Best Use of Lava Orange County 2009 - Chong Qing Mei Wei
More than Sri Lankan black curry, more than a torta ahogada, even more than habanero salsa chugged from a shot glass, the spiciest dish ever to grace Orange County is the pork spareribs offered at Chong Qing Mei Wei. So many dried, gnarled red chiles adorn the dish that it looks as if someone exploded a red party popper over your lunch. But that's just the beginning: Chile flakes top the peppers, and spicy cooking oil slicks the plate. The cut-up spareribs feature a chile-based rub and absorb the astringent juices of sauteéd onions. Jalapeño slivers dot the mixture, the tastiest example of piling it on since the three-scoop sundae. Craziest thing about this dish, though? It actually has flavor—just make sure to have an acre-foot of cold water handy.