If you’ve been on YouTube at all in the past five years, you’re probably aware of the “Fire Noodle Challenge.” If you’ve somehow missed this, “fire noodle” refers a brand of Korean ramen that’s so spicy people consider eating it a “challenge,” and have therefore been doing it, on camera, because the Internet.
Since the very first Fire Noodle Challenge video graced the Internet in 2014, many brave vloggers, bloggers, and bored people with web cams have attempted it. This has often resulted in those people bending over the toilet in some fashion.
I know what you’re thinking – “who in their right mind would subject themselves to that?”
Definitely not me. And definitely not me in my cow onesie.
My friend Chance and I like to attempt various challenges and make videos about them. One Sunday, we decided to give this one a shot. In the cow onesie. Because…why not?
So what makes the noodles so spicy? Spice level is measured in Scoville units, which are used to compare the chili pepper in question with pure capsaicin. The type of ramen most people use for this challenge is Samyang’s Spicy Noodles, also known as Buldak Bokkeummyeon. They rank at 4,404 Scoville heat units, which already make them the third-spiciest type of ramen in the whole world, according to The Ramen Rater’s 2018 list of the world’s spiciest instant noodles.
However, because we are nuts, Chance and I decided to do the challenge with Samyang’s 2x Spicy Noodles, or Haek Buldak Bokkeummyeon.
As the name suggests, this type of ramen is two times spicier than the Buldak Bokkeummyeon. Go figure. That makes it a whopping 8,808 Scoville heat units. And that makes it the second-spiciest ramen on the face of the planet.
Six beers, three hours and a 20 minute drunken walk to the nearest Asian market later, Chance and I attempted our own version of the noodle challenge.
Spoiler alert: it’s a challenge for a reason. My spice tolerance is through the roof, and I was still fanning myself and swearing profusely. However, we both finished our entire bowls in under 15 minutes, and no toilets were visited in the process. This is probably owed to a few tricks we had up our sleeves.
The video is below, but before you watch it, read on to learn the top six things you can do to help you pull off your own fire noodle challenge successfully – and as painlessly as possible.
1. Get you some fire noodles (duh)
The spicy noodles in question are manufactured by the Korean company Samyang. They’re not in many mainstream grocery stores, but can be purchased in most Korean markets, or on Amazon.
Or, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, try the 2x spicy kind, like we did.
2. Pregame with other, less spicy food
Eating something first will cause you to be more likely to be able to stomach the spice, and therefore less likely to end up at the toilet later.
3. Put an egg on it
Stirring an egg into your cooked noodles will help balance out the spice and make them easier to swallow.
4. Eat quickly
Usually, it’s recommended that you eat slowly so you can really taste your food and savor the flavors. In this case, savoring the flavors won’t be doing yourself any favors. Taking your time and chewing slowly will only give you time to think about the fact that you are, you know, ingesting 8,808 heat units, so make sure you slurp it down as fast as you can.
5. Save water, drink beer
From my years of ordering the spiciest item on the menu, and dumping hot sauce on most of my food (even breakfast), I know that water usually spreads the spice out. This intensifies it and makes it harder to stomach.
I read online ahead of time that drinking milk helps neutralize the flavor. However, I found that it spreads the spice around too. Instead, we drank beer, and this seemed to help, because it numbs your taste buds slightly.
6. Eat bread between bites
Taking small bites of bread throughout the challenge can help cleanse your pallet.
Video time! If you don’t care about watching us trek to the store and buying the noodles, skip to 5:25 to avoid the intro and just watch us sweat. Yes, our intro is really that long. We’re kind of extra.