intestines, but it’s also braised in herbs and spices for hours and then cut into strips before getting stir-fried with ginger, shallots and chillies, making it practically nondescript by the time it reaches the table.
Image credit: Lisa Brooke for Surry Hills Eating House