Thursday, June 13, 2024

If you can't take the heat, keep this out of the kitchen


I was amused, but also concerned, to read this BBC headline:  "Denmark recalls Korean ramen for being too spicy".

Denmark has recalled several spicy ramen noodle products by South Korean company Samyang, claiming that the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers.

. . .

But the maker Samyang says there's no problem with the quality of the food.

"We understand that the Danish food authority recalled the products, not because of a problem in their quality but because they were too spicy," the firm said in a statement to the BBC.

"The products are being exported globally. But this is the first time they have been recalled for the above reason."

It's unknown if any specific incidents in Denmark had prompted authorities there to take action.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said it had assessed the levels of capsaicin in a single packet to be "so high that they pose a risk of the consumer developing acute poisoning".

There's more at the link.

Actually, I can understand the Danes' concern.  I regularly buy various flavors of ramen noodles, because both my wife and I enjoy them as quick snacks.  Some of the Korean offerings have proved to be so hot that I got heartburn after only one or two mouthfuls, and one left me with a very tender feeling in my chest, almost as if I'd been punched there.  I don't like super-spicy foods anyway, and I've learned to avoid the so-called "red and black label" Korean offerings as just too spicy for my palate.

I wonder if we're seeing with Korean ramen noodles what we've already seen in the so-called "hot sauce" market?  Ever since some hot sauce manufacturers realized that there were individuals who'd try anything once, they've been competing to make their sauce hotter than anyone else's.  There are innumerable videos on YouTube showing a "hot sauce challenge".  Some of them are downright scary, judging by the looks on their participants' faces.  I get particularly worried when I see kids being suckered into these contests.  I suspect their less developed bodies might suffer real injury if the spice levels are too high.

Be that as it may, I'll continue to avoid red-and-black-packaged ramen noodles.  I've already had two heart attacks, and I don't want a third!



audeojude said...

I don't like the super hot spicy stuff but I keep a couple cases of instant Vietnamese pho soup packs and other rice noodle base ones of Korean or Japanese based dishes around. I am on a gluten free diet so its a little harder with the selection. However if your willing to do a make it yourself Asian style soups... get some of the gluten free ramen noodles sold at Costco. Or just some basic rice noodles available anywhere. one of the many varieties of instant dashi seasoning available in Asian food stores or on amazon. and cut up some fresh bell pepper, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, or any other vegetables you like. Throw a few frozen shrimp in, thin sliced chicken, beef or pork. Makes a really great pho/dashi/miso ish Asian soup.. adjust ingredients with spices for endless variety.

This is the basic recipe for doing hotpot also. We got a cheap nonstick two compartment pot off amazon with a glass lid and use a electric burner sitting on the table to do a couple flavour soup bases in to do family hotpot's once in a while. again endless variation. no one way is the right way.. just have fun with it.

Mind your own business said...

I used to think I could tolerate (and enjoy) spicy food. Then a Malaysian student made a bunch of us dinner. I tried to finish, but I just couldn't. This was circa 1975.

Now my eldest son enjoys spicy food, and has tolerances that far outstrip mine. He grows his own peppers and makes some of his own sauces, but he'll eat stuff with ghost peppers and reapers that I can't even start.

Unknown said...

what is dangerously hot for one person is comfortable for another

but in terms of making it hot:

David Lang

Birdchaser said...

I have fun with people who say they love hot food, I carefully pull a Carolina Reaper pepper off the plant & give them a little slice. Hilarious. I don't eat them I just grow them.

Javahead said...

My wife and I love spicy food and keep a stash of the "regular" spicy ones in our pantry.

Their most spicy are a bit of a reach - we *can* eat them, but they're spicy enough we don't enjoy them as much as the milder - but still very spicy - variants.

But banning them? As long as they're labeled "extra spicy" (or "XXX Spicy" or ...) what's the problem. If you don't like them, just don't buy them. And most of the better brands have the spices in a separate packet - just put in as much, or as little, as suits your palate.

Aren't the Danes supposed to be the descendants of bold vikings, famed for their brutality and rapacious raiding habits? Have they really fallen far enough that they are incapacitated by a little bit of chili?

LL said...

Spice is the variety of life... Of course, it's not worth dying for.

Anonymous said...

I was at a Mongolian Barbecue place, where you load your choices onto a plate for them to cook. The bowl of hot sauce had a sign in front of it, warning people to not try to be a hero, and listing the recommended amounts (beginner, somewhat adventurous, etc.).

I had experience with foreign spices, so I took a small amount.
During the meal, I looked around, and half of the men there were pushed back from the table, red-faced and sweating, and their food half-eaten.

BillB said...

Fifty years ago, we had 3 Danes in our Air Force pilot training class, I took them to Taco Bell. Even without any extra hot sauce, they found the tacos to be almost too spicy. Real spicy Korean foods might be poisonous to them! Or at least cause a lot of excessive heartburn.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of "Nashville hot chicken"? It's long (about a century) been a local thing, and has gotten wider fame lately. Unless you REALLY love heat, don't bother. Even the so-called mild is too hot for most folks.
I used to eat a lot of hot foods, and used to grow habaneros to make my own custom sauce. I must have grown old; I can't handle that anymore, and there are peppers much hotter than habaneros now.
--Tennessee Budd

Anonymous said...

Calling it 'potentially poisonous' is beyond retarded. It's not some niche product, it's a popular ramen product. It's only poisonous in the sense that it's seriously uncomfortable for someone who isn't accustomed to spicy food! Newsflash, Tabasco sauce is too hot for some people! It can be dangerous for elderly people who have no tolerance for spicy food! Is it poisonous, too? Freaking Danes. This is gonna be a meme for *years*.

Old NFO said...

I prefer 'taste' over hot.

Anonymous said...

There’s hot and “OMFG! I can’t taste anything hot.”
I prefer a level *just* below that.
Recalling spicy food because of spice levels? STUPID beyond words!

JC 2 said...

The 3x Spicy is apparently a meagre 12,000 or so SHU, so VERY VERY tame for chillis. As a consumer of Carolina Reaper for 5 years, I can say YOU MUST acclimatise to it or you will suffer big time, with possible hospital time. I've had Reaper with Capsaicin at a rated 16 million SHU and it hurts somewhat, but it's not risky unless you're a chilli noob.
I guess the Danes are pussies!

Anonymous said...

You can halve or third the portion of the spice packet to cut down the zing. I saw the foil packets that accumulate to use for later cooking or making a hot drink in the wintertime, where that zing is better appreciated. Another benefit of cutting down the portion - much less MSG and sodium consumed in one sitting.

I do like spicy food but only to a point. Its fir flavor, not accepting a challenge.

Anonymous said...

I would put that shit on the package front. "Warning, contents so hot only 7 men in the entire country can eat it. Everyone else will die!"

Mogrith said...

It's not Raman but it's Spicy stuff.

The hot ones a weekly interview while eating increasingly spicy wings. Good interviewer that does his research.

Beware the Gordan Ramsey interview talk about fowl mouthed...