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Mirchi bajji, or fried green chiles, at Gayatri Bhavan
Gayatri Bhavan

11 Spectacularly Spicy Houston Dishes to Eat Right Now

From biryani to shockingly hot fried chicken, these dishes are serious about spice

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Mirchi bajji, or fried green chiles, at Gayatri Bhavan
| Gayatri Bhavan

Whatever the dish, Houstonians enjoy their food with a hefty dose of spice, and the city’s diverse crop of restaurants is happy to oblige. Whether it’s fried Indian chiles, mouth-singeing Vietnamese salad or a Thai stew that will leave diners reaching for the tissues, there’s something for everyone who wants to feel the burn.

From the taste bud-melting to merely palate-provoking, these 11 restaurants serve some of the spiciest dishes in town.

Is your favorite searingly hot spicy dish missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. De Hoang Duy

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10811 Veterans Memorial Dr #100
Houston, TX 77067
(281) 836-6699

Bun bo Hue, one of Vietnam’s great noodle soups, is spicy by design. This satiating soup is dotted with hot chile oil anywhere in town, but the version here has a well-earned reputation for an extra dose of heat. Even the meaty-yet-refreshing goat salad packs a piquant punch.

2. Street Food Thai Market

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1010 W Cavalcade St suite d
Houston, TX 77009
(346) 406-3177
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Spice levels run high at this Northern-Thai-Laotian market with a comfortable dining area. Even the pad kee mao may hurt a little, but to really feel the fire, order the gaeng om. The dill-flecked mushroom stew is replete with chiles that belie its bright, herbaceous first impression.

3. Vons Chicken

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10020 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055
(832) 538-1038
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Korean fried chicken doesn’t have to be spicy. It’s just best when it is. The hottest we’ve found is at this Spring Branch outlet, where there are both fried and oven-baked wings. The Shocking Hot option is the way to go for a sizzling sensation. Luckily, there’s bubble tea and a full range of bingsu (Korean shaved ice) to transition back to the world of the living.

4. Lankford's Grocery & Market

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88 Dennis St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-9555

Burgers are generally a pretty mild dish, but not at Lankford Grocery. Try The Firehouse burger, a Guy Fieri-approved stunner topped with habanero sauce, cayenne butter, and fresh jalapenos. Fortunately, a glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade will (eventually) tame the heat.

5. Gayatri Bhavan

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14800 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77082
(832) 243-1125
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South Indian fare is a leaner, meaner cousin to the creamy North Indian dishes more common in the United States. That’s evidenced across the menu at Gayatri Bhavan, bolstered by spicy sambars and chutneys. For an unmitigated slap of heat, order the mirchi bhaji, green chiles fried in chickpea batter.

6. Ono Poke

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607 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 831-9453
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“Light” and “fresh” are the words most often associated with the chopped fish bowls served here, but those who order their poke with K-Sauce are in for a wallop of heat. The thick red sauce is spicy and sweet with gochujang. The rice at the bottom of the bowl is necessary to keep the pain at bay.

7. Bawarchi Indian Cuisine

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2922 Hillcroft St
Houston, TX 77057
(281) 888-2145
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The biryani is the marquee offering at this Hillcroft restaurant, and without a scoop of raita with each bite, this dish is definitely spicy enough to induce sweating. Here, there are four different varieties of goat biryani alone, but go for the avakai. It’s heavily spiced on its own, then enhanced with hot and tangy mango pickle.

8. Thai Gourmet

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6324 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77057
(713) 780-7955
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Dining at this expansive restaurant is like a mini trip to Thailand, complete with souvenir shopping. Part of the friendly atmosphere is the server’s warning not to request more than medium heat. Even the typically sweet pad thai is likely to cause a runny nose here. A Thai custard will provide sweet relief to those who make it through the flames.

9. Trinity Bar & Grill

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5700 S Gessner Rd
Houston, TX 77036

The starches, including jollof rice, yam porridge and attiéké—fermented and grated cassava that’s similar to couscous—get star billing at this pan-African restaurant. Perhaps that’s because they’re necessary to mitigate the fire of the pepper sauce-topped proteins that accompany them. Even safe-sounding grilled chicken leaves tasters in for a world of hurt.

10. Tiger Noodle House

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2424 Rice Boulevard suite A
Houston, TX 77005
(281) 974-4507
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Sichuan food is incendiary by default, but for those looking for more than the Chengdu-style fish dishes that both burn and numb the tongue, there is the “Tame the Tiger” challenge at this Rice Village restaurant. Even the most experienced stunt eaters have been felled by this chile-packed noodle soup.

11. Niu Jiao Jian

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9715 Bellaire Blvd Suite A
Houston, TX 77036
(281) 501-9769

Even before the chiles touch diners’ tongues, the wafting vapors of the bubbling soup is fiery enough to bring the tears — even the medium spice level. For a few extra dollars, spring for a frozen bear or bunny made of chile oil. It melts in the broth, bringing with it more numbing spice and an extra dash of cuteness.

1. De Hoang Duy

10811 Veterans Memorial Dr #100, Houston, TX 77067

Bun bo Hue, one of Vietnam’s great noodle soups, is spicy by design. This satiating soup is dotted with hot chile oil anywhere in town, but the version here has a well-earned reputation for an extra dose of heat. Even the meaty-yet-refreshing goat salad packs a piquant punch.

10811 Veterans Memorial Dr #100
Houston, TX 77067

2. Street Food Thai Market

1010 W Cavalcade St suite d, Houston, TX 77009

Spice levels run high at this Northern-Thai-Laotian market with a comfortable dining area. Even the pad kee mao may hurt a little, but to really feel the fire, order the gaeng om. The dill-flecked mushroom stew is replete with chiles that belie its bright, herbaceous first impression.

1010 W Cavalcade St suite d
Houston, TX 77009

3. Vons Chicken

10020 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055

Korean fried chicken doesn’t have to be spicy. It’s just best when it is. The hottest we’ve found is at this Spring Branch outlet, where there are both fried and oven-baked wings. The Shocking Hot option is the way to go for a sizzling sensation. Luckily, there’s bubble tea and a full range of bingsu (Korean shaved ice) to transition back to the world of the living.

10020 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055

4. Lankford's Grocery & Market

88 Dennis St, Houston, TX 77006

Burgers are generally a pretty mild dish, but not at Lankford Grocery. Try The Firehouse burger, a Guy Fieri-approved stunner topped with habanero sauce, cayenne butter, and fresh jalapenos. Fortunately, a glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade will (eventually) tame the heat.

88 Dennis St
Houston, TX 77006

5. Gayatri Bhavan

14800 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77082

South Indian fare is a leaner, meaner cousin to the creamy North Indian dishes more common in the United States. That’s evidenced across the menu at Gayatri Bhavan, bolstered by spicy sambars and chutneys. For an unmitigated slap of heat, order the mirchi bhaji, green chiles fried in chickpea batter.

14800 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77082

6. Ono Poke

607 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006

“Light” and “fresh” are the words most often associated with the chopped fish bowls served here, but those who order their poke with K-Sauce are in for a wallop of heat. The thick red sauce is spicy and sweet with gochujang. The rice at the bottom of the bowl is necessary to keep the pain at bay.

607 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006

7. Bawarchi Indian Cuisine

2922 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77057

The biryani is the marquee offering at this Hillcroft restaurant, and without a scoop of raita with each bite, this dish is definitely spicy enough to induce sweating. Here, there are four different varieties of goat biryani alone, but go for the avakai. It’s heavily spiced on its own, then enhanced with hot and tangy mango pickle.

2922 Hillcroft St
Houston, TX 77057

8. Thai Gourmet

6324 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77057

Dining at this expansive restaurant is like a mini trip to Thailand, complete with souvenir shopping. Part of the friendly atmosphere is the server’s warning not to request more than medium heat. Even the typically sweet pad thai is likely to cause a runny nose here. A Thai custard will provide sweet relief to those who make it through the flames.

6324 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77057

9. Trinity Bar & Grill

5700 S Gessner Rd, Houston, TX 77036

The starches, including jollof rice, yam porridge and attiéké—fermented and grated cassava that’s similar to couscous—get star billing at this pan-African restaurant. Perhaps that’s because they’re necessary to mitigate the fire of the pepper sauce-topped proteins that accompany them. Even safe-sounding grilled chicken leaves tasters in for a world of hurt.

5700 S Gessner Rd
Houston, TX 77036

10. Tiger Noodle House

2424 Rice Boulevard suite A, Houston, TX 77005

Sichuan food is incendiary by default, but for those looking for more than the Chengdu-style fish dishes that both burn and numb the tongue, there is the “Tame the Tiger” challenge at this Rice Village restaurant. Even the most experienced stunt eaters have been felled by this chile-packed noodle soup.

2424 Rice Boulevard suite A
Houston, TX 77005

11. Niu Jiao Jian

9715 Bellaire Blvd Suite A, Houston, TX 77036

Even before the chiles touch diners’ tongues, the wafting vapors of the bubbling soup is fiery enough to bring the tears — even the medium spice level. For a few extra dollars, spring for a frozen bear or bunny made of chile oil. It melts in the broth, bringing with it more numbing spice and an extra dash of cuteness.

9715 Bellaire Blvd Suite A
Houston, TX 77036

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