Man vs Food: Spicy Olympics Phall Curry at Brick Lane Curry House Midtown New York
306 East 6th @ 2nd Ave or 235 E 53rd Street
My coworkers and I often challenge each other with tasting various degrees of spicy hot sauces. I’m not talking about Sriracha Chili Sauce (AKA Asian Ketchup) or Tabasco Sauce, nor even the hot sauce from the famous W Village falafel restaurant Mamoun’s – these are for kids my friends. Cavel prides himself with homemade salsa made from Scotch Bonnet peppers that his dad smuggled in from a secret tree in Jamaica while Mike loves to show off his own secret mix made from Mexican chilies mixed with hot sauce from King Taco Los Angeles. Although we can’t seem to agree on which one is hotter, we do all agree that the concentrated hot sauce served in tiny plastic containers from the local Halal food cart on 53rd and 6th Ave (east side) is respectable.
Last week we decided to settle who was “the man” by trying out the ultimate spicy dish: The Phall Curry at Brick Lane Curry House. Recently featured on the TV show Man Vs. Food, the phall curry at Brick Lane is supposedly the hottest curry in NY. Check the video of the Phall curry challenge on Eat Me Daily Blog The phall dish has so many spices in fact that the chef needs to WEAR A GAS MASK so he won’t choke on the smoke!
Having just finished my Liver Cleanse Diet there was no way I could even eat the entire contents of the curry let alone handle the spices so I opted out to join Pryia in witnessing this ridiculous feat of strength. Competing was Ted, Cavel and Mike from the office representing Italy, Jamaica and Mexico respectively. We went to the E53rd street location which is an interestingly tiny restaurant. It’s so small that the there’s just one large table in the dining area from where we could easily smell the spices being preapred in the adjacent kitchen. I ordered the next spiciest dish on the menu, the paneer vindaloo which turned out to be spicy but doable. Then, to the tune of funky Indian techno music, the phall dishes arrived. From the onset, it looked like a reasonable amount and according to the contest you can eat as much rice and naan bread as you like with it, drink as much water, and take as long as you wish. I think the secret however is that you just have to down it as fast as possible. I tried a small spoonful and I have to say this is probably the spiciest dish I’ve ever tried. The phall is so concentrated with spices that it has a gritty sandy burnt texture from all the curry seeds in the dish. It’s more fire than flavor and it burns for a long time. All three of these guys drank at least 4-5 glasses of water while Cavel got up to grab new napkins from the counter 2 or 3 times to mop the sweat that was dripping down his face. After about 15 mins, Mike finished. Cavel gave up at this point while Ted continued to silently plow through his dish. After a few minutes and encouragement from Priya and myself, Cavel got a 2nd wind and upon confirmation from the restaurant owner that he didn’t have to eat the paneer cheese but just the sauce, he proceeded to down the rest of his dish in 2 large spoonfuls to come in 2nd place. Ted immediately followed Cavel in finishing his own dish.
As victors of the Brick Lane Phall Curry challenge, each of them get their photos submitted onto the Phall of fame, certificates for free beers and the coveted certificate of completion. Bravo guys!