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The South Likes it Hot

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There are several theories as to why people in hot climates love spicy food. Some say that the spices are natural antimicrobials that help keep food-borne pathogens and parasites at bay, meaning that spicy food is safer to eat. Others think that spice stimulates appetite and aids in digestions, which can both take a hit in the heat. Yet another theory is that spicy food increases your blood circulation, leading to more sweat , which in turn cools you down. Whatever the reason, Southern chefs, who deal with their fair share of hot days, can’t stop increasing the heat in their dishes. Whether it’s Asian inspired spicy eats from Chef Chris Shepard in Houston, Texas, the inventively incendiary cuisine that comes from Chef Ian Boden’s tiny kitchen in Staunton,Virginia or the famous Hot Chicken of Nashville, if you need spicy food the South packs plenty of heat for you. Here are a few of our favorite fiery recipes.

Sichuan Steamed Flounder
from Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly,
Houston, Texas

Miso Fried Quail with Concord Grape Hot Sauce and Dirty Oats
from Chef Ian Boden of The Shack Restaurant,
Staunton, Virginia

Nashville Hot Chicken Tacos
from Chef Eddie Hernandez, co-owner of Taqueria del Sol,
Atlanta, Georgia

Contigo Bloody Mary
from bartender Steven Robbins of Contigo, Austin, Texas

Fried Catfish
from Chef Ari Kolender of Leon’s Oyster Shop,
Charleston, South Carolina

Chili Shrimp
from Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin, TX