Best spicy dishes in LA

Looking for dishes that make sense, something the cooks would make for themselves, not ones that are intended only for showing off or dares.

For example, Guisados’ cochinita pibil “level 10” made sense to me: the extreme level of chiles was balanced by the fatty pork and other elements, while the horneados was just an unpleasantly painful glob of mush with no focal point.

Thai, Goan, Sichuan, whatever.

Crab curry luv2eat


+1. Mild spicy is plenty spicy. I’m not aware of anyone that’s had their thai spicy and lived to tell about it.

Crab is delicious btw and not that cheap filler crab some places use just so they can list “crab” as an ingredient.

it’ll seem obvious, but the ‘numb taste’ wantons at Chengdu. They’re delicious, and leave you all tingly and buzzing thoughout the meal.

Haven’t had the crab curry at luv2eat, but I’ve been there 3 seperate times, and each time they got the spice level exactly right for me, and I asked them to make it ‘however they think it should be made’

I’d trust these folks. They seem to have the balancing act down.

I think you’d enjoy the tom saap at Isaan Station, just ask for it Thai spicy and convince them that’s what you actually want. A fantastic mix of heat and sour.

I also think the habanero salsas at Chichen Itza bring out a wonderful fruity flavor with most all of their dishes…

Tru 'dat. They use the real deal crabmeat (with a ‘C’).

I have.
I lived.
Ask Chef Pla or Fern - they said they won’t eat it that hot usually but I “needed” to see and feel it for myself.
It was not a wise move.
I love Luv2eat and usually love things “Thai hot,” but I agree this one should be served at the mild-to-medium even for a heat maniac.


I just want chefs to make dishes for me the way they’d make them for themselves.


I think the presumptive meme of “how they make it for themselves” is somehow a guarantee or imprimatur of deliciousness is overrated, if not just wrong.

I mean, what if they’re diabetic? Or have hypertension? Or a medically-diagnosed celiac?

I’m just talking about the capsicum level.

My general rule is, don’t change anything for me because of your presumptions about my palate. Make it the way you’d make it for someone who knows how it’s supposed to be made.

I wish I could find the article by the US-born woman who figured out that the reason she couldn’t get the same food at a restaurant her China-born uncle took her to when she went there without him was that the kitchen had different styles of cooking for four types of customers: not Chinese, Chinese, Chinese speaking Chinese, and “Chinese, from China, speaking Chinese.”

Whatever. Low sodium, sugar-free, gluten-free foods rock. :wink:

Well, my only point was, having grown up in restaurant kitchens and reared by two parent-chefs, thinking that what chefs make for themselves to eat necessarily means it will be a dish that you qua diner or, really, anyone qua diner, will equally enjoy is often misguided.

Many Chinese restaurants did this, and many still do to this day (even with the proliferation of familiarity and acceptance of Chinese cuisine). It’s all about serving the clientele, and staying in business.

FTC-ers are probably 1% of the 1% of the culinary savants that actually recognize and appreciate sincere and authentic cooking.

Cutting through all that pre-judgment is a hugely important part of my ordering in so many places.

I know when I walk into many SGV places (or other enclaves/ethnicities/cuisines) that I am unfamiliar with - and that are unfamiliar with me - I may have to bend over backwards trying to make it clear that I would like the type of food they would serve the party boss of that region if he stopped by to pick up his graft check. Hold the free cigarettes.

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Most have been raised, educated, and fed abroad.

Woe is me to the chef who tries to curry favor with a graft boss by cooking “authentic” dishes.

Cue the ink on your arm, CB… :wink:

The best spicy food is Jitlada. Bar none. Fish kidney curry, jungle curry, dry southern Thai curry. The spiciest Sichuan food is mild in comparison. Sure you can make a habanero purée that is spicier, but it doesn’t taste like a real dish. That’s the problem with the spicy habanero taco thing at guisados. It seems like a spicy gimmick. At Jitlada the capsaicin will kill you and it’s totally balanced with the rest of the flavors, which are extreme to the max. At least if you let them know you can handle spicy. Your adrenalin will flow and your testosterone will flow

Could you elaborate? Or give some interesting examples?

The only one I know of in real life is Centeno’s Bäco’s, staff meal creations that ended up being so god he built a mini-empire based off of them haha

I should go back to Jitlada. I had a great meal there a few years ago.

Haven’t there been quite a few downhill alerts over the last few yrs, though?