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For the typical palate of most people from English-speaking countries, just about all Korean food is spicy.

But for those of us who love hot spicy food, I want to know if there are certain specific meals in Korean cuisine which generally have the reputation of being the hottest.

For comparison I know I have Mexican friends that think certain Mexican dishes are too hot for them. Are there some Korean dishes that even some Koreans avoid for being "too spicy"?

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I'm not entirely sure that the answers you cite are actually answers. Phall is a British creation, and the only reason it's the spiciest is because Western cultures have decided they want to have a single spiciest dish. And I don't think green curry is universally the hottest Thai dish. –  Jefromi Sep 20 '12 at 21:48
    
Well I don't think Stack Exchange answers have to be undisputed, otherwise they wouldn't encourage multiple answers per question. If there's not a "hottest dish" there's still a 100% objectively correct answer: "No" - well hopefully with some explanation. I think that's much better than preemptively closing the question. Also the fact that there's an "only reason" for a question having an answer is different to a question not having an answer. –  hippietrail Sep 20 '12 at 21:56
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There's a difference between disputed answers and answers with many equally good answers. As you can see in the faq, while we're fine with some competing answers which hopefully eventually provide a single complete answer to the question, we don't really go for questions that "solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion". It would be better if you at least asked "what Korean dishes are typically hottest", rather than about reputation and a single dish. –  Jefromi Sep 21 '12 at 0:37
    
Ah OK on some SE sites asking in your recommended way would look like a "list question", but in the end I think it all comes down to interpretation of the SE guidelines, and each site tends to settle down to a slightly different pattern. I'll take your advice to re-word - thanks! –  hippietrail Sep 21 '12 at 4:38
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We're not huge fans of lists either, but it's better than artificially asking for a single answer when you know you'll get lists anyway. –  Jefromi Sep 21 '12 at 7:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found ojingeo bokkeum (오징어볶음), which is squid stir-fried in a chilli sauce, to be pretty intense, especially as a jeongol (전골) or stew, where it's both hot (as in spicy) and hot (as in temperature). The sweetness of the stew does nothing to lessen the intensity of the dish.

Also ridiculously spicy is buldak (불닭), which is again a stir-fry of chicken in a chilli sauce, with tteok (떡) or rice cake.

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I forgot about ojingeo bokkeum, I used to love it, so after you reminded me I went out and fount it. Not as hot as I remembered but that always depends on the restaurant, the cook, and their tendency to "weegookize" dishes (-: (Sorry I seem to have accidentally voted this answer down and I can't vote it back unless it's edited apparently.) –  hippietrail Sep 24 '12 at 9:34
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I find Korean restaurants here in Sydney cater to such an overwhelmingly Korean clientele that they don't bother uigukising anything. Thai restaurants here on the other hand are big offenders in this respect... –  jogloran Sep 24 '12 at 9:39
    
True indeed. I do find it easier to convince Thai restaurants that I can handle it that Indian restaurants in Australia. Of course if you try too hard they might even take it as a personal challenge and you can get more than you bargained for (-: –  hippietrail Sep 24 '12 at 9:41

A Korean friend I asked suggested "jeyuk deopbap" (제육덮밥 in Korean). In English it seems to be translated as "spicy fried pork".

It will be served with rice. But you can also find "Jeyuk bokkeum" (제육볶음), which is just the spicy pork alone, no rice.

He suggests to order it "very spicy". It might work better to try to say this in Korean but it's hard to pronounce. Try to write one of these down or copy and paste it from here and print it out, or show them on your smartphone:

  • 매우 매운 (maeu maeun)

  • 아주 매운 (aju maeun)

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I found ojingeo bokkeum (오징어볶음), which is squid stir-fried in a chilli sauce, to be pretty intense, especially as a jeongol (전골) or stew, where it's both hot (as in spicy) and hot (as in temperature). –  jogloran Sep 21 '12 at 6:15

"For the typical palate of most people from English-speaking countries, just about all Korean food is spicy."

Uh, no its not. There are many Korean dishes that aren't spicy at all. As in, they have no spicy/heat creating element to them. The typical green Korean chili pepper (풋고추) is not hotter than a Jalapeno pepper on the Scoville scale, anyway.

To answer your questions of "Are there some Korean dishes that even some Koreans avoid for being "too spicy"?"

Yes, there are. Because not all Koreans enjoy eating spicy food. So some Koreans might avoid a dish thinking its too spicy for them, that others may think is not that spicy.

"I want to know if there are certain specific meals in Korean cuisine which generally have the reputation of being the hottest."

Sure there are some meals that some people think are very hot, but I think its pretty subjective. It could be 20 dishes. And obviously, lots of dishes can be made less spicy or more spicy so its sometimes just up to the cook.

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I agree there's tons of non spicy stuff and for me, spicy but not too spicy stuff. But I can tell you the number of times I've eaten with American English teachers that have lived here for months or more who still won't eat most Korean stuff because they insist it's all too spicy without trying it, I'm just going to leave that wording as it is. –  hippietrail Sep 24 '12 at 9:38

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