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The Dish: ka-prow chicken

The Location: Sala Thai, 2016 P St. NW, (202) 872-1144 (plus locations on U Street and in Bethesda, Clarendon, and Court House)

The Price: $7.95

The Skinny: If you’re going to order the ka-prow chicken here, you can’t wimp out on the heat. You have to look the waiter straight in the eye, puff out your chest, and demand a true Thai-level fire. It’s the only way you’ll really experience how this dish works. Ka-prow is the Thai name for basil. Not just any basil, of course, but Thai basil, that strange leafy herb that lends a camphor-like coolness to whatever it touches. With its ka-prow chicken, Sala Thai pounds the white meat thin, slices it into bite sizes, then stir fries the succulent morsels in oil with some fiery chili peppers. The burn, all by itself, is rather pleasant—well, if you’re into that aromatic, mouth-numbing thing. But the burn can deaden your taste buds, too, so while you need the heat to enjoy the cooling effect of the Thai basil, you also need to make sure to savor those first few bites. ‘Cause you might not be able to taste anything much after that.