Winter means cold and snow that transform your neighborhood into Narnia, but there actually is an upside to the season: spicy food. It’s something we enjoy year-round, but it’s especially needed during the winter months. Like cold beer in the summer, a spicy dish can make you forget about the weather outside, while slowly destroying your insides, one delicious gulp at a time. So, if you’re an unlucky soul going out this weekend or anytime during the next few months, we’ve asked some local food experts and people who know Brooklyn for their recommendations of the best spicy food you can find in Brooklyn. Today also just so happens to be the birthday of Wilbur Scoville, the guy who invented the way to measure the hotness of peppers, so go make him proud.
1. Sesame Temomi Ramen, $17 (pictured above)
310 S 4th St, Williamsburg. Phone (718) 388-4012
The winter time is always perfect ramen weather. While Brooklyn is packed full of ramen spots, make sure to check out Shalom Japan. This Jewish Japanese fusion restaurant offers an amazing take on the regular old noodles and broth. The Sesame Temomi Ramen with Pork Char Siu, Kohlrabi, Shishito Peppers and Shiso is hot and rich and by far one of my favorite dishes I have had in Brooklyn.
2. Spicy tempeh Burger, prices vary
Find it at the Vegan Shop Up, the monthly pop up shop at Pine Box Rock Shop
12 Grattan St., East Williamsburg
This second, much healthier vegan option, comes from Lacey Althouse, one of the co-founders of Forkful of Love, a local food blog she runs with her mother. Althouse’s recommendation, which she got from the blog of photographer and vegan chef Diana Bezanski, is not only for you to warm up, but to help you also keep the winter pounds off as well.
This responsibly sourced burger packs a flavor punch with it’s jalapeño dressing and berry BBQ sauce. Warm up the taste buds with this burger among similar unique foodie-friendly treats at Brooklyn’s monthly vegan pop-up market.
3. Hellboy Pizza, $17
60 Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint. Phone: (347) 987-3747
No matter the weather, pizza is always an option. So it comes to no surprise that Ksenia Skvortsova, food editor of Vrai Mag and runner of the blog Saffron and Honey, recommended this Greenpoint staple.
Even when it’s freezing out, I make a special trip to Paulie Gee’s for the Hellboy pizza. The addictive combination of spicy honey (Mike’s Hot Honey) and soppressata is impossible to resist and will warm you right up.
4. The Dan Dan, $14
1120 Cortelyou Rd., Flatbush. Phone: (347) 221-1970
The ramen, topped with ground spicy pork and a single egg yolk, is just perfect to get your brow a little sweaty as you work through the dish. And work you must, because it’s so spicy that you have to take at least a few breaks to cool your tongue off with your drink as you go. Go ahead and refuse the Sriracha sauce that they offer to bring you. That stuff would practically act as a cooling agent in this case.
5. Mexican chicken soup, $5.50
478 Smith St., Carrol Gardens. Phone: (718) 797-1889
766 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights. Phone: (718) 360-1839
Brokelyn editor emeritus David Colon is currently either on the steps of City Hall demanding Mayor de Blasio come out and face him in a last-man-standing match for the mayorship; or on the steps of WWE World Headquarters in Connecticut, demanding that Vince McMahon put him in the Royal Rumble. He did take some time out of his rigorous training of eating nachos to offer you a cheap and hearty recommendation in Crown Heights.
I can say that the Mexican chicken soup at Kimchi Grill is spicy, is a go-to cold cure for me and is big enough for two meals.
6. Spicy Bigeye Tuna Tartare, $15
229 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, Williamsburg
There has been a lack of seafood on this list so far, but we got you, fish-lovers. Alexa and Anthony Ciccone are collectively better known as the The Brooklyn Foodie, with an Instagram account with more than 17,000 followers (a few seconds looking through their photos and you can see why). They know their food and they know how to take pictures of it. They recommend this tuna tartare dish from TRAIF in Williamsburg. They say:
The balance of the spicy tuna with the fried tempura beneath and the sweet soy sauce makes for the perfect bite.
7. Kichee Yaki Udon, $12
7400 Third Ave, Bay Ridge. Phone: (718) 836-0333
This one is another vegetarian dish. See how we care about those who can’t make friends with salad over here? This recommendation comes from DNAinfo’s features editor Heidi Panatano. She runs features on the food scene here in NYC and offers a recommendation from a pretty new Asian spot in Bay Ridge.
The starchy udon noodles balance the spicy kimchi in the dish and the soy protein is actually a tasty addition, rather than functioning as bland filler. It’s spicy enough to get your nose running but not so hot that you need to take breaks in order to eat it. I only eat at one speed.
8. Stir-fry Bowls, Pay-by-the-pound
Fei Long Market Food Court
6301 Eight Ave, Dyker Heights. Phone:(718) 680-0118
You pay for the pound for this and, lucky for you, there are three different spots inside the Fei Long Food Market in Dyker Height. It’s a favorite of architect Josh Goldstein. He claims he has no credentials when it comes to food, but the man knows where to get a lot of food for a small price. He breaks it down for you.
You pick your meats, fish, tofus and vegetables, which they stir fry with garlic, ginger, chiles, and sichuan peppercorns, and serve to you in a big wooden bowl topped with cilantro, and a side of rice. I LOVE it! I hardly ever get to go because it’s too spicy for my wife, but once in a while I get my daughters to go and suffer the burn with me.