HK Magazine Archive

The Spicy Passport Challenge: Can You Handle the Heat?

We take on the Spicy Passport challenge with five of Hong Kong's most tongue-numbing dishes. 

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 10:15am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:14pm

Ever thought to yourself after a meal, “If heaven was hot as hell, that’s where my mouth is right now?” If that sounds like you, pay attention, my fire-fueled friends... This summer, Sichuan restaurant Chilli Fagara has partnered with four of Hong Kong's hottest restaurants for the Spicy Passport Challenge, in which diners are challenged to try five tongue-tingling dishes to be in with a chance to win a foodie gift hamper. We were tasked with trying all five, so we couldn't resist the chance to set our taste buds on fire—bring on the heat, Hong Kong! 

First, we headed to modern Indian eatery Bindaas Bar + Kitchen to try their Beef Kebab and Pork Vindaloo. Our stomachs couldn’t have growled any louder when the dish was placed before us, and the first bite into the kebab (or beef patty, really) took us by surprise. This slow-cooked beef is made with more than 20 herbs and spices, cooked on a grill and placed on a small piece of soft naan. We expected it to be tender, but were taken aback by the way the meat melted in our mouths; with the smokiness from the grill, it was a flavor-packed bite. 

Of course this wasn’t the best part—just a nice little lead-up to the fantastic Portuguese-inspired Pork Vindaloo curry. An overnight marinade in a vinegar and chili base really brought out the spices and robust flavor of the pork (both pork belly and pork tenderloin). The dish wasn’t the spiciest on this journey of fire, but it did leave a nice glow on our taste buds.

Any thoughts of surviving this chili challenge unscathed were immediately discarded as we found ourselves facing Edition's Devil’s Spicy Chicken Wings—boy, did these burn! The wings were definitely the spiciest item on the list with a handful of Korean spices and drenched in hot sauce. Edition didn’t hold anything back, and our eyes were watering as we downed glasses of water. 

Next it was on to Soi 7 for their Southern Style Curry with Fermented Fish. This tastes almost exactly as it sounds, with large chunks of dried fish meat, following a recipe developed by the old fishing communities of Southern Thailand. The blend of Thai spices in this curry dish effectively did what Thai curry does best—ignited our appetites for more. We easily polished off the dish and left with our taste buds dancing. 

The last time you went to Rummin’ Tings you were probably seen stumbling in to ask for a round of shots, but this Caribbean bar does some flavor-packed food as well. Their mouth-watering Jamrock Jerk Chicken is a whole boneless thigh, cooked with tamarind aioli, served with a side of “Jerk,” a Jamaican hot spice mixture made up mostly of Jamaican peppers and Caribbean red peppers. This is one bad boy you definitely don’t want to stay away from.

They say save the best for last, and this was definitely the case for us as we headed to Chilli Fagara for our last spicy bite. We love spicy food paired with the sweetness of sugar, so we knew the signature Caramelized Spicy Beef would be a winner. The sliced beef is first cooked in their special floral-infused water, then crisped and glazed with a syrupy ginger-infused sauce. The meat was tender, and we loved how the spice was perfectly balanced out with the sweetness. If you’re looking for a culinary trifecta on this challenge, this one gave us 1) a great Instagram photo 2) a mouthgasm, and 3) the last stamp on our Spicy Passports.