Have you ever tried Korean meals and enjoyed eating spicy Korean food?
If so, this list of spicy Korean dishes is perfect for you! Just a fair warning, this is NOT for the faint of heart!
Now, let’s begin this hot and fiery journey!
- 1 Popular Spicy Korean Dishes
- 2 List of Korean Spicy Dishes
- 3 What makes Korean dishes spicy?
Popular Spicy Korean Dishes
Many things come to mind when we speak about South Korea, such as K-drama and Korean movies, K-pop, and Korean food. There are tons of delicious Korean food you can sample that isn’t terribly spicy food, but if “too spicy” isn’t in your vocabulary and you’re not afraid of spicy Korean food that’ll make your eyes well up with tears, try the tasty but spicy food on this list.
Spicy Korean food is hugely popular, and it’s one of the many cultural treats you can encounter in Korea. If you plan to travel and visit Korea, you can use this as a guide on the dishes in South Korea that you can try out, as these are popular with both local and foreign people.
List of Korean Spicy Dishes
We’ve listed down several spicy Korean food that you might want to try. Let us know which of these spicy Korean foods is your favorite in the comments below!
Spicy Korean Chicken feet (닭발 | dakbal)
South Korea isn’t the only Asian country where Korean dishes like spicy chicken feet are known, but they take a unique approach to preparation that sets Korean chicken feet apart from other variations.
Korean dishes like this are intimidating for a couple of reasons – first of all, you have to get over the fact that you’re eating chicken feet (talons and all). After that initial shock, though, you also have to be willing to eat one of the spiciest Korean dishes out there – that’s what makes this spicy Korean food one for the true spicy food adventurists!
Most people love to eat Korean fried chicken, but if you think you’re brave enough to try Korean dishes like chicken feet, we commend you, AND you’ll have bragging rights for the rest of your life. Give this Korean spicy food a try the next time you’re out with somebody special you’d like to impress! Oh, and this spicy food is also a great pair with beer!
Spicy Jokbal (매운족발 | maeunjokbal)
Spicy Jokbal is the spicy version of jokbal, a popular snack in Seoul eateries. This dish features tender, steamed pork that melts in your mouth, tossed in a super spicy sauce, and topped with scallions and sesame seeds for added texture.
Not quite as intense as fried chicken feet, this spicy Korean food is for anyone who loves spicy food but doesn’t want to feel like they were punched in the face by the spice content of their meal. Give this a try the next time you’ve been out with friends enjoying some alcoholic beverages – for some reason, the spice pairs very well with sake!
Oh, ramyeon. Ramyeon is a noodle dish that all Koreans are VERY well acquainted with – it’s easy to make, can be dressed up with anything in your fridge, and you can even throw in a hard-boiled egg. This is one of the Korean dishes that are very inexpensive, making it the perfect “It’s only Wednesday, and I don’t get paid until Friday” meal!
Although there are nine million ways to prepare and enjoy ramyeon, most Koreans like this noodle dish as spicy as possible. Something about the combination of the tender noodles and the intense spice of popular brands like Shin Ramyeon makes this snack an easy one to love.
Pick up some ramyeon noodles the next time you want a low-maintenance meal that’ll still take your taste buds for a whirl – for extra spice, add some Korean hot sauce along with some side dishes like Kimchi to make things really interesting!
Tteokbokki is a crowd favorite when it comes to Korean street food: featuring fish cakes and rice cakes covered in an aromatic sweet and spicy sauce, there’s a lot to love about this dish. It’s no surprise that this spicy Korean food is as popular among Koreans as it is!
Rice cakes mixed with fish cakes in tteokbokki are usually chewy, cylinder-shaped, and bite-size, making them very easy to eat. This dish also comes with boiled eggs. While most tteokbokki incorporates a sauce that has a good mix of Korean spicy and sweet elements, some tteokbokki vendors crank up the heat and produce a snack that’s sure to make your eyes water.
Tteokbokki can be found at restaurants and street food trucks alike in Seoul or any part of Korea, so it’s easy to find if you’re up to see and try this beloved spicy Korean food. Rice cakes are often paired with other various Korean food too. Pick up some tteokbokki the next time you want a simple but delicious and filling snack, and find out what all of the fuss is about! We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Buldak rose to fame about ten years ago as an extremely spicy dish that spicy Korean food eaters can’t seem to stay away from. Often served covered in melted cheese, buldak (also referred to as fire chicken) is a very seasoned spicy dish made with chicken meat marinated in a fiery sauce that will make you feel like your stomach is on fire.
Fire chicken is usually served over rice cakes or steamed egg casserole to help counteract the spiciness, and this spicy Korean food is not for the faint of heart. If you like eating Korean fried chicken leveled up in spiciness, you most likely very much will enjoy this too. This dish is very hot you might forget your own name! Pick up some spicy chicken if you’re a glutton for punishment and feel the burn!
Donkatsu (돈까스 | donkkaseu)
Your tongue has never experienced anything similar to the spice factor of donkatsu! This spicy Korean dish features an out-of-this-world spicy pork cutlet covered in dark red chili sauce that looks kind of like blood – talk about intimidating!
You can find a dish called “Donkatsu of Death” at Onnuriye Donkatsu in Seoul, which is just as frighteningly spicy as it sounds. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, and make sure you bring a gallon of milk (or two) to help you cope with the spiciness. Let us know in the comments below if you were brave enough to try the Donkatsu of Death (and lived to tell the tale)!
Braised short ribs stew (Galbi Jjim | 갈비찜)
Another extremely popular spicy Korean food, galbi jjim (갈비찜), is a braised short ribs stew served tender enough that they’ll fall apart in your mouth.
Though there are savory and sweet elements incorporated to balance the dish out, galbi jjim is served spicy enough that a couple of bites are all you’ll need before you start feeling the heat. In fact, it’s so spicy that if you order Korean dishes like this at a restaurant, your server will often recommend also ordering a steamed egg alongside the stew to counteract the heat!
This is one of the popular spicy Korean dishes to make at home on special occasions, so bust out your Korean recipe knowledge and make some galbi jjim the next time you’re headed to a party or holiday celebration. You’ll be sure to wow the other guests!
What makes Korean dishes spicy?
You might wonder what it is with the Korean cuisine that makes it spicy. There are combinations of ingredients that Koreans use to achieve the signature spicy and flavorful taste of these Korean dishes.
The most common and traditional Korean ingredient that we can find in almost every spicy Korean food is the spicy gochujang (고추장 | red chili paste) and the gochugaru (고춧가루 | red pepper flakes). Korean recipes certainly level up, and of course, become spicy.
The spicy dishes above are usual in Korean cuisine, but you can make these in your home country too. Try out the spicy gochujang, or some chili powder in your own take on Korean dishes and see how different a dish becomes, making it more delicious!
Buying these spicy Korean dishes, or making them yourself can be a lot easier if you can speak Korean. Did you know that it’s possible to learn the language and have a 3-minute conversation in just 90 days? If you haven’t heard of it yet, we’ll tell you more about our online courses here!
Do you have a favorite spicy Korean food that isn’t on this list? Please share your thoughts about it in the comments below!