10 Satisfyingly Spicy Dishes to Try in Manila (2020 Edition)
Be prepared to sweat.
(SPOT.ph) It’s counterintuitive, the way we derive pleasure from what is, essentially, a painful experience—but there’s just something to be said about a good spicy dish. Maybe it’s the way it fizzles on the tongue and warms the throat, encouraging you to shove in more spoonfuls of rice (or whatever carbs are in there), or maybe we’re all just masochists, deep down inside? Whatever it is, spiciness satisfies in such a way that only keeps us coming back. Here, we round up 10 dishes (of varying levels of spiciness) that we turn to in the face of our hankerings for heat.
These are our picks for must-try spicy dishes to try in Manila:
TETSUO 2.0’s Hot Chicken (P220/two pieces)
TETSUO opened their Poblacion outpost just recently, and among the new branch exclusives is the new Hot Chicken. Don’t be fooled by its innocent appearance; this bird is seasoned with a special spice blend made with Carolina Reaper chili, a.k.a. the world’s hottest pepper. You will sweat, you will cry—but persist, and you’ll also be rewarded with some of the tastiest chicken around.
TETSUO 2.0 is at 8483 Kalayaan Avenue corner Matilde Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Desgo Hot Pot’s Hot and Spicy Style Broth
Desgo is one of the popular hot-pot places around, and if you like spice, you’re in for a treat. Take our word for it and get the Hot and Spicy Style broth, which infuses whatever ingredients you choose with a deep, slightly herbal sort of heat that lingers long on the tongue. You’re given a choice between mild, medium, and extra hot; trust us when we say even the medium is impactful enough, but we won’t stop you from getting extra hot if you dare. It’ll hurt—but that’s exactly what you’re signing up for, right?
Desgo Hot Pot is at G/F Victoria de Makati, Washington Street corner Dela Rosa Street, Pio del Pilar, Makati City.
Cai Be’s Canh Chua Ca (P180)
Also dubbed "Vietnamese sinigang", this special soup from Cai Be has a tangy-sweet profile thanks to pineapple—but ends on an unexpected spicy note that builds up gradually yet hits you real good. With fish, okra, taro stems, tomatoes, and bean sprouts for crunch, it’s a soup that’s as vibrant as it is soothing. Should you want more heat, you can always spike it with the spicy fish sauce on the side.
Cai Be is at MTRo Food Hall, 12/F GT Tower, H. V. Dela Costa Street corner Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Your Local’s Chili Crab Buns (P435)
Your Local’s one of those places that never fails to deliver on flavor, and these Chili Crab Buns are a fine example of that. It’s got cucumber spears, leeks, cilantro, and a chili-crab mix that delivers a clear, piercing heat and wonderfully counters the fried taste of the mantou buns. Though listed as a starter, it also makes for a mighty main course—especially when paired with their cool-as-a-cucumber Pomelo Salad (P335).
Your Local has branches at G/F Universal LMS Building, 106 Esteban Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City and The Grid Food Market, 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.
Chicha Taquieria's Parihuela
Sick? Heartbroken? Or just feeling under the weather? This Molito joint has Peruvian soup with a fiery mix of savory, sour, spicy, and rich flavors. It's not shockingly hot, but there's definitely enough heat to pull you in and keep you going back for more spoonfuls. This dish comes with a generous amount of crabs and mussels, and goes especially great with their Cilantro Fried Rice (P55).
Ooma’s Spicy Tuna (P325)
This Ooma classic is a stellar take on spicy tuna sashimi salad with a hefty serving of fresh tuna and gochujang mayo that really brings on the heat as you take in more bites. Tempura flakes add a welcome crunch that’s great against the succulent fish—don’t be surprised if you find yourself finishing a whole platter by yourself!
Ooma has branches at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City and Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. See a list of Ooma branches.
Samyan Krapao Gai (P210)
Krapao gai is a classic Thai dish that involves stir-fried chicken and holy basil. It sounds simple, we know—but Samyan renders it so flavorful, especially when you go for the spicy option, where they add a whopping 10 chilis to the mix. Thankfully, you get a generous serving of rice on the side, plus a crispy Thai omelette that really helps balance out the heat. (You’ll need it.)
Samyan is at The Grid, Level R2, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.
Fireside’s Red Hot Chili Chicken Fingers (P615)
This recent addition to Fireside’s menu does justice to the “fire” half of the restaurant name. Here, their regular chicken fingers are given a tangier, spicier spin, with a heat that hits you at the back of the throat—but is balanced with a subtle acidity, and is just intense enough that you can still wait it out a few minutes before asking for water. If it does start to feel like too much, you can always seek solace in the cornbread doughnuts served alongside!
Fireside is at G/F Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Ramen Keisuke Tori King’s Red Spicy Tori King (P420/plain, P480/with egg, P570/with char siu, egg, and seaweed)
Ramen by itself is comfort food for many—but adding some spices to the mix turns it into an even more exhilarating treat. In this variant, the Japanese ramen venture’s signature rich, creamy chicken-based broth is infused with a blend of chilis and chili oil for a distinctly fruity sort of heat. It envelops their house-made noodles and ultra-tender chicken beautifully, adding spiciness that vivifies the mix without taking over.
Ramen Keisuke Tori King is at G/F Tower 1, Corporate Plaza, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Bad Bird’s Kimchi Noodles (P280)
Though Bad Bird’s primarily known for their chicken, their noodles are an underrated treat. Go for the Kimchi Noodles if you like it hot. It’s got chewy noodles that they make in-house, and packs a whole lot of heat—the kind that makes you tear up a bit, but only makes you want to go back for more slurps.
Bad Bird has branches at G/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City and 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. See a list of Bad Bird branches.