Tag Archives: spicy

Little Pepper

We hitched a ride out to Little Pepper in Queens with another foodie couple who has been there a bunch of times. We tried a lot of shit, so I’m gonna just get right into it.

This Szechuan style pork sausage was packed with flavor and ate like dry salumi with a kick!

The sliced pork belly in chili garlic sauce was probably one of the best items of the night. That sauce was dynamite.

My favorite item of the meal, though, was the shrimp. “Prawn with chili pepper” is what to order on the menu. The lightly fried crisp batter on the outside gave this such an amazing texture. I could eat buckets.

The lotus root was a great veg item for the side, as were the string beans.

The tea smoked duck lacked smoke or tea flavor, and was a bit on the dry side. But it was really flavorful and still very tender.

The scallion fried rice doesn’t look like much, but it’s a meal in itself for sure. It’s really delicious, and it sure as fuck beats regular white rice. So get this for all your rice eating needs (to soak up the ma-po sauce).

Speaking of ma-po, their tofu dish was excellent!

Another classic done well are the dan dan noodles. Get these.

One of the more surprising dishes was the pork meatballs. These were tender, soft and gingery flavored. A little more on the sweet side when compared to some of the spicy items we tried.

Finally, the spicy and tingly cumin lamb dish was really nice. The lamb is thin sliced and tossed with tin slices of veg and onions. Really earthy and flavorful.

This place is definitely a banger. With the abundance of spots nearby in Chinatown, however, I’m not sure how often I would be back here in Queens. I do highly recommend it though.

LITTLE PEPPER
18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356

Cafe China

This place was really good! I forgot my light, and I didn’t take a lot of pics, but this Michelin starred Chinese joint really delivered the flavor! My favorite was the crispy fish filets (last pic), but over all everything was high quality. I would definitely go back for more.

CAFE CHINA
59 W 37th St
New York, NY 10018

Tsuta

Tsuta is the world’s first Michelin starred ramen joint.

It just opened this past Friday, so there was a line when my friend and I showed up to try it. We waited about 1.5hrs in the bitter cold, but once that ramen hit our lips, it was worth it.

I tried the spicy mala tonkotsu ramen, which had a nice tingly broth from the Szechuan peppercorns that are infused in it. All of their noodles are soba, which I was initially worried about because I generally prefer egg noodles with thick broth ramen. But these noodles were perfect, and they went well with the rich, spicy broth.

This was $20 for the regular sized bowl. It comes with one slice of chashu pork. I added the seasoned soft boiled egg for an additonal $4.

Our apps came out after the ramen, which wasn’t so bad considering the place was brand new and absolutely slammed. Some of my friends who also went complained of even worse problems. Of these, the chicken was probably the best, but I’d rather share a second bowl of ramen than get these again.

Next visit, I’ll have to try their signature bowls (shio and shoyu), which feature truffle oils.

TSUTA
22 Old Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Taladwat

The folks behind Pure Thai Cook House and Feast have collaborated to create one of Thai Town’s newest joints, Taladwat.

My food buddy from Instagram, @NYCFoodFOMO, organized a few of us to go try some of their noteworthy dishes. Here’s how it went down:

I don’t remember the names of any of these dishes, but I can do a good job explaining them. The first one is a scallion omelette. This was great.

This roasted calamari was a favorite among all of us I think.

The coconut curry chicken was a little sweet for my liking, but the meat was delicious.

On the opposite end, this savory and spicy larb style ground chicken dish was awesome. My favorite of the night.

We had two types of pork. This was a pork belly in curry.

And this was stir fried with string beans. I liked this better.

This ground shrimp and shrimp paste “sausage” patty in a banana leaf was delicious. You can see the herbs mixed into it. Lots of flavor.

This braised ginger short rib dish was really tender. Definitely a go to for you meat lovers.

Soak up that sauce with this nice rice.

Then move on to dessert: pumpkin custard on sticky rice and mango sticky rice.

This place is worth trying when the sister joint Pure is jam-packed (it often is). I still prefer Pure to this, and perhaps Chai Thai and Noodies as well (for this part of town, anyway).

TALADWAT
714 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Hunan Slurp

I came to Hunan Slurp with a group of friends, so we were able to sample a bunch of shit. Here’s what we tried:

The “Mala Beef” noodle dish was nice. It was slow cooked shank meat that was really tender. The egg noodles were perfectly cooked.

This dish contained pork and beef, and was served with rice noodles that were similarly perfectly cooked. Also shank meat, cooked very nicely.

This noodle soup was the spiciest on the menu, a pepper beef dish, which was really intense and flavorful. I wish this also contained the shank cut beef, as the stuff in this dish wasn’t as tender as the above dishes.

This next dish was cold “Hunan Charcuterie.” It contained bits of pig ear and tripe, among other nice off-cuts. This was my favorite dish of the day, and easily a contender for top dishes of 2019.

The smoked sausage plate was nice, but I wish it had more crisped texture to it.

This eggplant with “thousand year egg” filling was delicious. I’m generally not a big fan of eggplant, but I loved this. A must try here.

The beef skewer dish had a great cumin aroma, but ultimately the majority of the beef in the dish was chewy and tough. Pass on this one.

Most of the dishes were pretty spicy, so these sweet riblets were a great way to cool down and cut the heat.

We also tried stewed fish noodles, and a potato and duck egg dish (both not pictured) which were also very nice. But the last item I have here for you is winter melon, served warm and savory with ground pork. Very interesting.

Give this place a shot. I liked it.

HUNAN SLURP
112 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009

The Hotomizer

This product is pretty cool.

Spray on heat!

One or two squirts adds a nice, neutrals-flavored spice to any dish. I used it on leftover lasagna, pasta, pork tenderloin, and even in cocktails. I love it!

I highly recommend.

Golden Flake Chicharrones

My wife and I tried these pork rinds when we were in New Orleans. My snack obsession was satisfied with these delicious chicharrones that were flavored with Louisiana hot sauce.

I can eat pork skins all day, and I definitely recommend these if you come across them.

Guan Fu Szechuan

I recently had the pleasure of dining with a bunch of food friends at this new Szechuan joint in Flushing called Guan Fu. They do an incredible job of showcasing the different kinds of spice that the cuisine is known for (numbing as well as heat), while also developing intense, robust flavors that you can actually taste. Contrast with many other Szechuan joints in NYC that just blow your mouth out with heat and numbness, leaving you unable to actually enjoy the food.

That’s not to say that the food here isn’t spicy. It sure as heck is! But the balance is so well done that it’s quite impressive. But let me get down to business, because we tried 17 different dishes here. There is a lot to discuss…

The first four dishes were cold preparations.

1. Thinly Sliced Pork Liver

This was nice. No mealy texture or gamey flavor. Good heat from the red chilis. Excellent citrus-flavored sauce.

2. Sweet Fried Pork Ribs

These were awesome. Great crispy texture, super tender, and with just a little bit of heat to gently contrast the sweet.

3. Razor Clams

These were served with Mexican green peppers (likely a poblano or hatch variety) as well as some red Thai chili peppers. Great preparation, and the clams were perfectly cooked.

4. Bean Jelly

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The bean jelly was reminiscent of a snappy, thick noodle. This was served with chili oil, peanuts, sesame seeds and scallions.

Okay now onto the warm food.

5. “Water Fish” Tilapia

This was both numbing and heat spicy. The fish was served in an over-seasoned broth so as to get all the flavors into the flesh of the Tilapia. In fact, the sauce/broth isn’t meant to be eaten, as is the case with many of the dishes we were served.

6. Dry Pot Frog

This was another favorite of the night. The frog was so tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. It was served with crisp, fried potatoes and lotus root in the mix too. That textural contrast really blew me away. Just be careful of the tiny bones in the frog meat!

7. Sliced Beef With Pickled Cherry Peppers

This was a really fun dish. The peppers were pickled, but the beef and cucumber cooked in the sauce were both fresh (meaning not pickled). Really nice.

8. Hot Pot

In addition to cabbage and mushrooms, this also contained slices of lamb meat and beef meatballs. Awesome flavors going on here when you mixed it all together, and a little bit of numbness from those famous Szechuan peppercorns.

9. Sweet & Crispy Corn

This was a nice way to knock back any heat that might be lingering in your mouth. These little nuggets were a perfect snack. Juicy inside, bursting with kernel corn flavor, but crispy and batter-fried on the outside.

10. Kung Pao Chicken

This is a famous dish, but done right and as close to authentic as you’re going to get. Lots of heat, really tender meat, and a great contrast of flavors and textures in the stir fry mix.

11. Ma Po Tofu

This is another famously spicy dish from the Szechuan region. The sauce here is a blast of heat and numbing spice, meant to be eaten with rice. I skipped the rice, though, and was just spooning the sauce into my mouth, gulp after gulp. It was great!

12. “Fishy Pork”

There is no actual fish in this dish, but it is made with the intent of giving the diner the essence or flavors of fish. The actual protein here is shredded pork, and it is delicious.

13. Hand Ripped Cabbage With Pork Belly

Bacon makes everything better, especially cabbage. This was a really nice way to get a veggie into the mix other than incorporating peppers and onions into a stir fry.

14. Double Pepper Chicken

Wow. Just when you thought Kung Pao was a kick in the balls, you discover double pepper chicken. The two peppers are green chilis (jalapeños) and red chilis (Thai chilis). But the sneaky spice here is the numbing Szechuan peppercorns that are also worked into the dish. Excellent.

15. Shrimp

These head-on giant shrimp were excellent. They even serve small shrimp where you can eat the shell as well.

16. Green Beans

I love how the veggie comes out last. These were simple and delicious though. A welcome addition to the meal.

17. Fried Sesame Cakes

I’ve had these babies before and I love them. These were filled with a squash mash or paste of some kind. I generally like the red bean or mung bean pastes better (they’re a little sweeter).

That about does it. I really want to come back here and try more stuff, or even just put down full portions of my favorite dishes from this trip, like the bean jelly and dry pot frog. Get your ass out here and try this stuff ASAP!

GUAN FU SZECHUAN
39-16 Prince St
G01
Flushing, NY 11354

Sweetwood Jerky

Sweetwood Jerky Co makes a really nice, tender, sweet and spicy beef jerky.

I was really happy with this one. Look at the pepper seeds! But that spice was nicely balanced by the sweet, so it didn’t blow up my taste buds. I highly recommend.

Outer Limits Hot Sauce

Outer Limits sent me an awesome four pack of their hot sauces to try out: Habanero, Jalapeño Habanero, Jalapeño Lime and Serrano Cilantro.

My favorite is the Habenero sauce. It’s really great for things like tacos or for spicing up pasta dishes. The heat is a nice up-front pop that doesn’t linger or kill your taste buds.

If heat isn’t your thing, then go with the Serrano Cilantro sauce. It delivers a nice, fresh, herby green kick without any of the sweat that you normally get from a hot sauce.

I highly recommend these sauces.