You either love spice or you can't stand it. There's no shame in either, but here at Dish Cult – we simply can't get enough (we say as we stare at the lineup of hot sauces in our office). While it's somewhat easy to find a spicy dish on almost any menu, we've found the top 5 restaurants in Auckland that turn up the heat and almost exclusively cater to heat-lovers. Without further ado; enjoy and proceed with caution, contents may be hot.
Anyone who is into their noodles as much as we are, knows the best spots are usually the unexpected ones. Basu Lounge on Lake Road is a hidden treasure trove of simple but outstanding dishes, including their Dumplings in Spicy Sauce and their Hot & Numbing Rice Noodles. With a fair warning slipped into the title of the dish, the hot and numbing noodles are exactly that, so delicious and spicy they create a tingling numbness on your lips. If you're after a bit more substance in your dish, Basu's dumplings are your ticket – filled with a juicy filling of your choice and cooked until crispy on the outside before being slathered in their iconic spicy sauce. Dishes go for less than $13, as the added cherry on top.
Tucked into Karangahape Road's packed lineup of phenomenal food stops, is Uncle Man. The Malaysian restaurant has a knack for creating dishes, filled with so much passion and love, you're able to taste the effort in each bite. While the entire menu is extraordinary, we have to opt for the Laksa every time. A spicy coconut noodle soup from Southeast Asia, Laksa is packed with everything you need in a hot winter warmer – and Uncle Man do the best. Choose between the seafood or chicken and you'll receive a red hot bowl of vermicelli noodles, plenty of your chosen meat, hard boiled eggs, and all the spice you need to warm your body up. Better yet, Uncle Man has 3 more locations in Manukau, Wynyard Quarter, and Eastridge, so you can get your spicy Laksa hit in a matter of minutes.
Eden Noodles Cafe
One of the most highly regarded noodle stores in Auckland (maybe even in Aotearoa), Eden Noodles Cafe is no stranger to drawing crowds outside their OG Mt Eden store. While the dumplings, won tons, and slobbery chicken are all great contenders, it's the Dan Dan Noodles that steal the hearts of noodle lovers everywhere. After waiting patiently in the line (Tip: phone orders work a treat), you'll be able to order the infamous Dan dan noodles in spicy soup with crispy pork mince on top. The pulled noodles cling to the spicy sauce, offering a slightly chewy texture, best mixed with some of the crispy pork mince to bring it all together. Once you're a few bites in, you'll no longer be confused on why this place is such a raging hotspot for takeaways.
Xi'An Food Bar
One of our favourite cheap and cheerful spots in Auckland, Xi'An Food Bar have their dishes down pat, and they take their spice seriously. With seven different locations in Auckland alone (and one in Hamilton!) you most likely have a Xi'An Food Bar closer than you thought. So hop in the car and head straight to your nearest to try their hand-pulled noodles. Now, you have a lot of decisions to make a Xi'An when you're ordering, and to be honest any combination you go for will turn out delicious. Try their noodle soup or stick to a dry noodle dish, all served up with their delightfully chewy noodles coated in their mouthwatering spicy chilli oil, numbing your lips as you slurp your way through. For less than $15, you're getting the ultimate bang for your buck at Xi'An.
Chop Chop Noodle House
You're in control at Chop Chop Noodle House – supplying you with all the makings of a hot hot bowl of noodles, it's up to you to control your spice level and create something truely beautiful. The Noodle & Whiskey bar is no nonsense, plating up high-quality food in a fashionable manner. We suggest ordering the noodle bowl of your choice (there's jerk fried chicken, beef brisket, pork ramen, and smoked eggplant ramen) and getting into all the delicious extras including their Chop Chang Chilli and Hot Chilli Oil.