Can you stand the heat? Test your spicy-food tolerance with these five-alarm dishes.
Sliced Fish Filet in Hot Chili Sauce, China Mama
If you think the name of this dish sounds foreboding, wait until it gets to your table. The bowl arrives filled nearly to the brim with a thick layer of pure red oil. The boneless filets of seasonal fish, such as snapper or halibut, soaking in the oil are tender, mercilessly absorbing more of the throat-clearing heat and flavor the longer they sit in the sauce. $15, 3420 S. Jones Blvd., 873-1977.
Spicy Tofu Soup, Tofu Hut
Korean fare has its share of spice thanks to condiments such as kimchi, fermented cabbage and kochujang, the ubiquitous red pepper paste. Tofu Hut, which specializes in this fiery red soup made with soft tofu, red pepper powder and kimchi, offers it with seafood or meat, though there is a mushroom option as well, and a raw egg that you can crack into the soup–presumably to give you something to do while you wait for the lava-in-a-bowl to cool down enough to eat. $8.35, 3920 Spring Mountain Rd., 257-0072.
Suicide Fries, Naked City Pizza Shop
“Try them if you think you can take the heat!” the menu taunts–and even Guy Fieri gave ’em a go when he featured local favorite Naked City on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The hand-cut fries are piled high with sliced jalapeño and banana and cherry peppers, all of different heat levels and intensities, so every bite is a little different. Before you know it, the plate will be empty. $3.50-$5, 3240 S. Arville St., 243-6277, NakedCityLV.com.
Death Wings, Diabloís Cantina
There’s a flavor of wings so hot at Diablo’s Cantina that you only eat them on a dare–and we’re not even talking about their XXX Rated Hot Sauce. It’s not just that these wings are tossed in a suspect, incendiary mixture that includes habaneros and ghost chili, it’s that if you take the Death Wing Challenge, you’ve got to get through 20 of them in less than 20 minutes. Win (are you really winning, though?) and you get a T-shirt and your name on the Wall of Fame. Succumb to the fire and you’re destined for the Wall of Shame–and you pony up $25 for the wings. In Monte Carlo, 730-7979, DiablosLasVegas.com.
Miang Pou, Chada Thai
In Asian cuisine, lettuce cups are typically described as “cooling” and “refreshing.” Chada Thai’s version–crab, toasted coconut, peanuts, ginger and chili–catches you off guard. The shredded bits of freshly picked crab, which gets its texture from the toasted coconut and peanuts, seem innocuous at first, and then suddenly, a burst of heat kicks you in the back of the throat. Which makes one think that it’s supposed to be pronounced “miang POW!” $9, 3400 S. Jones Blvd., 641-1345, ChadaVegas.com.