Growing up, I hated spicy food. I honestly could not handle it, and avoided it at all costs. The smallest amount of spice created a flaming heat in my mouth that often led to a tearful return to bland mashed potatoes or pasta. However, I have recently opened my mind and turned a new leaf with spicy food. To be brutally honest, I mainly changed my tastes to compromise with my boyfriend, since he primarily eats spicy food. The only way I would be able to steal his food was if I conformed to the world of spice. As luck would have it, it worked. I started slow and steady; to this day, I can only handle a moderate amount of spice comfortably. With a sniffly nose and watery eyes, I can take on the spice. With this new adventurous spirit, I was prepared for Eugene’s cuisine. This town is home to a lot of Thai places, all of which have varying levels of spice. Thai food’s best feature is the option to crank the spice levels all the way up. Now, that’s not to say that I can handle the ultimate level of spice, but I’m certain most of you can. Or you can at least try.

 

Tasty Thai – 80 E. 29th Ave, Eugene

Mon – Sat: 11:00am – 9:30pm

Sunday: 9:30am – 9:30pm

Tasty Thai brings the heat with their Spicy Chicken Basil ($9.95). One of their signature dishes, it serves up stir fried chicken, complemented with chili Thai herbs, garlic, bell peppers, basil and onions. Tasty Thai really fires it up with this particular dish, but in typical Thai fashion, you can level the spice to your liking. Still, if you want the hottest dish, this is the one to go for.

Ta Ra Rin – 1200 Oak Street, Eugene

Mon–Fri: 11:00am–3:00pm; 4:30pm–10:00pm

Sat–Sun: 12:00pm–10pm

Ta Ra Rin is a local favorite of Thai cuisine. They provide a welcoming atmosphere, adding to the comfort already provided by the food. A popular favorite is the Curry Noodle with tempeh ($15), which can be so hot, you just might melt. With your choice of protein, a Red Curry sauce covers a pitch-perfect mix of basil, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and broccoli on a bed of rice noodles.

Manola’s Thai Cuisine – 652 E. Broadway, Eugene

Sunday 12:00pm – 09:00pm

Tuesday thru Thursday 11:00am – 09:00pn

Friday 11:00am – 09:30pm

Saturday 12:00pm – 09:30pm

Manola’s Thai is a locally owned restaurant that also delivers, spreading spice all over the Eugene and Springfield area. If you’re looking for the spiciest there is, Pad Ped Siam ($15.95) is what you want. This dish is made with stir fried chicken, pork or beef, with Thai hot peppers, onions, sweet soy sauce, green onion, fresh basil and roasted garlic. A complement of jasmine rice is served on the side.

Sweet Basil Express – 1219 Alder Street, Eugene

Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 9:00pm

Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am – 9:00pm
Sweet Basil Express is conveniently located between the University of Oregon and Northwest Christian University campuses, making the restaurant a favorite amongst busy college students. Along with their green and yellow curry, Sweet Basil Express offers Tom Yum Kung soup, made with shrimp, lemongrass kaffir leaves, green onion, onions, mushrooms and cilantro for only $4-5 depending on if you decide to dine during lunch or dinner hours.