Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

KOTTU HOUSE, 250 Broome Street (between Ludlow and Orchard Street), Lower East SideI think I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to spicy food. Numbing Szechuan food is one of my favorite cuisines and I can certainly take down some jerk chicken or spicy Mexican salsas with the best of them. But I was surprised when the waitress at Kottu House described the dish I tasted as “American medium.” The spice was through the roof!

She even told me Sri Lankans would go much spicier than this. I couldn’t hear everything she was saying because I was trying to breathe in as much air as possible so my tongue didn’t spontaneously combust.

I knew Sri Lankan food was spicy. But they’re not holding back on the heat at Kottu House, the brand new hole-in-the-wall den specializing in kottu, a Sri Lankan street food consisting of meat or vegetables, spices, egg and a special type of roti bread that has been sliced and stir-fried as if they were noodles.

The lunch special is a steal: $10 for a kottu, a drink, and an appetizer. I paid extra for their tangy frizzy mango drink and munched on their chili-laced lentil patties with a cooling side of coconut sambal.

Classic Chicken Kottu at KOTTU HOUSE

For the kottu, I wanted to start with their classic chicken and was blown away by the intense, bold flavors and the unique textures. Presented like a noodle dish, the roti had the doughy chew of a noodle, but in short fat pieces. The bread soaked up all the extra flavor provided by a unique roasted black curry. Spice wasn’t the only bold taste; it was rounded out by a bit of earthiness and a subtle sweetness. It was one of those fiery experiences where the more it burned, the more you wanted to keep eating.

I can’t remember when I last had a noodle dish this tasty. And then I realized it wasn’t even a noodle dish. It was a bread dish!! All that heat must have gone to my head. It was so intensely firey that I can’t wait to return to try the other kottu, like seawater fish and the deviled beef, which are supposed to be even hotter. I’m hoping for the Sri Lankan version of “American hot.” Let’s see how much my tastebuds can take.

KOTTU HOUSE
250 Broome Street (between Orchard and Ludlow Street),
Lower East Side
(646) 781-9222
kottuhouse.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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