Raise your hand if you’re always ordering the spiciest dish on a restaurant’s menu. Sure, your friends may look at you in horror while they munch on their, shall we say, bland dish? But spicy food lovers know the joy of the stages to tasting spice. First you get the flavor, then you get layers of flavor, and then you get the heat. Plus, according to a study from the University of Vermont, consumption of red hot chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality. So really, you’re being healthy when you order that craft beer brewed with ghost peppers. Here are five restaurants in the U.S. that will help satisfy your thirst for spicy food.
When in Nashville, make it spicy chicken at Hattie B’s
Nashville is known for its iconic hot chicken, basically, your traditional buttermilk-fried chicken doused in hot sauce. You should order it from Hattie B’s. The no-frills restaurant knows its spice. While they do serve a mild chicken for your friends that can’t stand the heat, you’re going to want to order their five-alarm fried chicken, “Shut the Cluck Up.” Don’t forget the side of mac and cheese.
Drink your spice in North Carolina
You’ve heard of ghost chili peppers, probably even tried them, but have you had them in a beer? Charlotte, North Carolina-based Ass Clown Brewing has two spicy brews you’re going to want to try: the Go Reap Yourself IPA, made with Carolina Reaper peppers, and a Ghost Chili IPA, made with ghost peppers.
When in NYC or San Francisco, try Mission Chinese
Eating at one of Mission Chinese Food’s locations (Brooklyn, Manhattan, San Francisco) is like throwing your very own spice party. The food is based loosely on Szechuan cuisine from southwestern China, which, on its own, is known for bringing the heat, but Mission Chinese Food takes it to another level by incorporating classics from around the world. It was one of the favorite NYC restaurants of the late Anthony Bourdain. Order the Chongquing Chicken Wings.
Spice up your BBQ at Big Bad Wolf’s House of Barbecue
Don’t be scared by the dive bar exterior. Baltimore’s Big Bad Wolf’s House of Barbeque is one of the city’s hidden gems, and it has some of the best BBQ in the country. Douse whatever you order in their sauces that range from mild to “Hot Enough for the Devil,” for a sweet and spicy taste you’ll never forget.
Some like it hot at Torchy’s Tacos in Texas
Every August, Texas-based Torchy Tacos rolls out a special “Some Like Hot” menu, and every year, people flee from the spicy tacos. (OK, we can’t confirm this, but the tacos seem to get hotter each year.) Even if you don’t hit up the place in August, though, the casual taco joint brings the spice during the rest of the year with classic options like “The Brush Fire: American Jerk Chicken,” with grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream, and cilantro, with diablo sauce that will have you reaching for a glass of milk.