When you think spicy, you may be inclined to opt for an Indian takeaway menu, rather than Chinese. However, there are a number of options on a British Chinese takeaway menu that can satisfy your craving for heat, even for the most extreme chilli addicts.
In this article, we will introduce you to the 7 hottest dishes to try at a Chinese takeaway, from spicy starters to mouth-melting mains.
1. Bang Bang Chicken or Beef
Getting its name from the method in which the way the meat is tenderised with a hammer-type instrument, Bang Bang Chicken is well known for having plenty of flavour.
A Chinese/ Thai fusion dish that is highly recommended on your next takeaway visit, incorporating sweet chilli, sriracha, and mayonnaise for a hot, sweet, and thick sauce. Sometimes served with thinly sliced cucumber to offer some respite from the heat.
2. Kung Pao
The heat of this dish is very much down to the chef’s discretion, but if you ask them to crank up the spice, prepare yourself for something that could possibly blow your socks off. Often made with chicken, Kung Pao is a great sauce for almost any ingredient, from vegetables to seafood.
A chilli-infused stir-fry that has become a go-to dish for anyone who loves Chinese flavours combined with mouth-watering spice. Made with peanuts and chilli peppers, this classic Sichuan dish has a rich and savoury flavour, with a hint of acidity provided by the vinegar and rice wine.
3. Szechuan Chicken
A versatile dish that can be spiced up or toned down on request, with the chef adding more chilli flakes, oil, and spices if told in advance. Szechuan chicken offers a great combination of sweet, savoury, and spice and is heavily soy-based for added richness.
4. Gan Guo
Gan Guo is basically a dry hot pot that is a contender for the spiciest Chinese dish in the world, rivalling the likes of an Indian Vindaloo. The perfect choice for anyone who wants a challenge.
Chilli peppers and garlic are the stars of the show in this dish, with an almost identical make up as a Mala Sichuan Hot Pot but minus the broth. The lack of liquid helps to intensify the spice, as the chicken (or veg) fry quickly with the chilli to transform it into a completely different dish.
5. Dan Dan Noodles
A Chinese Sichuan dish from Chengdu, Dan Dan Noodles translates to ‘carrying-pole’ noodles. These noodles are served in a very spicy sauce that usually consists of preserved vegetables, chilli oil, mustard stems, Sichuan pepper, onions, and typically minced pork. The Chinese takeaway will often garnish the dish with peanuts and spring onion.
Authentic Dan Dan Noodles are served without soup but many variations from other provinces and Hong Kong serve the noodles with a broth.
6. Mapo Tofu
As many people in the UK look to reduce the amount of meat they consume, Chinese takeaways have expanded their vegan and vegetarian options, and one dish in particular packs a serious punch. Mapo Tofu.
This is another dish that originates from the Sichuan region, the tofu is served in a thin, spicy, and oily sauce that is made from Sichuan pepper, fermented bean paste, and chilli oil. This fiery sauce clings to the tofu and when fried, the heat of the chilli and peppers comes to life.
The best choice for a very spicy vegan option from your local Chinese takeaway.
7. Spicy Beef (Hunan)
There are many variations of Spicy Beef, but in this case, we are referring to the dish originating from Hunan, well-known for its generous helping of chillies. Hunan is a region famous for its spice and this dish does not have any of the sweetness you may associate with the more typical spicy beef served on a Chinese takeaway menu.
Instead, Hunan Spicy beef offers a more subtle flavour and much more spice, with chilli being the predominant ingredient in this dish. A must try.
Now you know what to order from the Chinese takeaway, if you’re looking for food with a kick!
Related: Underrated Chinese food
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What is the spiciest Chinese dish?
Gan Guo is often considered the spiciest Chinese dish as the dry-frying of the chilli and spices intensifies the heat to almost extreme levels. This broth-free variation of a Mala Sichuan Hot Pot is not for the fainthearted.
Is Chinese food spicier than Indian food?
Both cuisines can boast very spicy dishes, however, traditional Chinese food is not considered as hot as Indian food. Both cuisines incorporate a lot of chilli, but higher levels of heat are more prevalent in Indian curries.
Is Chinese food spicier than Thai food?
Chinese food is generally not as hot as some dishes that are commonly served by Thai takeaways, although there are, of course, exceptions. For the most part, Chinese food is milder than Thai cuisine in terms of spiciness.
Why is Chinese food so spicy?
Chinese food is so spicy because many dishes use hot chillies and Sichuan peppers which contain high levels of the chemical capsaicin. This chemical produces the burning sensation, so the more capsaicin, the more heat.