We’ve all been there. The weather turns cold, your fingees get numb, and there’s still a week until you can justify turning on your heater full time. So you put on a winter jacket, two pairs of socks, and a blanket and sit there in your apartment all pouty and cold. Looking for something to warm you up and clear up those snot-clogged nostrils? Eat some spicy foods!
Here are eight of our favorite spicy foods to clear your sinuses. We’re talking both nose spicy and mouth spicy, so grab some tissues and read on.
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- Samyang Buldak Korean Hot Spicy Chicken Stir-Fried Ramyun Noodles
These noodles are the best. As Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick correctly pointed out, when it comes to instant ramen products, Samyang has “the best, chewiest noodles,” and they really do. These noodles are boingy (al dente even), devilishly spicy, and bursting with umami flavor. If you are a spicy gal who likes spicy foods and is often disappointed by the frustratingly medium spice level of most “spicy” products, then look no further than these noods to warm your entire head, esophagus, etc.
- Takis Fuego
Ah, Takis. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant. Thank you for being a friend. Takis genuinely are one of the best spicy things out there. Each beautiful corn tortilla chip is dusted with an insane amount of insanely red powder made of more capsaicin and citric acid than previously thought possible. They are salty, umami-y, corny, and limey, and, as Jordan said, “The undeniable citrus twang, the perfect level of heat, and the ideal amount of crunch” are what make a Taki a Taki. They literally could not be any better. Because they’re amazing…just the way they are. (Sorry about all the song lyrics on that one, Takis make me get all poetic.)
- Natural Plus Green Sichuan Chili Oil
How can you call yourself a heat head if you don’t keep a jar of chili crisp around? Answer: You can’t. And if you have to buy one now anyway to prove you have hot head street cred, may as well go for the best and tastiest chili crisp on the market: Natural Plus Green Sichuan Chili Oil. According to Jordan, it is “better than the homemade chili crisp [they] buy in bulk from [their] local dumpling place.” Now THAT is high praise. It even has a bit of Szechuan peppercorn flavor and is actually spicy unlike a lit of chili crisps. Try this on everything from a stir fry to vanilla ice cream.
Related: The Best Chili Crisp to Buy in 2022
- El Yucateco Chile Habanero XXXtra Hot Sauce
It wouldn’t be a best of spicy foods list without a hot sauce, now would it? And don’t you worry spicelords, this one is ACTUALLY hot. But not only that, it accomplishes the incredible feat of actually tasting good as well and not just tasting “like chemicals” as other extreme hot sauces do sometimes. Jordan said that this hot sauce “is a little fruity, slightly peppery, and super savory,” adding, “This stuff is so hot that I add one drop per bite instead of dousing my entire meal in it.” SO, even if you think you are spice Bear Grylls and can withstand any spice conditions, proceed with caution.
Related: 11 Best Hot Sauces Worth the Burn
- House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Sauce
No, this is not the McDonald’s Szechuan sauce featured on Rick and Morty. It is so much better than that. This sauce was described by Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo as “more than just spicy—it’s also tangy, salty, and has a strong meaty flavor from the soy sauce.” I would bet that you could add this to any stir fry and, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, it would “BAM! Kick it up a notch.” Not only that, but Danny pointed out that this sauce is “actually spicy” so get your tissues and soda of choice ready, and enjoy!
- St. Elmo Steak House World Famous Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Jessica, cocktail sauce isn’t spicy! Also, when am I going to need cocktail sauce in my fridge?” Au contraire mon frère, cocktail sauce is spicy—it’s got horseradish in it. And for anyone who celebrates Passover or has had wasabi at an American sushi restaurant, you know that horseradish spiciness has the propensity to get right up in your nose and stay there for a hot (haha) minute. This cocktail sauce is no different and contains LOTS of horseradish spice. Also, who says cocktail sauce is just for shrimp?! Jordan thinks this sauce would also be great on “raw oysters and fried clams,” as well as on “french fries or a steak.”
- Woeber’s Sandwich Pal Horseradish Sauce
Speaking of horseradish and nose spice, it’s horseradish sauce! I used to have this exact Woeber’s sauce on my sandwiches as a kid and it was always so good. Especially if we were having a fancy week and happened to get roast beef for the sandwiches instead of turkey or ham. MMMmm. As for what it is (if you are still wondering what horseradish sauce is), it’s essentially fresh ground horseradish (a root, by the way) and mayo. Danny said that with this sauce, “The texture is creamy (it’s made with egg yolks), slightly sweet (add in corn syrup), and has plenty of spicy horseradish bite.” Ugh—luscious, salty, acidic, and spicy. Samin Nosrat would be proud.
- Maille Dijon Originale
For the longest time (and this is a true story) I thought this type of mustard was named after Celine Dijon, and then I very embarrassingly realized way too late in life that her last name is Dion, not Dijon and that the mustard is simply French. Anyway, back to the mustard. Jordan, a self-proclaimed heat head and lover of all things mustard said that this Maille Dijon Originale was “the punchiest, zestiest dijon on the market.” This is the kind of mustard that will wake you up a bit, kind of like plunging your face into a bucket of cold water, or almost falling down the stairs but catching yourself. It supposedly “hits the inside of your nose” according to Garrett Palm from Smosh. This brand has also apparently been around since 1747, claiming that “Marquise de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress, was a loyal customer back in the day,” so, you know, they’ve had a bit of time to refine their tangy, pungent, hits-the-inside-of-your-nose craft.