Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s City Guides are their annual round-up of posts highlighting bloggers’ favorite spots across the city. This year, I signed up for some exciting guides: Austin’s cideries, the best brewpubs, dog-friendly bars, and even cocktail recipes for some of my favorite Austin spirits!
My guide to Austin’s Spiciest Eats and Hottest Drinks is different though: I’m totally indulging myself and creating a guide to life in Austin for spicy food addicts like myself. I felt it calling to me since one of my favorite types of food is spicy! People, and even restaurants if I’m being honest, close to me know just how far my love for hot sauce goes.
So below, you’re going to find everything from Austin’s spiciest cocktails and margs to the hot sauces this city loves the most. Plus, all the hot, spicy food and festivals in Austin.
Hottest Foods in Austin
Ramen Tatsu-ya Website | Multiple Locations
The best, most authentic ramen in Austin, is being made at Ramen Tatsu-ya two Austin locations. With any of their bowls, you can order a variety of bombs to kick up the already-delicate flavors. My favorite is of course the red pepper paste Spicy Bomb.
There’s also the Fire in a Bowl bomb that’s a blend of Thai chili and habanero paste and the five-blend Chili bomb.
Clay Pit Contemporary Indian Cuisine Website | 1601 Guadalupe St Austin, TX 78701
If you’re into curry and spicy Indian food, you must stop by Clay Pit to try on their house specialties at the desi hot level. Their specialties includes curries, Mughlai chicken, and kothmir salmon. Oh, and you better believe they have a great lunch buffet!
Texas Chilli Parlor Website | 1409 Lavaca St Austin, TX 78701
Just a block from the Texas State Capitol, Texas Chilli Parlor has been serving Texas-style chili plus sandwiches, Tex-Mex standards and “cold beer” since 1976. If you think you’re brave enough, order the XXX or the habanero chilies for a very spicy kick to your you-know-what. Weaklings can opt for the single X version of their Texas chilli.
East Side King Thai Nun Website | Multiple Locations
East Side King is an Austin favorite. They’ve grown from a single food truck to five locations all over Austin. The Thai-Kun arm (the trailer was first) is the brainchild of chef Thai Changthon. The menus at both locations are entirely unique from the other East Side King spots.
Brick and Mortar | 11601 Rock Rose Avenue Austin, TX 78758
I don’t think many people would argue with me when I say the papaya salad at East Side King Thai Kun brick and mortar is the spiciest dish in Austin. The dish uses green papaya, fish sauce, tomatoes, shrimp paste, peanuts, and a generous amount of Thai chilies in various forms. Keep those cukes within arm’s reach!
Food Trailer | 1816 E 6th St Austin, TX 78702
At their food trailer in East Austin, you’ll want to grab their pork waterfall, another one of Austin’s spicy foods. East Side King takes pork shoulder grilled and sliced with Tiger Cry sauce, then pickled cabbage, toasted rice powder, cilantro, red onion, and sticky rice. As I love me some red meat, I much prefer this spicy dish from East Side Kings.
Austin Drinks with a Spicy Kick
Bloody Mary @ Casino El Camino Website | 517 E 6th St Austin, TX 78701
A taquito, a grilled cheese, a meatball, sausage, a corn dog, a slider, and then garnishs of bacon, celery, olives, cucumber, various pickled items are just some of the items you can get in your Bloody Mary at Casino El Camino.
You can also order your Bloody Mary to be spicy on spicy scale from one to ten. Five is habenerro, and above that is when they start adding in ghost peppers!
The Smokin’ Cactus @ Freedmen’s Bar Website | 2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705
A true Southern-inspired cocktail, the Smokin’ Cactus is one of Freedmen’s most popular recipes. It’s made with mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice, jalapeño-infused agave syrup, and smoked sea salt. Pair it with some of their delicious BBQ and kick back with some friends in their dog-friendly outdoor space.
Texas Mule @ Péché Website | 208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701
Tito’s Vodka, lime, jalapeño, and house ginger beer is spicy, but comfortable, AND it’s on happy hour every day of the week (except Saturdays). Located in downtown Austin, Péché will fill you up with their French comfort foods & craft cocktails inside their New Orleans-esque space. They specialize in absinthe, if you’re looking for a different kind of burn.
Spicy Monkey Mocha @ Monkey Nest Coffee Website | 5353 Burnet Rd Austin, TX
Chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper come together for a delicious, and spicy latte. Monkey Nest Coffee is open 24 hours a day, so grab one anytime you need a spicy caffeine boost.
Spicy Frozen @ Taco Flats Website | 5520 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
100% agave tequila, triple sec, hand squeezed lime juice, fresh jalapeño. Served in slushy form with a lime and jalapeño garnish, it’s slightly sweet with a spicy-hot kick. When it comes to food, Taco Flats reminds me of authentic Mexican food and I can’t get enough. They have classic Mexican tacos, tortas, & more plus incredible tequila cocktails in a modern, hip space. Tip: spice addicts will adore their salsa, so order some chips!
Austin’s Spiciest Sauces
Yellowbird Sauce Website
Yellowbird’s spicy sauces are made here in Austin and crafted using real ingredients with no added preservatives or artificial anything. There’s three classic sauces that are available at most Austin restaurants and grocery stores. They’re also available to buy online!
There’s the red jalapeño condiment that’s a simple blend of red jalapeños, carrots, onions, and garlic is rich and tangy. Then we get a bit spicier with the green Serrano that’s a blend of Serrano peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, lime juice, and garlic.
Finally, there’s the mouth-burning, but oh so delicious Hebanero that’s a blend of carrots, habanero peppers, onions, garlic, tangerine juice, and lime juice; it truely goes with almost every dish.
Pueblo Viejo Taco’s Salsas Website | 1606 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
(Second Location: at the Craftsman Bar)
This brightly colored trailer in a food truck park is famous for it’s for tacos, tamales & Mexican street food. The salsas though are a delight for the spicy food addicts out there. The rojo and verde salsas are classics and they taste so fresh.
If you can stand the heat, request the orange sauce, it uses five peppers, including the habanero.
Tacodeli’s Doña Sauce Website | Multiple Locations
The Doña is Tacodeli’s signature salsa. It’s a spicy jalapeño, garlic blend but the actual ingredients are closely guarded. The salsa was created by one of Tacodeli’s cooks (Dona Bertha) during a contest to see who could create the best salsa. 17 years later, and most of Austin agrees this is one of the best spicy sauces!
Torchy’s Taco’s Diablo Sauce Website | Multiple Locations
Torchy’s Taco’s Queso comes standard with a drizzle of Diablo sauce on top, you’re going to want to ask for extra if you’re addicted to the heat like I am. I love this stuff and wouldn’t you know it, it’s now available to buy in bottles! You no longer need to hoard those tiny cups of salsa for a few days after a visit for some breakfast tacos.
Bonus! Spicy Food Events in Austin
Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival Website
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, which began in 1990, has become the world’s largest, drawing as many as 15,000 spectators every year. Hundreds of gallons of hot sauce are consumed and beverages are on hand to cool off the overheated.
The best part is the hot sauce competition between three great styles of sauces: verde, rojo, and special variety for both home chefs and restaurants. This incredible Austin food event features tastings from local restaurants, culinary demonstrations, local hot sauces for sale, cookbooks for making your own spicy eats, fresh peppers, and of course live music.
The Hot Sauce Festival also serves as a major fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank. So far, the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival has raised over 700,000 meals in 25 years.
Torchy’s Tacos Some Like it Hot Month Website
In it’s third year, Torchy’s Some Like it Hot month in August is one month + four tacos = bragging rights. Each week during the month of August, Torchy’s releases a taco that gets slighty hotter and hotter. The month starts out mild, almost anyone could handle that heat, but the last taco is one that will have you crying tears of spicy happiness.