When it comes to spicy foods, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the highest tolerance. I love Thai food and adore Mexican dishes, but you won’t find me ordering anything above the medium spice level and I tend to stay away from Ghost Pepper salsa.
Still, I occasionally find myself chowing on vegetable curry or salsa so hot it makes my eyes water. If you’re a fan of spicy foods, or are simply looking to expand your culinary palate, grab a glass of milk and head to one of the following restaurants to sample a blazing hot dish or two:
May’s Bangkok Express, 254 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, is home to my favorite Thai food dish on the planet. The specialty entree, Kang Kalee (also known as Curry Potato), includes stir-fried green onions and cottage fried potatoes in a curry sauce that is heaven on Earth. You can order it with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops or crabmeat. Though it’s not listed as a choice, you can also order it with a medley of vegetables, which is what I always do.
Any description I give this dish will simply not do it justice. Ordering it mild plus is perfect for me, because the few times I’ve gotten it medium have caused my face to nearly explode. But if you’re braver than I am, go for the hot!
Korean and Japanese Cuisine
Wasabi Korean & Japanese Cuisine, 15 E. Kirby St., Detroit, serves Japanese and Korean entrees, noodles and soups, including a few traditional and spicy items. Mae Woon Dak Kui, a Korean dish, consists of sliced chicken thighs marinated in a hot and spicy sauce, served with a bowl of rice, salad and miso soup. There are similar entrees served in hot and spicy sauce with pork, squid, vegetables, octopus, shrimp and scallops. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand!
Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine, 1250 Library St., Detroit, has plenty of traditional Cuban dishes on its menu. While Cuban food typically isn’t overwhelmingly spicy, Vicente’s has a few dishes with a bit of an extra kick. The Pollo a la Diabla, for example (which, ya know, roughly translates to deviled chicken), includes strips of chicken breast sautéed in a spicy Creole sauce with tomatoes, onions, peppers and Spanish white wine.
The dish is accompanied with white rice and plantains to help cool you down.
Izakaya Sanpei, 43327 Joy Rd., Canton, is renowned for having some of the best sushi around, including its Spicy Tuna Roll. While, typically, sushi doesn’t make you sweat like Thai food can, it provides a nice little zing, especially when topped with wasabi.
Additional rolls with a bit of spice include the Dynamite Roll (spicy scallop with shrimp, seaweed salad and cucumber roll topped with spicy crab, served with a trio of spicy sauces), and of course, the Spicy California Roll.
City Wings, 2896 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, is a great place to grab some wings when you need a break from a certain chain restaurant that produces buffalo wings. Here, wings come in a variety of kickin’ flavors like Hot, Cajun, Curry, Caribbean Jerk and Spicy BBQ. You can get as few as 10 wings or as many as 120 (hopefully for a large party, and not a single individual human being).
There are several wing combos to spice up your life at City Wings, including a lunch special with 10 wings, fries and a drink for less than $9, and a wing dinner with 10 wings and two side dishes for $10.99.
Imperial, 22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, is all about tacos and Sonoran hot dogs, most of which are fairly mild. The Chips and Salsa flight, however, has a bit of a kick and is one of the best things to ever happen to my taste buds. It comes with three salsas, including salsa verde, roasted red pepper and chipotle, the latter of which is obviously the hot one.
While the chipotle salsa provides some zing, the roasted red pepper and salsa verde are there to extinguish the flames after too many tortilla chips dipped in fiery salsa.
McClure’s Pickles, 8201 St. Aubin St., Detroit, is a local condiment producer, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, you’ve probably heard of the company and even indulged in some of its products.
Spicy pickles are available whole or in spears, and they’ve teamed up with Better Made to produce a Spicy Pickle chip. If you’re a stranger to spicy dishes, McClure’s might be the perfect baby step to get you started. If you can handle a Spicy Pickle chip, you can eventually work your way up to hot Kang Kalee! Well, maybe.
If after sampling all of the above dishes your spice quotient still isn’t filled, I have good news! The first Taste of Thailand Festival will take place in Sterling Heights on Sunday, June 29, where dozens of local Thai restaurants will whip up savory and spicy dishes to sample. Stay tuned for more details, and in the meantime, enjoy some spicy dishes in the D!