Why Do Korean People Like Spicy Food?


4 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered
Modern Korean cuisine developed from the ancient culinary traditions of the Korean peninsula and has this background to thank for the complex, delicious and often spicy flavors you'll find in many Korean dishes. 
Flicking through a Korean cookbook, you'll soon find that pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste) are used in abundance for a variety of recipes. For this reason, Koreans often have a very different idea of what constitutes 'spicy' in comparison to a westernised palate, and peppery delicacies like kimchee have become synonymous with Korean cuisine.

Spicy Korean food

On a recent holiday to Korea, I was totally floored by the rich flavors and complexity of the local cuisine. I probably ended up taking more photos in the various shik-tahng (restaurants) that we visited than of the major tourist attractions.
I especially appreciated the dishes that verged on the spicier side of the spectrum, and enjoyed washing them down with shots of soju (rice wine). My girlfriend, on the other hand, winced every time a side dish of Kimchee was presented with a meal, and often cautiously asked waitresses for a rating out of 10 on where a dish sat on the 'spice-scale'.

If you're the kind of person that gets nervous at the idea of jalapeños on a pizza, then Korean menus are best navigated like a rubber dinghy in piranha-infested waters. To watch out for are:
  • Kimchee (or Kimchi) is a staple of Korean cuisine, and is a usually made by fermenting a vegetable (most commonly cabbage) in garlic, onion, ginger and chilli. It is served as a side-dish (banchan) with almost every meal.
  • Guk simply means 'stew', but be warned - nothing is more eye-watering than tucking into a steaming bowl of chilli-infused soup like Maeuntang (spicy fish soup), or Gamjatang (spicy pork spine soup!) 
  • Ramyeon is the name of a type of noodle, often the variety used in instant noodles you'll find on the shelves of Korean supermarkets. With some brands not having any English writing on the packaging, it can be easy to be caught off guard by these usually spicy snacks.
Whilst there are undoubtedly a number of dishes that do contain chilli as a prominent flavor, you shouldn't let this put you off Korean food. My advice would be to ask questions, be as adventurous as possible and don't forget to try the Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly).
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Because their taste buds are bland. They mix Kim-chi, pepper flakes and pepper paste in everything.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Because it is very hot in Summer, people tend to lose appetite in hot weather. They need hot and spicy food.
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Anonymous commented
what kind of spicy food you like?
awawa tokyo
awawa tokyo commented
kimchi is my favorite
Anonymous commented
Oh, yes. It is true. The weather. Of course. But this is not a reason. This is not a "why". The weather itself - the very nature is a means. It is not an end. And so to choose spicy food is to be looking for a means to do... what?
Cindy Jang Profile
Cindy Jang answered

Korean Food is spicy cause of the popularity of Kimchi. Kimchi is a national food, it is tasty, spicy and very easy to store. Korean People use kimchi in a lot of dishes to make it more spicy.

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