A new study out of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences released findings in the BMJ
that consuming spicy foods is linked with longevity.
Luckily for all of us, there are plenty of places around town to get your chili on in just about every cuisine category. Here, four of our faves:
Chuan Lu Garden
Of course we have to nod to the Chinese researchers who published the study by including this one first. The most recent development at this temple to the Sichuan peppercorn is the relative ditching of the Ginza hibachi concept (though you still can watch a guy flip a shrimp into his hat to your heart's contentment) and the embracing of what the restaurant is really doing right, which is offering first-rate Chinese cuisine you can't get anywhere else in town. Our favorite fiery menu selections: Chong Qing La Zi Chicken (shown above) and Fei Teng Yu Xiang, a stew of fish, bean curd, bean sprouts, tofu skin and TONS of numb-spicy peppercorns.
Noodles & Rice Cafe
Specifically, the spicy hot pot broth is what you should order. It is atomically hot and the servers will warn you ahead of time before they put it down on the burner, giving you a chance to turn back while you're still ahead. You can try adding some tofu cubes and stirring in a poached egg to cool the burn, but the real remedy comes the form of a shaved snow or boba slush from next door at Bubbles & Ice.
Hot N Juicy Crawfish
Tie on those shell-crackin' bibs, order a huge pitcher of Scoville-suppressing beer and get down with your dirty self. Order a bag full of extra spicy Louisiana-style mudbugs. You'll also get some corn and potatoes in the bag for when you need a break from busting open those shells.
Lunch is the time to visit, since the lunch specials are a multi-course affair worth far more than the $10-$12 price tag — they include dal, samosas, rice, naan and dessert (more on that in a sec). If you really want to live long and prosper, per the study, don't shy from the Lamb Vindaloo, which will garner a sweat from even the most devout chili head. Good thing a milky, silky dessert is on its way — a creamy rice pudding studded with cardamom pods.
You know that one guy at the party who chomps down a habanero on a dare, or who goes ahead and orders the Ghost Chili Fries at Wendy's? You might want to take a cue from those dudes if you'd like to live a little longer.