Where to Get Hot & Spicy Today, LA

By Lesley Balla  |  August 19, 2013
Credit: Lesley Balla

Yep, there's a food holiday for everything (National Lobster Thermidor Day, really?), and some are undoubtedly more fun to celebrate, or even think about, than others. Today is one of those days: National Hot & Spicy Food Day. We adore spicy, nasal-clearing, tear-inducing, endorphin-raising, fire-on-the-tongue food, even if we're usually one to say, "three to five" when asked how hot we can take it on a scale from one to 10. But hey, just because your three is someone else's eight doesn't make you any less of a heat-hound.

There are a lot of restaurants that specialize in the hottest of hot. For Asian and Southeast Asian, we've had the jungle curry at Jitlada but are yet to try the dynamite chile crab. The boiling cauldrons of soon tofu at BCD Tofu House have fueled some late party nights. Yunnan Garden in San Gabriel is an adventure in spicy Sichuan fare, including goat, pork and beef in crazy-hot chile stir-fries and sauces. And many have waxed poetic over the house special, the Spicy Over Spicy, at Hunan Chilli King. The nam kao tod at Night + Market tops the Scoville charts, at least for us.

For Mexican fare, while just a dab of habanero salsa on our cochinita pibil taco was almost too much for us at Guisados last weekend, our friend cried his way through the chile torreados taco (above), listed on the menu with eight chile peppers alongside it, due to the slices of fresh habanero and the dousing of bright orange salsa. Chichen Itza is another hot spot with incredible habanero salsa. And for drinks, the jalapeno-spiked margarita at Loteria Grill always gets us going.

If you want to go a little upscale, the angry lobster at WP24 is smothered in Szechuan chiles and garlic, and the dan dan noodles at Lukshon, while not the most traditional in town, have a fun numbing effect. And the sambal potatoes at The Spice Table aren't chart-toppers on the heat scale, but they definitely pack a flavorful, hot punch.

Go on. Get hot and bothered tonight.