www.groovekorea.com / June 2014 44 FOOD & DRINK Edited by Shelley DeWees (shelley@groovekorea.com) O nce, when taking a friend to a local agujjim (monkfish) restaurant, we were devastated to find that the red volcanic sludge in the pan was neutral in hotness — the kind-intentioned ajumma had noted our foreignness and gone to great lengths to tone down the heat of this characteristically fiery dish. On another occasion, when some foreign friends were guests on a TV show, the producers behind the scenes urged them to act as if the kimchi was unbearably spicy for their delicate taste buds. This little fiasco was met with peals of laughter from the audience, fur- ther confirming the mythical frailty of the waegookin (foreigner) palette. Some contend Korean food is the spiciest in the world, and, yes, it can certainly raise a grim smile on the red, sweaty face of a hot-food aficionado. Partly because of chips on our shoulders but mostly because we just love spicy food, we launched our Seoul-based crusade: We aimed to test ourselves against the hottest local foods we could find. Knowing this would require a constant flow of beer mixed with soju to soothe our mouths, we set out on a mission to find the single spiciest Korean dish around. Two intrepid tasters torment their taste buds to find the country’s spiciest dish Story and photos by Matt Crawford and Ian Henderson The Korean ring of fire