Who on earth has the biggest cravings for spicy food? Yes, the infamous Koreans. Most of you would already know that Koreans are one of a kind when it comes to spicy food. Why do they love it so much, and why do they keep on eating it? To solve this mystery, Hf will now provide a list of Korean food that is popular for its hotness in, but not exactly in the order of its spicy level.
Kimchi, and dishes made of kimchi (김치)
If you haven’t tried kimchi, then you haven’t tried Korean food yet. Kimchi is made of Chinese cabbage mixed with red hot chili pepper seasoning. Kimchi is like the cornerstone of Korean food, to enter and familiarize yourself with Korean cuisine. Kimchi is easily accessible, since many Korean restaurants will offer various kinds of its own kimchi as a side dish along with main menu. Plus, there are many different dishes with kimchi as the main ingredient, such as Kimchi fried rice, soup, pancake, and much more. Koreans eat kimchi on a daily basis and kimchi dishes are usually less spicy compared to the other so-called spicy food.
Bibimbap, Bibim naengmyeon, Bibim gooksu (비빔밥, 비빔냉면, 비빔국수)
Bibim means to stir in Korean. There are various kinds of bibim dish in Korea, ranging from rice to noodles to even vegetables. The most popular bibimbap is a mix bowl of rice and vegetables, whereas bibim naengmyeon is cold noodles with spicy sauce. Bibim gooksu is similar to bibim naengmyeon but served with soft noodles, preferably with warm broth. As bibim dishes are usually served with many vegetables to begin with, it is considered a well-being food good for your health. But beware, once you add the red pepper paste, your mouth will be on fire!
Jjamppong is a Korean dish that is inspired by Chinese cuisine. It uses soft and thick udon-type noodle, contains various kinds of seafood and looks red by its use of hot chili pepper soup. Just like its flaming color and stingy smell, this noodle is notorious for its spiciness. Some offer white-colored jjamppong, seemingly a less spicy version of the red one, however, it will still be spicy.
Tteokbokki (떡볶이) 韓式炒年糕
Tteokbokki is considered to be the most favorite common daily snack in Korea. Rice cake, tteok, is boiled together with red pepper paste and red hot chili pepper powder with a bit of sugar or honey, fishcake and some vegetables. Tteokbokki can be easily found on street stalls, but many chains specializing in tteokbokki opened up in the recent years, such as Jaws tteokbokki and Yeopgi tteokbokki to name a few.
韓式炒年糕是韓國最普遍和最受歡迎的小食。年糕（Tteok）配合辣醬和辣粉一起烹調，再加入糖或蜂蜜、魚糕及蔬菜，就成為美味的韓式炒年糕。韓式炒年糕很容易就可以在街上的小店找得到，而近年亦有很多連鎖式的韓式年糕店，就如Jaws tteokbokki和Yeopgi tteokbokki。
Stirred Nakji, Ojju (낚지볶음, 오쭈)
Nakji Bokkeum contains stir fried small octopuses in spicy sauce. Ojju is fried squid and webfoot octopus stirred together. The spiciness comes from its addition of red pepper paste and red chili pepper powder. Unlike tteokbokki, nakji bokkeum and ojju don’t have sweet tastes. They’re just pure spicy.
Nakji Bokkeum是用辣醬炒細八爪魚，Ojji是以魷魚和八爪魚拌均一起炒，兩道菜的辣度都是取決於外加的紅辣醬和紅辣椒粉。不像韓式炒年糕和Nakji Bokkeum，Ojji並沒有甜味，只是單純的辣！
Fire Chicken (불닭) 辣雞
Koreans love their chicken with beer. The most popular seasonings to go with the friend chickens are sweet and spicy seasonings and cheese. While seasoned fried chicken is the most common one with normal spiciness, there is also something called fire chicken. Literally, once you have a bite of it, you will gulp down the rest of water in your cup.
Fire Pig Feet, Fire Chicken Feet (불족발, 불닭발)
Chicken feet, as known as dakbal in Korean and pig feet, or jokbal in Korean, can be cooked in tender taste. However people seem to prefer them in burning spices. In order to serve tenderness and get rid of unwanted odor, Koreans add even more red pepper sauce. These food fume out a hotter as they are normally sprinkled with garlic and minced red hot chili peppers.
Extra spicy ramen (Shin ramen, Fire chicken ramen, Namja ramem)
Shin ramen is the classic pronoun for spicy food. Korean instant noodle, ramen, has taken a new step by adding “extremely spicy ramen” lines to their chains. Next to Shin ramen, Fire chicken ramen (불닭볶음면) and Namja ramen(남자라면). Fire chicken ramen is currently the most popular and thought to be the spiciest ramen existing. Namja ramen literally means “if you area a man,” which hints the idea that a real man needs to bear its spiciness. Really?
Red pepper paste (고추장) 苦椒醬
When you add this magical sauce, it will create a new world of spiciness that might take your burning mouth into a torturous level. Some Koreans add this sauce in order to enjoy the extreme level of spiciness. Do we recommend this for you to try? Recommended only when you feel like challenging yourself!
Many people agree that their tongues hurt whilst having and get stomachaches after having spicy food, or even, that they end up with drinking so much water to kill the burn that they couldn’t enjoy food itself. So, why do Koreans love spicy food so much anyways? Well, we don’t know why exactly, but maybe, because hot people love hot food perhaps?
TEXT: SEONGMIN KIM
CHINESE TRANSLATION: LITTLEBUNNY
DESIGN: WINNY F/HOKK FABRICA
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