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Firdous Express – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

When you say ID Required, you’re setting the bar pretty high…

Nestled in a corner of North Market Firdous Express is one of our staples for a quick lunch in the downtown area. One day we noticed a sign saying that you needed to show ID to prove you were 21 to eat the Tunisian Chicken. At that moment, we knew we had a contender for spiciest dish in Columbus.

Most times when we head to Firdous Express, we’ve gotten one of their gyro options, whether that’s the Shawirma or the gyro salad. Each comes with some great cuts of gyro meat, hummus and warm pita bread. The lady of the farm prefers soft fluffy pita bread, so she doesn’t much care for the pita here, but I’m a fan as it’s easier to scoop the hummus with a more sturdy pita. To each their own!

Walking confidently up to the counter, ID in hand, I asked for the Tunisian Chicken meal. No ID was asked for so we double-checked that it was the spicy dish the sign mentioned and were assured that yes, it was. Off to a shaky start. As the menu reads, the Tunisian Chicken is “A hot and spicy chicken breast cooked with tomato, garlic and black olives in our special sauce.” Along with the Tunisian Chicken you get a choice of rice, so we opted for the Spicy Algerian Rice.

Tunisian Chicken at Firdous Express for Spiciest Dish in Columbus

Firdous Express’ Tunisian Chicken, Salad & Pita

Behold, the Tunisian Chicken. By opening the box and getting the first whiff, we knew this was not going to be the spiciest dish in Columbus, OH. One downside of this particular dish (for me at least) is the olives. There are so many olives and I’m not a big fan to begin with, but that’s on me. We mainly wanted to point it out because even with the menu I didn’t realize how many there would be, but enough about olives, how’s the sauce?

The chicken is marinated nicely and the sauce, while well-spiced, is mild in spiciness. Definitely not worthy of a sign that asks for Photo ID, but it is a good lunch-time spice. It’s the kind of spiciness that wakes you up a little bit, but isn’t going to give you cramps or make you regret your life choices in the middle of an afternoon meeting. Overall the sauce is mellow, but definitely gets a nice covering of warmth in your mouth.

Tunisian chicken and spicy Algerian rice at Firdous Express in Columbus

Tunisian chicken & spicy Algerian rice

Nestled beneath the chicken and olives sits the Algerian Rice. I love this rice. If we were putting together a list for best rice in Columbus, I think this would make it into the top 5. The flavor profile is excellent and had hints of the seasonings that we put in our La Kama seasoning a while back. There’s an earthiness to it, a bit of heat, and it compliments Tunisian Chicken nicely. To be honest, I’d almost prefer a box of the Algerian rice slathered in the Tunisian Chicken sauce next time.

Now that we’ve been through the full box, where does the Tunisian Chicken sit in our list of spiciest dishes in Columbus? Sadly, even with the ID required sign, the Tunisian Chicken is at the bottom of our current list. Again, it’s got a nice spice to it, and a good flavor, but the lady of the farm had almost no reaction when trying the chicken. For entry-level spice seekers, this could be a good dish to try out, but for those seeking the spiciest in Columbus, look elsewhere or just roll with Firdous gryos (not hot, but delicious!). As for us, the search continues.

Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!

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