08/06/15 4:23pm

“Wow, you like hot oil,” more than one waiter at the Chinese joint in Levittown would say to my father when he requested a small dish of the stuff. “Hot oil make you live a long time.” Earlier this week Time published an article citing a link between eating fiery food and longevity, based on a study of about 500,000 Chinese.

Lu Qi, the author of the study writes “It appears that increasing your intake moderately, just to 1-2 or 3-5 times a week, shows very similar protective effect,” he says. “Just increase moderately. That’s maybe enough.” Based on that statement I might just live forever. With further ado, please enjoy this list of C+M’s favorite spicy foods in Queens.

PLANTLOVESUMMER

1. Kuai tiao Summer, Plant Love House
I may no longer order my food Thai spicy. , but the bowl of Kuai tiao that goes by the name Summer ($12.95) at Plant Love House, remains the most incendiary Thai noodle soup I have ever slurped. “Summer. The heat is real. Dare you to try,” reads a menu insert with a picture of this blazingly hot take on tom yum. A gigantic prawn lolls in the red broth along with a hard-boiled egg, bacon, and a home-made sweet pork patty. The latter is a good counterpoint to the spicy broth which has an undertone of lime, chili, and garlic. There’s a nice smokiness from the bacon, but above all there’s the unmistakable flamethrower heat that comes from plenty of red chilies. Plant Love House, 86-08 Whitney Ave., Elmhurst, 718-565-2010

Ramen noodles get the chaat treatment.

2. Sandheko wai wai, Dhaulaghiri Kitchen
Whenever I try to characterize Nepali food, I find myself saying, “It’s like Indian food but spicier and different.” Sandheko Wai Wai ($3.50), a Nepalese chaat made from crushed ramen noodles fits both descriptors. The noodles are mixed with onions, raw garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, and plenty of green chilies, among other things. Crunchy and spicy it will have you mopping your brow. Dhaulagiri Kitchen, 37-38 72nd St., Jackson Heights (more…)

07/23/13 10:26am

Last winter I took Andrew Zimmern on  a tour around the world from Tibet to Liberia with intermediate stops in Ecuador, Nepa, and Pakistan all, without ever leavings Queens. I had a blast and the crew were super-cool to work with. There was only one thing Andrew didn’t like, butter tea. “It’s good during winter,” I said as I sipped a cup. I believe his response was something like, “Nope, this is never good.”

There’s one dish we pretty much had the same visceral reaction to and that’s the pepper crab and shrimp combo ($20) at Maima’s Liberian Bistro. The scene of us eating it didn’t make the Queens episode of Bizarre Foods America, which aired last night. I am especially proud of my tour de force reaction to this dish’s blistering heat level at 1:00.

“My lips, my fingers, my tongue, my gums are kind of on fire,” Zimmern said. “This is the hottest thing I’ve eaten all week. You don’t want to bring people here who are afraid to eat. I can tell you that.” Amen to that brother.

07/18/13 11:55am
There's no need to add extra hot sauce.

There’s no need to add extra hot sauce.

Yesterday the high temperature in Monrovia, Liberia was 83. Queens was substantially hotter than West Africa,  the mercury hit 97. And the heat from the pepper shrimp ($12) at Maima’s Liberian Bistro was at the same constant lip-blazing level it always is, approximately Fahrenheit 451. Maima’s is my type of place. The city’s only Liberian eatery is presided over the grandmotherly Maima. Many of the restaurant’s patrons call her mama. (more…)

06/21/13 12:48pm
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Guess who’s the ‘de facto food critic of Queens?’

Back in February I had the pleasure of taking Andrew Zimmern on a whirlwind private tour of Queens’ culinary gems. Our day started in Himalayan (aka Jackson) Heights and wound up at Maima’s Liberian Bistro in Jamaica. I’m stoked to watch the Queens episode of Bizarre Foods America when it airs next month. What I’m even more excited about though is that the bizarre one went on record in Delta Sky Mag, to declare Queens “the king of the American food scene.” Not only that, Zimmern dubbed me the borough’s “de facto food critic.” (more…)