If you have as unfortunate a YouTube addiction as I do, then you’re likely well aware of the fact that the “Korean Fire Noodle Challenge” is a beloved vlog trend on ye olde interwebs, and has been for over a year now. Although I’ve watched plenty of people struggle through this challenge (which, by the way, no one challenged anyone to, except probably some clever Korean PR exec), and despite frequenting the K-Town H Mart on a fairly regular basis, I’ve never remembered to actually pick up a package of the fiery instant ramen noodles to try it for myself. (Until now, of course.)
Last week I finally pulled the trigger and made a point to grab a $1.99 package from the aforementioned Korean supermarket extraordinaire H Mart, and the next day I inflicted ALL of the pain on my taste buds, which (though inanimate) lead a pretty tough day to day existence. If I’m being honest, though, I really didn’t think that the noodles would be THAT spicy, because YouTubers are known for being divas for more views, and besides, I REALLY LIKE SPICY THINGS, so I walked into this whole thing feeling like I was going to crush it, and my mouth would be safe and sound when all was said and done. But I was not correct.
I have no idea what this says, but shout-out to the thumbs up on the bottom left.
The noodles themselves look like your standard instant ramen, but it’s the small package of sauce (which looks like the devil’s blood and tastes similarly) that brings the literal heat after it’s been applied to a bowl of cooked and drained noodles. (There’s also another packet of nori bits and sesame seeds included, but it’s merely for decoration since your entire mouth will go numb after the first bite.)
A packet o’ Beelzeblood, y’all!
The spice factor kicked in fairly immediately after a mouthful, and I knew that I’d been wrong in my assumption that this would be a cakewalk.
That’s not to say that the noodles tasted bad (quite the opposite, in fact…), but the combination of a burning and numbing sensation throughout my entire mouth made it difficult to fully enjoy the flavors at play. A quarter of the way through I realized I was involuntarily drooling, my nose was running, and my eyes were watering. (I took a picture of myself to document the horror, but it was too hideous for words, so I ended up deleting it for purposes of vanity.)
After I finally finished the bowl, I spent an eternity (likely five minutes) trying to decide whether or not it was worth it to walk down to the deli to buy milk (because there was no way I was drinking water and risking a worsened mouth state) in my current state, which involved a steady stream of spit, tears and snot flowing out of my face, as well as a newly acquired bright orange ring around my lips from the goddamned sauce. In the end, though, I decided to suffer through the pain, and I found myself back to (mostly) normal after about twenty agonizing minutes.
Can’t you just hear the “Adagio for Strings” playing softly?
Now, I know what some of you are thinking, aka “But did it wreak havoc on your trou du cul, Megan?” and like most other dumb things I eat, for some reason it did not. (Though I suppose I should mention that I eat a fuck ton of hot sauce on a daily basis, so I could just have a desensitized digestive system by now.)
You also might be wondering if I’d subject myself to this kind of torture again, and to be honest, yes, yes I would…I don’t know if this is like the culinary equivalent of BDSM, but the taste (WHEN I was able to detect it, and despite the pain) was pretty excellent, so I think I’d definitely go for a repeat episode, although next time I think I’d add in some sugar and/or an egg to counterbalance all that heat.
In sum, if you’ve been wanting to try this challenge, I hereby challenge you to get your face to H Mart to stock up on some goddamned masochistic munchery, yeah? YOU CAN DO IT! (MAYBE!)