If you’re the kind of foodie who enjoys fiery flavours and the tantalising heat of spicy cuisine, then Sydney has a mouthwatering treat in store for you. This vibrant city offers a plethora of options for those seeking a piquant culinary adventure. From sizzling street food to upscale dining experiences, Sydney boasts a diverse array of establishments that cater to those who don’t mind their food hot. Whether you crave the intense heat of Sichuan cuisine, the aromatic spices of Indian curries, or the fiery flavours of Korean chicken wings, this guide will tell you where to find the best spicy food in Sydney.
Discover the delectable flavours of South East Asia at the legendary Chin Chin, a brightly-lit dining spot in the heart of Surry Hills. Although many dishes on the menu cater to various tastes, this place is known for its intense options. They include chilli salt wings, a local favourite, and the Jungle Curry, a highly recommended dish of spicy pork with duck egg and creamy coconut milk that delivers a slow and satisfying heat. However, the fieriest dish for those brave enough to try is the rotisserie pork belly with fennel, pickle, and the foreboding-sounding scud chilli death sauce. Thankfully, the sauce is served on the side in a small bowl, allowing you to add it gradually. This lets you enjoy the punchy flavour without overwhelming your taste buds.
If you like your food laced with chilli, you should head over to Neil Perry’s iconic Spice Temple restaurant on Bligh Street in the CBD. The menu has bird’s eye chillies scattered throughout it without warning symbols, which makes dining here like a spicy game of roulette! However, there is no denying the food is sensational, so you’ll want to experience it in all its fiery glory. The chewy belt noodles with braised pork and fermented chilli are the most intense among the many dishes with heat on the menu. As the bowl contains salted and dried chillies, it’s best to save this dish for last, as it may affect your taste buds afterwards.
Lankan Filling Station
For those brave enough to take on the challenge, Lankan Filling Station serves some of Sydney’s hottest Sri Lankan food. Led by renowned chef O Tama Carey, this Sri Lankan eatery is a haven for spice lovers, as the menu clearly indicates the level of spiciness for each dish. Start with the spicy devilled cashew nuts, and try the hot red chicken curry. Once you have tasted them, turn your attention to the hottest dishes on the menu: the hot butter cuttlefish, fried in turmeric batter and then stir-fried with a fiery mix of chilli, garlic, and black pepper. Be prepared for some tears and chilli sweats!
Located on the corner of Angel Place and Pitt Street, Long Chim is a popular street food eatery offering some of Sydney’s best Thai food. Curated by Michelin-starred chef and Thai culture expert David Thompson, the menu is quite liberal with the old spice. For instance, the Chiang Mai noodle chicken curry is rated ’12 out of 10′ in spiciness! It packs so much punch that many foodies claim it to be the hottest dish in Sydney. Therefore, it is not for the faint-hearted, so visiting other hotspots to build up your chilli tolerance before heading to Long Chim might be a good idea.
Belles Hot Chicken
Belles Hot Chicken is a Nashville-style fried chicken joint with three locations: Barangaroo, Darling Square, and Tramsheds. Their hot wings are known for living up to their name, and customers can choose from five levels of spiciness. The highest level, ‘Really F**king Hot’, is made with ground-up habanero peppers and smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion, and garlic powder. If you’re a fan of spicy food, we recommend trying the ‘Sex Panther’ heat on the chicken tenders or drumsticks for a flavour explosion in your mouth. However, make sure you have plenty of water at the ready. You are going to need it!
Over in Haymarket, Dodee Paidang is a terrific venue that delivers traditional, piping hot and delicious flavours. Infact, it has such a reputation for authenticity and excellence that it is where many local Thai people eat. Specialising in spicy Thai noodles, it offers a great selection of tom yum style noodles. If you can handle the heat, I recommend the ‘Super Nova’ tom yum noodle soup, which ranks at level seven on the menu. It comes with crispy egg noodles, fish balls, and juicy pork sausage to satisfy your spicy cravings. The portions are enormous, so don’t be surprised if you struggle to finish them!
Sydney is witnessing a surge in the popularity of regional Chinese cuisine, with Hunanese restaurants like Pappa Stew’s gaining increasing recognition. This cooking style is characterised by its spicy and flavourful dishes, rich stews, enticing aromas and vibrant colours, all of which Pappa’s Stew Chilli Cuisine delivers exceptionally well. Despite the restaurant’s casual interior, the bold and delicious flavours of the dishes are sure to impress. The menu offers a variety of spice levels, ranging from mildly spicy to extremely hot. The stews served at Pappa’s are particularly noteworthy, with options like soupy fish stew, minced meat and eggplant pot, and pig’s intestine with chilli pot, all bursting with flavour, texture and depth.
The Colonial Restaurant
For those who want to test the extremes of their tolerance level, the Hot Curry Challenge at The Colonial Restaurant in Darlinghurst is a must. Presenting some of the fieriest British Indian cuisines in Sydney, diners can enter the challenge to win a $20 voucher, enjoy a free meal and gain a coveted place on their wall of fame! You will need to sign a waiver before you do so, acknowledging that you know what you are getting yourself into. But once you have done that the restaurant will even give you milk, wine, beer, water or soft drink to consume whilst you eat. If you lose the challenge, it will only cost you $15 for your curry, so it is worth a go if you like hot food!
Spice I Am
Spice I Am is an institution in Surry Hills for those who like their food with a bit of a kick. As well as a lively atmosphere and exceptional service, it presents a diverse menu of spicy dishes for you to try. They include delightful fish curry, green papaya salad, and jungle curry. The crispy basil pork belly is a delicious alternative for those who prefer their food a little less spicy. One of the restaurant’s best features is that they allow customers to bring their own wine or beer without any additional charge. Be warned, this is a trendy place to eat, so expect to wait for a table during peak hours.
Danjee Korean Restaurant
Located in Sydney’s CBD, just one block from World Square, Danjee Korean Restaurant boasts of being the city’s best Korean eatery. It offers a unique fine dining experience combining traditional Korean flavours and various Korean barbecue options. The extensive menu features a range of authentic dishes, including a street-food dish – buldak – which translates as ‘fire chicken’. Their dishes showcase the best local produce and are always beautifully presented and quickly served. An evening meal here is a lovely experience. However, should you work in the city, Danjee also serves affordable lunch boxes for those needing to return to the office quickly.