Do you think you can build up your tolerance to spicy foods?
Studies have shown that you can learn to stomach higher levels of spiciness over time but I can’t seem to go beyond a certain point.
Actually, I take that back. I can eat a bite of something ridiculously spicy but I won’t enjoy it. It’s just too painful!
Some say that the pain is what drives them to eat spicy foods. But I don’t like how my mouth goes numb and my tongue feels like it is going to burn off.
Earlier this week, I met up with some friends over tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) at a new restaurant in a trendy neighborhood. My family usually makes this dish with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) rather than drenching it in the most spicy of sauces known to human life.
My friends already ordered before I arrived. They chose hard boiled eggs, fish cakes, sausages, noodles, and pumpkin as additional ingredients to the cabbage, rice cakes, and greens. Once the stew started bubbling, we all dug in.
I tried my best to avoid the fish cakes and sausages and fished out some noodles, rice cakes, and vegetables.
The sauce was so spicy that I had to keep gulping down water. I barely was able to finish this plate. Then I had to call it quits.
I couldn’t think clearly. My brain hurt. My lips burned.
I wanted a bowl of rice desperately.
I looked around the crowded restaurant and was amazed at how nonchalantly fellow customers were eating the spicy rice cake stew. They were laughing and chatting. They even vigorously mixed in a bowl of rice to soak up all that spicy sauce so none was wasted.
I may be missing out on something fantastic but I think I’m going to continue to steer clear of extremely spicy foods.