March 14, 2017

The Definitive Guide To Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

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I started doing top ten lists over 5 years ago. So one list that’s been increasingly popular over the years has been The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Spiciest Instant Noodles Of All Time series. Debate over which is hotter than the other has been going on for a very long time. Finally, one thing’s for sure, South Korean varieties dominate this list.

The Definitive Guide To Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

One variety that has captivated the world is Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun. The ‘Fire Noodle Challenge’ is something of legend; people will try to eat a bowl of the spicy noodles as fast as they can and then (usually in a YouTube video), the reaction to the heat is seen, ranging from silence to screaming, calmness to dripping sweat. 

The viral mania of this challenge has finally prompted me to release a special series on the varieties and some info on them you might not know. I have included a boatload of information in this post – check out the video as well as all the information below it!

Video Presentation

This is a presentation I’ve made including lots of informational as well as me taking down a bowl of the 2x Spicy noodles.

Varieties

HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen / 불닭볶음면 / Buldak Bokkueummyun / Launch 2012.4.16 / SHU 4,404

The original ‘Fire Noodle.’ This comes in packs, bowls and cups. The bowls are commonly used in the popular YouTube ‘Fire Noodle Challenge’ videos. Full review

HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen Cheese / 치즈불닭볶음면 / Cheese Buldak Bokkueummyun Launch 2016.3 / SHU 2,323

Significantly less fiery than the original Buldak Bokkeummyun, the cheese version includes a sachet of cheese powder. Available in pack, cup and bowl. Originally was sold in packs with a black background, however people mistook it for the original version. A more ‘cheese colored’ background was then chosen. Full review

HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen Stew Type / 불닭볶음탕면 / Buldak Bokkueumtangmyun Launch 2016.8 / SHU 4,705

The ‘Stew Type’ has (you guessed it) broth. These are available in packs and bowls. I have seen many people make the original variety incorrectly and enjoy it as a soup, but this one is meant to have a broth. Full review

HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen Cool/Ice Type / 쿨불닭볶음면 / Cool/Ice Buldak Bokkueummyun Launch 2016.8 / SHU 4,404

I believe this is only available in packs. Originally called ‘Cool,’ the folks at Samyang decided it might be a good idea to market it as ‘Ice’ outside of South Korea so nobody got confused. Full review

2X Spicy HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen / 핵불닭볶음면 / Hack Buldak Bokkueummyun / Launch 2016.1 / SHU 8,808

A double-spicy version of original Buldak Bokkeummyun. These are available in packs and bowls. They mention that they are a ‘limited edition,’ but I couldn’t find out when they would be discontinued. Full review

HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen Curry / 커리불닭볶음면 / Curry Buldak Bokkueummyun   Launch 2016.12 / SHU 3,810

The most recent (as of this guide’s release) is Curry. It is available in packs and bowls. Less spicy than the original Buldak Bokkeummyun, it has a nice curry flavor to it. Full review

MALA BULDAK BOKKEUMMYEON (HOT CHICKEN FLAVOR RAMEN MALA)
This is a differentiated ‘Mala(numbing and spicy)’ flavor of BULDAK BOKKEUMMYEON(HOT CHICKEN FLAVOR RAMEN).
It features a spicy numbing stir-fry noodle with Chinese ‘Mala’ sauce.
It’s a combination of numbing spicy taste and the original flavor of Hot Chicken. This one has some spiciness from Sichuan pepper to appeal to Chinese tastes. Full review

Hot Chicken Ramen Snack / 부셔먹는 라면스낵불닭 / Busyeomeongneun Ramyeonseunaek
Buldak / Launch 2016.6

Snack noodles in South Korea are very popular. These are crushed while still in the bag and then the sachet is taken out and sprinkled into the bag. The bag is closed and then you shake it to disperse the flavor. Alternately, there is a cooking instruction on the package as well. Full review

ZZALDDUCK SNACK / 짤떡 / Zzaldduck / Launch 2014.12

These are short tubes with a crunchy texture. They have a sweet and spicy character to them much like a very light Buldak Bokkeummyun seasoning. They resemble macaroni or penne pasta. Full review

Correct Preparation Of Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

1) Put the noodles and flakes into 600ml boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
2) Please remove the water from noodles (reserve 8 spoons of water (120ml = 15ml * 8 or 1/2 cup)) and put liquid soup Into noodles, stir-fry 30 seconds.
3) Add flakes, stir well, and serve.

Interview

I was fortunate to be able to interview Amelia Kwak / Overseas sales support team / Brand manager on the subject of Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun line of products.

THE RAMEN RATER> How did you originally come to decide to produce a super spicy instant noodle?

SAMYANG FOODS> Kim Jung-Su, the president of our company, noticed people crowded in a restaurant which served spicy chickens and had an idea to develop a new stir-type of instant noodle. Our marketing and R&D team tried more than 1,200 spicy chicken dishes and 2 tons of spicy sauce to find deliciously spicy tastes. We finally discovered the best portion of spicy sauce and launched ‘Buldak Bokkeummyun’.

TRR> What about the risks in producing a product that many will not be able to handle due to spicy level?

SAMYANG FOODS> Actually, Koreans like spicy tastes so we thought there’s customer needs of spicy ramen so we thought many people like it. However, overseas consumers can’t eat spicy food well, thus we were a little worried about it. Despite of that problem, overseas people also like Buldak. In my opinion, they seem to enjoy the challenge and relieve their stress when they try it.

TRR> What does Buldak Bokkeummyun mean; what is Korean spicy chicken like?

SAMYANG FOODS> It means a Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen. ‘Bulkdak’ means spicy chicken and ‘Bokkeummyun’ means stirred type of noodles. Korean spicy chicken is literally spicy chicken. In Korea, many restaurants usually cook it with very hot flavor adding red pepper, which is more spicy than general Korean food. So, it is hard to eat even for Korean. We added noodle on hot chicken flavor, so we could make characteristic noodle.

TRR> How did the Fire Noodle Challenge originate?

SAMYANG FOODS> Due to extremely spicy taste, Buldak Bokkeummyun mania were formed at first. Then, diverse recipe has been introduced by them, and spread through some Social Network Service channel especially on YOUTUBE. Also, extremely spicy taste has been issued by the public. Based on this issue, people are still challenging to eat it worldwide.

TRR> Did you expect the level of popularity of this super spicy product?

SAMYANG FOODS> We strongly believed the success of “Buldak Bokkuemmyun” because there had been no this kind of stirred type of instant noodles until 2012. We thought many people who like spicy tastes would be addicted to that tastes as our product is characterized in deliciously spicy.

TRR> How do you measure the SHU – is there a special test and how is the number calculated?

SAMYANG FOODS> SHU is a measurement of the spicy heat of chili peppers. Our R&D center analyzes the component of capsaicin and dehydrocapsaicin which cause spicy tastes in liquid soup. Then, we calculate SHU by standard equation.

TRR> Can you detail exactly how you figure out the SHU a little more? Is spectrometry used? What is the standard formula you mentioned?

SAMYANG FOODS> As I told you, SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) is a measurement of the spicy heat of chili peppers. First, we measure the concentration of capsaicin and dehydrocapsacin by using the HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography). Then, we measure scoville heat units by using the equation below. (Although there is no official rule of calculating SHU, we have used the equation which is generally used.)

SHU = ( Dehydrocapsacin conc. X 0.82 + Capsacin conc. ) X 16
※ Concentration unit = μg/g

TRR> The chicken character has changed from it’s original look. Does the chicken have a name and can you tell a little more about the mascot?
SAMYANG FOODS> Name: HOCHI
Birthday : April 13
Character

  • Addicted to spicy taste.
  • Full of confidence and motivation, but whimsical
    Features:
  • Having the worst fashion sense and dreaming of being a food stylist.
  • A poorly proportioned body
  • Poor at housekeeping
  • Can eat five packs of HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen at a time.

TRR> There have been a lot of people cooking the original Buldak Bokkeummyun with soup instead of as a dry stir noodle. What are the official cooking instructions for cooking the original Buldak Bokkeummyun on the package (for those who can’t read Korea)?

SAMYANG FOODS> Dry stir noodle type is our official cooking instruction
Below is our instruction appeared in our packing material.

1) Put the noodles and flakes into 600ml boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
2) Please remove the water from noodles(remain 8 spoon of water) and put liquid soup Into noodles, stir-fry 30 seconds.
3) Add flakes, stir well, and serve.

TRR> Exactly how many mL 8 spoons of water are?

SAMYANG FOODS> 8 table spoon of water would be approximately 120ml. (15ml per spoon)

TRR> Other than the container, is there a difference between the pack version and the bowl versions?

SAMYANG FOODS> There is little differences in ingredients because we tried best to minimize those differences. However, you can notice small differences because of cooking method. In a case of bowl type, Stir time is skipped so it’s more spicy than pack version. Actually, noodles release starch during stir time so, spicy taste is relatively relived

TRR> Are there new Buldak Bokkeummyun varieties coming soon? Can you share what they might be?

SAMYANG FOODS> We have launched new Buldak Bokkeummyun series. One is Curry Buldak Bokkeummyun (HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen Curry) and other is Hack Buldak Bokkeummyun (2X spicy Hot Chicken flavor Ramen).

Curry Buldak : In curry Bulkdak, taste of curry and original Buldak have been well balanced. However, it is only for foreign consumers, not be sold in Korea yet.

Hack Buldak : Hack Buldak’s SHU is twice as spicy in comparison to buldak. It is a limited edition so we recommend you to try it. I guess it is the most spicy instant noodle in the world.

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for giving my readers the opportunity to find out more about the Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun range!

Nomenclature/Translation/Timeline

Ther Definitive Guide To Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

This list (click to enlarge) was supplied by Samyang Foods.

Mascot

Name: HOCHI (click image to enlarge)
Birthday : April 13
Character

  • Addicted to spicy taste.
  • Full of confidence and motivation, but whimsical
    Features:
  • Having the worst fashion sense and dreaming of being a food stylist.
  • A poorly proportioned body
  • Poor at housekeeping
  • Can eat five packs of HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen at a time.

I want to thank all the great people at Samyang Foods to make this special feature possible, especially Amelia, Taehoon and Joey who helped with making this special series possible. They sent samples and answered so many questions I’ve posed to them kindly.

I also want to thank Colin, a reader from Massachusetts who originally sent me the Ice Type for review, 1theKorea, an eBay seller who was very helpful in sourcing varieties and helping greatly. Moreover, you can find many South Korean instant varieties in his store. Anders and Ji-Min, readers from South Korea for sending some great varieties. Finally, I would like to thank my son Andreas for being so adventurous at the age of 11 to try the 2x spicy. Indeed, spicy food has never been his thing and he ate a big bite and survived! You can see part of the video with us trying the Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun 2x Spicy in the end credits of the above video and our full video in the Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun 2x Spicy review.

4 thoughts on “The Definitive Guide To Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

  1. Spicy Boi

    I’m surprised there’s no comments on here. I think I originally found your site using a sku # from the Buldak Bokkeummyun Mala variety which some folks are saying is the 4x version. I saw you corrected a couple people on another Samyang thread that I read.

    I’m glad I didn’t fall for that hype but i was surprised to not see 4x on the package if they were really pushing that given my small but focused marketing experience.

    This is a useful and helpful guide to knowing which ones to buy and or to look for when you head to the asian market if you’re lucky enough to have one. I’m lucky I came out pretty darn well given that I went into the store without my cellphone and amazon wishlist handy. I did have an idea on what to look for and even as a guy who only knows english Samyang did a very good idea of indicating this stuff is HOT!

    I mentioned on my facebook post that I will be returning to the market with newfound knowledge that I have gained from your website and youtube channel for soups to check out and or try. Things are kind of bleak for me right now, not terrible, simply said having some things to be excited for albeit small can kind of mix up the day. Many people underestimate the true power of simply looking forward to something no matter how small that is.

    All the best!

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Yeah I’m kind of surprised too – it’s one of my most popular posts on the site. Yeah, I thought it interesting about the 4x claim. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely not twice as hot as the Hek Buldak Bokkeummyun.

      – TRR

      Reply
  2. Chillihead

    Only tried the original, 2x, curry and stew (bought the stew by accident as thought was the original) all are amazing, prefer the 2x best but can’t complain with any, the stew accident was actually a nice surprise to have the broth. The cheese I’ve seen and never picked up but hear it’s great as well and always sold out when I go to my local Korean store. Never seen the Mala or Ice versions but at this point don’t think Samyang can make a bad hot chicken flavour

    Reply

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