Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snack Randoms: Why you trying to kill me, Korea?

So the other day, some friends and I arranged to have dinner at a Korean restaurant. I arrived at the destination a few minutes earlier than them, so I decided to walk around a nearby market. I saw that a brand of flavored seaweed that I liked was on sale, so I decided to grab a bag. Next to that bin, I saw bags of different snacks. It turned out that these were bags of "fried green peppers". Since they were of the same brand as the seaweed, I decided to pick up a bag of that as well. After a delightful dinner, followed by some delicious shaved ice, my friends and I parted ways and went home. When I got home I looked forward to opening this bag up:

The peppers in the picture look delicious, like little fried squid or fried crab or something. I then proceeded to open the bag. The first pepper I pulled out reminded me a bit of dried squid or something along those lines, covered in some sort of sugar or grainy substance. I ate it and the flavor was pretty good. It was sweet and salty and it had a nice crunchy texture. However, seconds after my tongue and throat started feeling a burning sensation. I wondered, foolishly, if I should try another pepper to confirm that it was spicy. My thoughts were confirmed and I began feeling a somewhat burning sensation in my stomach. I started to wonder why these green peppers were so spicy. Of course, peppers are spicy, but why did these little buggers sneak up on you after you swallowed them? Upon further analysis I found this:

Those lighter bits you see in the middle are the seeds of the pepper. As many people know, the seeds are one of the spiciest parts of the pepper, and these things were hiding a lot of them. This is a pretty light example, as some of them were filled from bottom to top with seeds. I discovered that if you removed that part from this snack, there was far less irritation and the experience, while less adventurous, was much more manageable. The words "fried green peppers" really should have tipped me off that this would be spicy. If those words weren't enough, the bag was color coded with red, and most of the time we know red means hot. Regardless, I learned the hard way that these things were hot, but if you took out the seeds in the core, they became much easier to eat.

I would say that the best part of this was sharing this with some students and not telling them what they were eating until they had started chewing. They guessed things like, "Wait, are these onions or something?" and I would respond with, "Don't worry about it." I'm an excellent tutor.

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