Red Hot Rice Cakes!

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.

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