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The Definitive Guide To Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun

Samyang Foods Carbe Buldak Bokkeummyun

THE RAMEN RATER SPICY PACK! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

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!

  • UPDATE: 12/21/2018 – Added new 10,000SHU Hek Buldak Bokkeummyun & Buldak Bokkeummyun Gyoza Dumplings
  • UPDATE: 4/1/2018 – Added Jjang Buldak Bokkeummyun and Squid Snack
  • UPDATE: 1/8/2018 – Added Carbo Buldak Bokkeummyun
  • UPDATE – 12.18.2017 – Mala is NOT 4x Spicy  !!
  • UPDATE – 09.07.2017 – Added Buldak Bokkeummyun Mala variety

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

Mala Buldak Bokkeummyun is NOT 4x Spicy !!

SPECIAL STATEMENT AS OF 12/19/2017: It has come to my attention that many places/people are under the impression that this variety is considered to be ‘Samyang Foods 4x Spicy Buldak Bokkeummyun.’ This is definitely NOT the case. Original Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun is 4,404SHU, 2x Spicy is 8,706SHU. I have been informed by Samyang Foods that Samyang Foods Mala Buldak Bokkeummyun is 2,700SHU – which is far less spicy than the original Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun. Sellers claiming this product as Samyang Foods 4x Spicy Buldak Bokkeummyun – this is misleading and untrue. I’ve mentioned in the past that I would love to try a Samyang Foods 4x Spicy Buldak Bokkeummyun, however NO SUCH PRODUCT EXISTS at the time of this update.
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

 

Carbo HOT Chicken Flavor / Carbo Buldak Bokkeummyun ‘ SHU 2,600 * Launched December 2017

Carbo is a variety celebrating the billionth serving of Buldak Bokkeummyun sold. At first, the thought crossed my mind that Carbo was referring to lower carbs; a health conscious version perhaps. This is actually short for carbonara. I asked the company about whether is contained pork or was HALAL. As of January 8th, 2018, it is not HALAL certified but will be soon. Also, neither this nor any of the Buldak Bokkeummyun range contains pork or pork products as mentioned by the company. Full review here

Jjajang HOT Chicken Flavor / Jjajang Buldak Bokkeummyun – SHU 1,920 * Launched March 2018

Jjajang debuted March of 2018. It is on the lower end of the spectrum as far as spiciness goes in the Buldak Bokkeummyun series, however it has a very good flavor. Jjajang is a spicy black bean sauce and this one also includes vegetables such as peas. Here’s the full review and a mukbang video.

Korean Updated 2X Spicy HOT Chicken Flavor Ramen / 핵불닭볶음면 / Hack Buldak Bokkueummyun / Launch 2018.12 / SHU 10,000

Recently I saw something about a new Buldak Bokkeummyun in the Korean Samyang Foods instagram. I asked about it and was told it was just coming back. What? Well, the 2x was advertised as for a ‘limited time’ and apparently, it was in South Korea. They brough it back December 3rd, 2018 – however this time it’s 10,000 SHU. This link will take you to the review which contains unboxing, cooking, mukbang, and a special holiday recipe.

SNACKS

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

Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun Hot Chicken Flavor Squid

Dried squid is a popular Asian snack and this variety packs the heat of original Buldak Bokkeummyun. Here’s the full review.

Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun Hot Chicken Flavor Gyoza Dumpling

U heard about this one and was very interested. I found out it was available north of the border in Canada. We go there pretty often, but it took searching on four trips to find it. These are frozen section spicy little dumplings full of Buldak Bokkeummyun spiciness and flavor. They pretty good and I did this review where I paired them with the Stew Type – check it out!

 

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.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Additions To Instant Noodles 2013

I eat instant noodles. Every day. As of writing this list, I’ve reviewed 1,219 different varieties of instant noodles. Many people ask me if I get sick of instant noodles. Part of the reason I always say no is that I add things to my noodles to make them a more complete meal after I’ve reviewed them. I have seen quite a few lists online purporting to ‘hack’ or ‘pimp’ your ramen. Well, I’m not going to say that you will be able program it or hire it out, but it should be a bit more enjoyable and well-rounded. With that, here are my top ten favorite things to add to instant noodles for 2013.

#10 – Nuts & Seeds

Recently, I reviewed a variety made in Nepal that mentioned eating it crushed and raw. This reminded me of snack mixes from India which contain a variety of nuts and seeds and gave it a try. It actually was quite good! What’s more, I’ve found that almonds go well in soupy noodles, and crushed peanuts atop varieties that don’t have any broth.

#9: Peanut Butter

Have you ever gotten some noodles that are just too spicy? Want to add a little protein and heartiness to a thin broth? Peanut butter in small amounts can work really well for this. I’ve used it in South Korean ramyun to cool down the heat before and it works quite well. Just remember – start by stirring in a little at a time as it can overwhelm the other flavors if too much is used.

#8: Pickled Ginger

I found pickled ginger to be to my liking the first time I tried Japanese yakisoba at a restaurant, so I sought it out and found it at the store. It’s got a nice little added crunch to it and a sharp flavor that adds well to Indonesian mi goreng varieties, Thai varieties and of course Japanese yakisoba.

#7: Hot Peppers

Whereas peanut butter calms down heat, chili peppers just ratchet it up higher. I usually like to get Fresno chili peppers (often referred to as ‘red jalapenos). They have a decent heat and the flesh is reminiscent of red bell pepper. Other pepper are great too of course – jalapenos either fresh or canned are good, Thai Sun peppers, etc. I usually will get a few of them and slice thin and toss in the freezer.

#6: Hot Sauces

I started doing The Ramen Rater thing in 2002, but quit after 60 reviews. I embarked on a journey into the world of hot sauces which was quite enjoyable and started The Sauce Rater website, which alas is now no longer. I turned back to instant noodles in 2010 after over 250 sauce reviews and finding that most hot sauces were just vinegar, peppers and salt (basically it got boring). I decided to try making my own varieties and had some good luck. Some I found that were quite good you can find at the store or online would be Melinda’s Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce – has a heat from the two main ingredients that constantly goes back and forth between the two which is nice. One I use regularly is called Dua Belibis, a variety from Indonesia. It’s very hot but sweet as well. The one I use every day is called Ashanti Louisiana Hot Sauce – cheap and does the trick.

#5: Fish

Shrimp and crab are great to use, but I want to focus on fish cake. Fish cake is fish that’s been ground up, some things added and then cooked, so all you need to do is heat it up. In the above picture, you can see narutomaki on the left. Used primarily in Japanese cuisine, it has a nice look, sweetness and slightly rubbery texture which is vaguely like calamari. In the center is kamaboko. Kamaboko is used in Japanese and South Korean dishes a lot and has the same kind of chewiness, but less of the sweetness. Finally, I would recommend seeking out Busan fish cake. It comes in many different shapes and is a great compliment to South Korean jjampong. As a side note, I tried Bai Top Shell (sea snails) earlier this year in a cold noodle recipe that was really quite good.

#4: Vegetables

Vegetables are easy to source and easy to prep and toss in the freezer. Of all the veggies out there, I’m definitely partial to onions. Sweet onions can be prepped and frozen, then added to a bowl of noodles to add a little extra flavor. Green onions are a traditional addition to ramen and pair nicely. Herbs go well too – cilantro (coriander) and sweet basil can be a nice addition and provide authenticity.  You really can’t go wrong with vegetables, although potatoes rarely fit in.

#3: Meat

One thing almost all instant varieties are lacking is meat. It gives a boost of protein and other nutrients. I have a really great piece of advice I recommend to anyone who is going to be enjoying a nightly bowl of instant noodles. I go to a supermarket that specializes in South Korean foods. You can buy meats that have been prepped for Korean BBQ; they’re generally sliced thin as bacon. What’s great about this is that it’s cheap and easy to bag up and freeze – a $10 package of beef or pork makes 12-17 bags of meat. All you do it take it out to thaw and saute it up with some veggies and put with your noodles. By the way bacon goes well also.

#2: Cheese

Cheese is commonly used in South Korean ramyun, but it works extremely well melted into many other varieties. A creamy chicken broth can be achieved with a simple slice of processed cheese. Not only is cheddar good – Swiss actually works well too as does mozzarella – they get stringy and chewy and taste great.

#1: Eggs

I’ve been putting eggs with instant noodles as far back as I can remember. It turns out that the original instant noodle invented in 1958 has a dimple in the middle of it. What for? So you can crack and egg on top as it cooks! There’s nothing like egg at add some heartiness and warmth to a bowl of noodles. Fried noodles with runny yolks are excellent on Indonesian mi goreng for breakfast. Drop an egg in a simmering pot of South Korean ramyun in the last 30-45 seconds of cooking. Hard boiled goes well with Japanese ramen. Definitely my favorite.

That’s it! Got any you like to add that weren’t mentioned? I’ll give ’em a try and I’ll mention you if they make next year’s list!