In Staff Picks, each of us tells of our favorite foods around town. We each get three top picks, so if a dish falls on this list, you know it’s got to be good. In no particular order, here are our Favorite Spicy Foods in Little Rock.
Spicy Chicken and Dumplings at The Southern Gourmasian – My favorite spicy foods take you right to the edge of being too hot and hold it there, making your nose run and your endorphins fire. No dish does that better for me than Justin Patterson’s outstanding take on chicken and dumplings. The extruded rice dumplings are fun, and the sweet Asian flavors keep things fresh, but that perfectly balanced heat is what will keep you coming back over and over again.
Charlie Daniels at The WunderBus – Little Rock’s newest food truck is already serving up one of the best spicy dishes around. The flavor of this truck-made kielbasa still shines through the hot pepper relish and spicy mayo, which is a difficult stunt to pull off. Spicy is good; spicy and delicious is even better, and the Charlie Daniels wins on both counts.
Vegetarian Noodles (spicy) at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. – Spicy is better when it comes to Three Fold, especially when it comes to these excellent housemade noodles and smoked tofu. The heat from the Chinese hot sauce and relish helps balance out a lot of the earthy notes that could bury this dish otherwise. Yeah, you’ll end up sniffing back as your nose starts running, but you’ll also be licking the bowl and planning your next visit when it’s all done.
Lamb Vindaloo from Star of India – I’m sort of a freak for all things spicy, and this is my favorite way to eat lamb – in an incredibly spicy, satisfying and traditional sauce. The dish varies slightly in spice levels when you order it often (like I tend to), but the lamb is always on point, and I find that just makes eating it all the more fun.
Sriracha Me Burger from At The Corner – Chef Kamiya Merrick and I have a few things in common, one of them that I literally put Sriracha on everything. This burger is great for indulging that craving – plus the juicy burger comes with pickled jalapeños and pepper jack cheese.
Spicy Mojito from La Terraza Rum & Lounge – I know, this is technically not considered a food. However, when you get the choice to have your mojito made fresh and spicy to your liking, what’s not to love?
Honey Hot Wings from BASH Burger Co. – Yes, their name says “burger” but trust me here, the wings are a force to be reckoned with. The “Honey Hot” are the perfect balance of sweet and heat. Pro Tip: Stop by on Tuesday for 50 cent wings all day long.
Panang Curry from Chang Thai & Asian Cuisine in Sherwood – Yeah, it’s a bit of a drive from Little Rock, but this panang curry is well worth every mile traveled. You can order it as spicy as you like, but it’s all tempered by coconut milk and peanut, making the perfect creamy and spicy broth to eat with rice.
Roasted Shrimp and Gardinere Bruschetta from Boulevard Bistro – A new menu addition, but one I hope sticks around for a while. It’s chilled and spicy, with crispy pickled vegetables and plump shrimp. Spread on toast. Enjoy.
Hot Chicken Sandwich from South on Main – The best spicy chicken sandwich in town, hands down.
Dumplings from Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. – Before Slader’s I had never heard of Alaskan dumplings. Not sure if it is the Alaskan cold, but these dumplings will light a fire. He can even kick them up a few (spicy) notches if you ask.
Smokey Bandito from Local Lime – Spicy cocktails have been my newest drink of choice. This one is not overly hot, but enough to give it a very unique taste with a bit of a kick.