Ten Best Hot and Spicy Foods in St. Louis
Xin Lin, owner of Famous Szechuan Pavilion, sits for a moment to enjoy lunch. | Jennifer Silverberg
Yu Shan Pork at Famous Szechuan Pavilion
(8516 Olive Boulevard; 314-685-0888)
If you haven't visited Famous Szechuan Pavilion and tried the incredible dishes there, then you can't say you've experienced the full range of culinary delights that St. Louis has to offer. For a shot of straight-up capsaicin, try the yu shan pork: slivers of meat and chopped scallions and red chiles in chile oil, the savory blend of pig and garlic quickly giving way to a heat so powerful that leaves one begging for a pain-killing remedy.
Lamb vindaloo at India Palace. | Ian Froeb
Lamb Vindaloo at India Palace
(4534 North Lindbergh Boulevard, Bridgeton; 314-731-3333)
Vindaloo traditionally offers a distinctive sour or tart note. Whether India Palace's version provides this through vinegar or tamarind paste or something else entirely, it is here in the precise proportion needed to balance out both the hot and the savory elements. The lamb vindaloo at India Palace is beautifully balanced. The heat of red chiles is strong -- just look at the dish's brilliant red color -- but not brutally so. It dampens your forehead, for sure, but never overwhelms the interplay of the complex spice blend and the thickly cut and richly flavored lamb.