This is serious. We’re not talking about the spice you get from mustard and ham sandwiches, pizza oil or an odd dash of wasabi. These restaurants have some of the most volcanic, stomach-troubling dishes in all of Sydney.

Of course, any amateur cook can blow your head off with a big handful of chopped chilli. A good spicy dish needs to have other things going for it than just intense heat – balance, texture and presentation, for starters. All our picks are nailing these things in their own way.

So if you're ready for the incendiary highs that come with chilli feasts, here’s where to go for Sichuan hot pot, Thai noodle soups, hot wings, Pakistani chilli-laden curries and Korean fried-chicken.

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Xing Xing Sichuan Dish

Start with silky wontons, move onto a chilli-laced fish soup and finish with glutinous rice cakes coated in brown sugar.

42a Dixon Street, Haymarket

Spicy Joint

A wildly popular chain from China repping the flavours of Sichuan in the middle of the CBD.

4 25-29 Dixon Street, Haymarket

Dodee Paidang Haymarket

Take on a tom yum soup, if you dare. The spice level is rated from zero to seven and owner Somporn Phosri once told us, "Level seven will blow your head off – even I can’t eat it.”

9 37 Ultimo Road, Haymarket

Wings and Tins

Are you game to take on T-Bone's Doom Juice, made with Carolina Reaper chillies?

2 Chapel Street, Darlinghurst

Flying Tong

The spiciest Korean fried-chicken in Sydney.

99 Enmore Rd, Newtown

Spice Temple

They do chillis every which way – fiery, fresh, fermented ... and more.

10 Bligh Street, Sydney

Chin Chin

The Jungle Curry is the business.

69 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Dainty Sichuan

There's plenty choose from, but the fiery, numbing Chongqing chicken is the go-to.

10/19b World Square 644 George Street, Sydney

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant

Alternately searing and numbing, just like Sichuan cuisine should be.

Shop 108 25-29 Harbour Street, Haymarket

Long Chim

Make straight for the Chiang-Mai style larb.

Corner of Pitt Street and Angel Place, Sydney

Belles Hot Chicken Barangaroo

Five levels of heat to suit your taste.

Shop 5 33 Barangaroo Avenue, Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo

Boon Cafe and Jarern Chai

Fiery Isan cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1/425 Pitt Street, Haymarket

Spice I Am

Don't underestimate the larb.

90 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills

Chum Tang

The owner once told us this was "Thai food for Thai people" – with the heat levels that implies.

Shop 4, The District Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

Lal Qila

For fiery north-Indian curries such as haleem and jalfreezi.

30 Lime Street, Darling Harbour

Chat Thai

Finish with a cooling Thai red tea to soothe your tongue.

20 Campbell Street, Haymarket


Caysorn's tai pla is just about the spiciest thing we've ever eaten.

Shop 106-108A Level 1 8 Quay St., Haymarket


Serves a Korean street-food dish called buldak, which means "fire chicken".

1-7 Albion Place, Sydney

Cheng Kitchen

The only genuine Northern Thai restaurant in Sydney.

54 Campbell Street, Haymarket