10 Satisfyingly Spicy Dishes in Manila

These'll add spice to your life.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

(SPOT.ph) The siling labuyo memes that have been popping up all over social media got us laughing our arses off (while also crying inside because of rising prices, TBH). If you’re just like us, they probably also had you craving something delightfully spicy. Need a little spice in your life? We round up 10 of Manila’s hottest dishes.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Spicy Lechon from Rico’s Lechon

While many Cebuanos can vouch for the tastiness of Rico’s Original Lechon, they’ve arguably become more well-known for their Spicy variant. The hotter version of their lechon is seasoned with spicy garlic and chili oil together with their secret blend of herbs and spices. The result is tasty enough to not need any sarsa—and reaching for one is blasphemy for Cebuanos anyway—but you’ll want lots of rice with this.

Rico's Lechon is at 5th Avenue corner 26th Street, Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Vince Bascos

Ohayo Maki and Ramen Bar’s Tantanmen

Ramen lovers know that if you crave rich, nutty, and spicy flavors, you go for the tantanmen. The Japanese version of the Szechuan dan dan noodles features a thick broth made thick and nutty by crushed peanuts and spicy by chili oil. Ohayo’s take has all these but with a few twists: Instead of slices of chashu, they use smaller but no less succulent chunks of pork belly for a more concentrated, savory flavor. The result is a bowl chock full of flavor, including considerable levels of heat.

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Ohayo Maki and Ramen Bar is at 30 Granada Avenue, Villa Ortigas II, Barangay Valencia, Quezon City.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Gaja’s Korean Chili Lava Cake

One of the spiciest dishes on Gaja’s menu is actually hiding in the dessert section. Gaja’s Korean Chili Lava Cake looks like your average, if extra decadent, lava cake with a scoop of ice cream—though the red powder dusted on your plate should be a clue that this isn’t your usual sweet treat. A bite of the luscious chocolate cake hides a subtle snaking heat from Korean chili powder, which hits you when you least expect it. It’s just one of the many surprises this Korean restaurant has in store (Hint: Ask for access to their secret bar!).

Gaja is at 8445 Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

81 Seihai’s Flaming Maki

Hidden underneath a frankly glorious blanket of melted cheese, 81 Seihai's Flaming Maki looks innocuous enough but it isn’t called “flaming” for nothing. This roll is stuffed with spicy salmon, deep-fried crab, cream cheese, and cucumber so finishing a piece is no easy feat, either. But the considerable spice from the feeling and cheese sauce is tempered by its creaminess, so you won’t be able to stop popping this in your mouth.

81 Seihai is at G/F President Tower, 81 Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Templo’s Szechuan Crispy Shrimp

There are lots of dishes to try for spice daredevils at Templo. After all, Szechuan cooking, which is Templo’s specialty, is known for packing lots of heat. But perhaps what’s more impressive about the food at this Chinese restaurant is how the spice of the Szechuan peppercorns doesn’t overpower the rest of the varied flavors their dishes have going on. Take the Szechuan Crispy Shrimp, for example. There’s no question that this is a fiery one, with garlic and onion leeks adding complexity and freshness to this heat. Plus the shrimp themselves are fried to be crispy without losing their fresh bite—what’s not to love?

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Templo is at 55 Dapitan corner D. Tuazon, Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City.

PHOTO BY Toto Labrador

Pizza Grigliata’s Spicy Garlic Sardines

The grilled pizzas at Pizza Grigliata are more than enough to catch your attention—after all, they’re the neighborhood pizzeria’s specialty. But they’ve also got pasta dishes you shouldn’t overlook. If you want a little heat without burning your taste buds, have the Spicy Garlic Sardines, with the kick from the garlic oil balanced out by the sharp, salty bite of kesong puti.

Pizza Grigliata is at 2/F 8 Missouri, Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Din Tai Fung's Pork and Kimchi Xiaolongbao 

Just before 2017 ended, Din Tai Fung opened their Xiao Long Bao Bar at Rockwell—their first in the world. This offshoot doesn't just have a special name for nothing either: At this special branch, Din Tai Fung offers crazier xiao long bao flavors you won't be able to find in other branches, like the Pork and Kimchi Xiaolongbao. This dumpling blends together savory pork bits and broth with the familiar spicy-sour tang of kimchi for a bao that packs a lot of spice and flavor.

Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao Bar is at R1 Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Criselda Carreon

Tsuta’s Sang Lan Tan Tan Soba

Tsuta may have come from Tokyo, but their outpost in Manila also carries locally exclusive dishes inspired by Filipino food. The Sang Lan Tan Tan Soba is Chef Yuki Onishi’s take on sisig and kare-kare fused with tantanmen—generous heaps of chili and chili oil make this an extra fiery one. But it all blends together nicely with the dashi or Tsuta’s signature broth with a dash of truffle oil plus crushed peanut paste and white vinegar for a sour kick to round out the punchy flavors.

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Tsuta is at UG/F C3 Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Nara Thai’s Pla Gao Neung Ma Na

Thai cuisine doesn’t shy away from spiciness, and Nara Thai’s menu is no exception. If you can’t get enough of fresh chili, the Pla Gao Neung Ma Na is a must-try—the creamy barramundi fish is practically swimming in chopped fresh bird’s eye chili! But it isn’t just all heat—your palate will also appreciate how well spiciness plays against the citrus of the lime slices and juice in this light, fresh dish.

Nara Thai is at 3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City.

PHOTO BY Patrick Martires

Ooma Sushi Bar’s Spicy Tuna Taco Maki

Ooma has always been known for their inventive takes on sushi and maki, like the Taco Maki, a cross between, well, a taco and a maki, with a crisp nori sheet serving as the tortilla base for fresh ingredients commonly stuffed in a maki. The Spicy Tuna Taco Maki is an exclusive at their Sushi Bar—the tuna tartare on the bed of nori is fresh and tender while the togarashi-scallion dressing and wasabi aioli add enjoyable heat.

Ooma Sushi Bar is at 136 Paseo Heights, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.

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