Whether it’s a sloppy drizzle of Sriracha sauce or a droplet of Tabasco, the hue of red in food is hard to resist. But when the spice intensifies, tears are shed and we have a challenge to see who can handle the heat.


Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Cinnamon and habanero challenges are long gone — a new wave of spicy food challenges has emerged, with Buldak Bokkeum Myun from South Korea rising to the center. The name of this Korean dish translates to “fire chicken stir-fried noodles.” It’s an instant, broth-less ramen that quickly gained popularity in South Korea for its insanely spicy taste.


Photo by Andrew Chang

Released by Samyang Food in April 2012, the noodles were only known in South Korea until 2014, when the spiciness exploded on YouTube. A well-known YouTube channel called 영국남자 (Englishman) posted a video of people in London reacting (mostly crying) after tasting the noodles.

The video hit more than 5 million views and sparked the curiosity of others, giving birth to the viral fire noodle challenge. Since then, thousands of people have filmed themselves attempting to finish the noodles as fast as possible or without water, although most instantly regret their decision. 


GIF courtesy of replygif.net

Broke on a Friday night? No problem. This challenge is readily accessible to anyone who wants an entertaining and cheap meal with a side of self-reflection in the bathroom the next morning. At the very least, the challenge has you and your friends covered for a fun night of tears and laughter (maybe). The good news is that Buldak Bokkeum Myun is now imported to the US and can be purchased at Korean markets.

While intimidating, the challenge doesn’t have to be too unpleasant. After all, the fire noodle challenge maintained its popularity due to its addictive taste. If you’re a bit scared heading in, try adding cheese to reduce the pain and double the tastiness. The cheese will create a creamy taste that will level up your spicy ramen game.


Photo by Andrew Chang

Not a fan of cheese? A fried or poached egg can do the job just as well while also making the ramen more gourmet. Pop the egg yolk to add a buttery touch to the noodles. Adding both egg and cheese is an option too, of course.


Photo courtesy of MissMessie on Flickr

Do you think you can handle the spice? Take up the fire noodle challenge to gain bragging rights, post embarrassing videos and photos of your friends, or cook up a bowl just to enjoy the taste.