Are you ready to take your taste buds on an exhilarating adventure through the world of fiery Korean noodle flavors?
In our quest to discover the spiciest Korean noodles of 2023, we’ve scoured the market for the most mouth-numbing, sweat-inducing, and utterly delicious instant ramen.
From one of the spiciest instant noodle brands in the world, MAMEE’s, to something a little more tolerable like Samyang’s 2x Spicy noodles, you’re in for a culinary treat!
Join us on this tantalizing journey as we rank and explore these spicy sensations that are not for the faint of heart. Whether you’re a spice enthusiast or a daring culinary explorer, this list is your passport to a world of intense heat and irresistible flavors. Let’s get to it!
What Makes Korean Noodles Unique?
Instant Korean ramen noodles, often referred to as Ramyeon, are a beloved and iconic part of Korean cuisine.
They differ from Japanese instant ramen noodles in several ways, including flavor profiles, ingredients, and preparation methods. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what sets Korean Ramyeon apart before looking at the spiciest options out there.
1. Flavor Profiles
Korean Ramyeon tends to feature bold, spicy, and savory flavors. These flavors are characterized by their complex and often fiery taste, with ingredients like gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes), gochujang (red chili paste), and soy sauce commonly used.
Japanese instant ramen, on the other hand, offers a broader range of flavors, including soy sauce-based shoyu, miso, tonkotsu (pork bone), and shio (salt) broths.
Japanese ramen noodles focus on umami-rich, savory flavors, with an emphasis on the balance of ingredients like soy sauce, miso paste, and bonito (fish) stock.
2. Noodle Texture
Korean instant noodles tend to be thicker and chewier compared to their Japanese counterparts.
This texture allows them to hold up well in spicy and savory broths. They’re often made with wheat flour, potato starch, or sweet potato starch, resulting in a satisfying chewiness.
Japanese instant ramen noodles come in various thicknesses and textures, with some being thin and delicate (as seen in ramen dishes like Sapporo miso ramen) and others being more substantial (common in tonkotsu ramen).
3. Broth and Soup Base
Korean Ramyeon often boasts a rich, hearty broth that’s spicy and full of flavor. Ingredients like garlic, ginger, and vegetables are frequently used to enhance the broth’s complexity.
Additionally, toppings like kimchi, seaweed, and green onions are common additions.
Japanese instant ramen typically offers a milder and smoother broth. Shoyu ramen features soy sauce-based broth, while miso ramen incorporates miso paste for a more robust flavor. Tonkotsu ramen showcases a creamy, pork-based broth.
Toppings may include sliced chashu pork, nori (seaweed), and menma (fermented bamboo shoots).
4. Condiments and Garnishes
Ramyeon is often customized with various condiments and garnishes. Popular choices include adding a fried egg, cheese, slices of American-style cheese, or even slices of processed meat like spam.
Japanese ramen typically includes toppings like dehydrated vegetables, dried seaweed, and sometimes a packet of flavored oil or sauce to enhance the broth’s aroma.
While you can certainly customize Japanese ramen with your favorite ingredients, it often requires fewer additional components than Korean Ramyeon.
5. Spiciness Level
Many Korean ramen varieties are known for their spiciness, ranging from mildly spicy to extremely hot. Some, like the Buldak series, are famous for their intense heat, making them a popular choice for spicy food enthusiasts.
Japanese instant ramen tends to offer milder, more balanced flavors. While there are spicy options available, they are generally less fiery compared to Korean ramyeon.
How Spice Is Ranked?
The spiciness of instant Korean Ramyeon noodles, or any spicy food for that matter, is typically ranked using a scale that measures the intensity of the spiciness or heat. There are several widely recognized scales used to assess spiciness, with the Scoville Heat Scale being the most common.
The Scoville Heat Scale is a measurement of the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical compound responsible for the sensation of spiciness in chili peppers.
The scale is named after its creator, Wilbur Scoville, who developed it in 1912. It measures spiciness in Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
Spice levels in instant Korean Ramyeon noodles are typically determined using a similar process. Manufacturers use chili pepper extracts or powders to add spiciness to the broth or seasoning packets.
The concentration of these chili pepper ingredients is measured on the Scoville Heat Scale, and this information is often provided on the packaging.
Ranking Spice Levels
The spiciness of instant noodles is ranked based on the concentration of chili pepper extracts or powders used in the product.
- Mild Spice (0 to 5,000 SHU)
Instant ramen noodles labeled as mild typically have a Scoville Heat Unit rating of 0 to 5,000 SHU.
At this level, the spiciness is relatively subtle and enjoyable for most individuals, including those who are not accustomed to spicy foods. The heat is mild enough to provide a hint of spiciness without overwhelming the palate.
For reference, a Jalapeno, Mirasol, and Poblano pepper all range between 2,500-5,000 SHU.
- Medium Spice (5,000 to 20,000 SHU)
Medium-spice instant ramen falls within the range of 5,000 to 20,000 SHU.
This level of spiciness offers a more noticeable kick without being excessively hot. It’s suitable for people who enjoy some heat in their food but prefer not to be overwhelmed. Flavor varieties like kimchi or miso ramen often fall into this category.
A Serrano pepper, Manzano pepper, and Chile de Arbol pepper range between 5,000-20, 000 SHU.
- Hot/Spicy (20,000 to 50,000 SHU)
Instant ramen labeled as hot or spicy tends to have a Scoville rating ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 SHU.
This is where things get notably spicy, and the heat becomes more prominent. These ramen options often incorporate a higher concentration of chili pepper extracts or powders.
Cayenne, Tabasco, and Aji Charapita pepper all range between 20,000 to 50,000 SHU.
- Extra Hot/Extreme Spicy (50,000+ SHU)
For those who crave intense heat, extra hot or extremely spicy instant ramen goes beyond 50,000 SHU.
These ramen varieties are seriously spicy and are designed for individuals who enjoy a fiery dining experience.
Flavors like “Fire Noodle Challenge” or “2X Spicy” ramen fall into this category. Some extremely spicy ramen can even exceed 2 million SHU, making them exceptionally hot and not recommended for the faint of heart.
Now, there are hundreds of different pepper varieties that fall into the 50,000+ SHU category. Well-known options include Thai Hot Peppers, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Bird’s Eye Peppers, Ghost Peppers, and the Carolina Reaper.
7 Spiciest Korean Noodles Ranked 
Prepare your taste buds for an intense journey as we dive into the fiery world of Korean noodles.
In this list, we’ll explore the spiciest and most tantalizing instant ramen that 2023 has to offer.
|MAMEE’s Daebak Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles
|MAMEE’s Daebak Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles are an extreme culinary adventure, boasting a jaw-dropping 1,000,000 SHU. This fiery dish is not for the faint-hearted, delivering intense heat with savory chicken flavor.
|Bulmawang Ramen is a fiery delight with a SHU level of 14,444. It uses the Carolina Reaper Pepper, boasting intense heat and smoky undertones that make it a spicy adventure for the daring palate.
|Samyang Foods 3x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon
|These noodles deliver an intense experience with a Scoville rating of 13,200 SHU. This ramen is for serious spice lovers, offering a smoky and bold flavor that will push your taste buds to the limit.
|Samyang Buldak Jjajang
|Samyang Buldak Jjajang delivers a fiery kick with a Scoville rating of 12,000 SHU. It offers a spicy journey with a balanced flavor profile, making it an enticing choice for those who relish both heat and taste.
|Paldo Teumsae Ramyeon
|Paldo Teumsae Ramyeon delivers intense, savory spiciness with a Scoville Rating of 9,413 SHU. This ramen appeals to those who prefer saltier, fierier flavors, making it a bold and memorable choice.
|Paldo Volcano Chicken Noodle
|Paldo Volcano Chicken Noodle delivers mouth-burning heat with 9000 SHU. It’s extremely intense while maintaining a delightful roasted chicken flavor with a sweet aftertaste.
|Samyang Foods 2x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon
|Samyang 2x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon delivers intense heat at 8,808 SHU. Sweetness gives way to fiery spice, creating a flavorful but challenging adventure for spice aficionados.
1. MAMEE’s Daebak Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles
MAMEE’s Daebak Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles redefine the boundaries of spice. With a scorching 1,000,000 SHU, these noodles are not for the faint-hearted. The packaging boasts authenticity, from the premium Korean black noodles to the absence of artificial coloring.
This fiery dish combines the searing heat of ghost peppers with the savory goodness of Korean chicken flavor, creating a culinary adventure like no other.
The experience begins with the simple preparation of the noodles, but the real adventure starts with that first bite. The ghost pepper sauce unleashes a torrent of heat that’s both intense and addictive. Your senses are overwhelmed – eyes watering, nose running, and face flushed. The savory chicken flavor somehow persists amidst the fiery chaos.
But it’s not just your mouth that’s in for a wild ride. The heat in these noodles isn’t satisfied with just your taste buds; it continues its fiery journey into your stomach, causing discomfort that lingers long after the last bite.
It’s an experience that transcends the ordinary, leaving you both exhilarated and apprehensive.
For those who dare to venture into the realm of extreme spiciness, MAMEE’s Daebak Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles are a must-try. Just be prepared for the challenge, as it’s a culinary adventure that will test your limits and redefine your perception of spicy.
2. Bulmawang Ramen
The Bulmawang Ramen, aptly dubbed “The Devil of Fire Ramen,” is not for the faint-hearted.
With a daring Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) level of 14,444 SHU, it claims its place among the spiciest Korean ramen noodles available in the world. Brace yourself; this is a culinary adventure like no other.
At first glance, the packaging forewarns you of the fiery inferno contained within. The rich red broth and the tantalizing spicy aroma that wafts from the bowl are enough to make your taste buds tingle with anticipation.
As you take your first bite, you’ll feel the unmistakable heat of the Carolina Reaper Pepper, one of the world’s spiciest peppers with a staggering.
The flavor profile is not solely about the intense heat; it boasts complex, smoky undertones that enhance the overall taste experience.
The noodles are deliciously chewy, providing a delightful contrast to the fiery broth. While the spice level is undoubtedly extreme, there’s an addictive quality to it that keeps you coming back for more, even as your taste buds dance on the edge of the inferno.
3. Samyang Foods 3x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon
Brace yourself for a fiery adventure with this ramen, boasting a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating of 13,200. Samyang Foods is renowned for its spicy noodles, and this edition takes the heat to an entirely new level.
As soon as you take your first bite, you’ll encounter an intense wave of spiciness that doesn’t wait around.
It’s like a rollercoaster for your taste buds, and you better be prepared for the ride! If you thought the 2x Spicy Korean Ramen was a challenge, this one takes it up several notches.
The flavor profile is bold and smoky, with a fiery kick that intensifies as you slurp your way through the noodles. Each bite leaves you simultaneously craving more and reaching for a glass of water.
If you’re an adventurous spice enthusiast, the Samyang Foods 3x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon is a must-try experience that pushes the boundaries of your spice tolerance.
4. Samyang Buldak Jjajang
Samyang Buldak Jjajang takes the heat to another level with a Scoville rating of 12,000 SHU.
This full-sized version of their fiery noodles promises an unforgettable experience. Unlike some ultra-spicy dishes, this one strikes a balance between heat and flavor.
The initial bite ignites your senses, and with each subsequent mouthful, the spice builds. Yet, the taste remains surprisingly enjoyable, not overwhelmed by the heat.
It’s a culinary adventure for spice enthusiasts who appreciate a nuanced flavor profile alongside the intense burn. If you’re seeking a satisfying challenge with a tantalizing twist, Samyang’s Buldak Jjajang deserves a place on your must-try list.
5. Paldo Teumsae Ramyeon
Paldo Teumsae Ramyeon offers an exhilarating culinary adventure for those who crave saltier, spicier flavors.
Unlike some spicy Korean ramen with a hint of sweetness, this ramen goes all in on fiery spiciness.
Its vibrant red pepper aroma tantalizes your senses from the first whiff, and the taste delivers a robust, lingering spiciness that intensifies as you savor each bite.
With a Scoville Rating of 9,413 SHU, this ramen is not for the faint-hearted but promises an unforgettable dining experience for spice aficionados.
Whether you’re seeking a break from the norm or simply reveling in bold, peppery sensations, Paldo Teumsae Ramyeon will leave an impression that’s as spicy as it is delicious.
6. Paldo Volcano Chicken Noodle
Paldo Volcano Chicken Noodle is not your average instant ramen. It earns its name with a fiery heat that’s not for the faint-hearted.
While there’s no official Scoville rating, it falls somewhere around 9,000 SHU. This ramen doesn’t just claim to be spicy; it delivers on that promise.
The heat intensifies with every bite, creating a sensation akin to a volcanic eruption in your mouth.
Despite the intense spiciness, the noodles maintain a delicious flavor profile, with hints of roasted chicken and a subtle sweetness.
If you’re a fan of extreme spice and bold flavors, Paldo Volcano Chicken Noodle is a must-try. Just be prepared to handle the heat, as this ramen lives up to its volcanic name.
7. Samyang Foods 2x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon
Samyang 2x Spicy Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon is a formidable contender, boasting a Scoville Rating of 8,808 SHU.
While its position may be close to last on our list today, it is by no means for the faint-hearted.
Initially sweet, the sauce gradually unleashes an intense heat that leaves you in spicy ecstasy.
Be prepared for profuse sweating, fiery nostrils, and an unforgettable culinary experience. This ramen masterfully balances classic flavors with a heightened level of spiciness, offering a mouthwatering and torturous delight for spice enthusiasts.
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