(CNN) – Our Mission: Find the hottest, hottest, hottest and hottest, hotter dish in South Korea.
Strangely, as it may sound, for many Koreans spice is the cure.
There is something amazingly depressing about the feeling that your brain is a fire.
In a country where extreme spice is considered essential as salt and pepper, a typical answer to "I'm so anxious out" is: "Let's go wolf down something terribly spicy."
Rate the dishes from one to five, here are the seven steps to be a true Korean spice eater.
7. Buldak (chicken fire)
Spice Rating: 1/5
This salty chicken dish covered with chili sauce became extremely popular a few years ago when the Korean economy was passing through a rough patch. (See what we mean about Koreans and spice treatment?)
Buldak triggered a trend for extremely hot dishes in Korea and remains popular in many bars – naturally accompanied by a cold beer.
The bat batdak-beer is known as chimaek.
If you want to reduce the heat, order a buldak surrounded by a mozzarella ring to solve the misery.
Social warmth: You can enjoy the bulldog, observe how spicy it is and still have a usual conversation. Good to share when you attract an old friend.
Set your tongue to fire:
Hongcho Red Station, 817-33 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. +82 2 3452 6878
6. Ddeokbokki (Rice and fish cake in chili sauce)
Warn: Ddeokbokki can tempt you into a false sense of security.
Courtesy Dongdaemun Yeobkki Ddeokbokki
Spice Rating: 2/5
Soft rice cakes and fish cakes cooked in sweet red chili sauce, ddeokbokki is one of Korea's most favorite snacks and food comfort.
They are usually sold at the corners of the streets and food stops.
The restaurant chain Dongdaemun Yeobkki Ddeokbokki has about 80 branches across the country and offers warm warmth in airtight cans right at your front door.
Brave eaters can also ask for eggs such as hard boiled, glass pasta, fried pasta or hot dogs.
Social warmth: Wait for a few moments in the meals. The spice slowly draws on you and can quickly weaken the novice eats.
Experience the pleasure / pain at:
Dongdaemun Yeobkki Ddeokbokki, Lucky Plaza, 156 Heung-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul. +82 2 2236 8592
5. Abiko curry
Spice Rating: 3/5
Abiko is a Japanese crab restaurant that offers its expertise at various heat levels.
If I did not have the stomach spice in the day I visited, they urged my partner, Joey, to order Abiko's "best of the best" spice levels while I went with my baby.
A trial spoon of "best of her best" was enough to make me softened and cough.
Jodie described her experience as "wanting to eat anything and everything to get the fire".
We ended up mixing the two dishes to mitigate it.
Social warmth: The meal will dominate the table conversation. If you are not in the mood to do small discussions and enjoy the outburst and crawling while you eat, this is the place to go.
Try your will to live:
Abiko, 537-4 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. +82 2 515 3212
4. Maeundae galbijjim (delicious boiled make-up)
Spice Rating: 4/5
From a non-scientific poll conducted on the streets of Seoul, Maeundae galbijjim is one of the hottest – in terms of popularity – spicy dishes today.
Forget everything you know about galbijjim, usually the sweet and salty beef bracelets.
The classic Korean dish enters a new era of spicy flavor at Maeundae (mae-un means "spicy" in Korean, so do not say they did not warn you).
A pinch of the nail leaves you tremendous pain in your tongue.
Despair is getting worse as the little restaurant does not offer anywhere to hide.
The egg with steam is on the menu to relieve the spicy taste from time to time.
Social warmth: You can bring your secret opponent or encourage him to move to the ultimate spicy level.
Unleash the frustration of the day in your language:
Maeundae, 29, Bongeunsa-ro 4-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. +82 2 558 5788
3. Lee Kang-Sun Silbijip nakji bokkeum (Octopus with fried octopus)
Nakji bokkeum: The octopus is served with a generous slathering of pain.
Spice Rating: 4/5
Nakji bokkeum consists of fried nakji (flooded in a generous portion of red pepper sauce).
Rice, beansprouts and sesame oil are on the side to help relieve pain.
Tip by an experienced eater: Do not throw all the healthy nakji at the top of your rice before trying a few. This reckless act will leave your face as red as the dish.
Lee Kang-sun Silbijip, founded 45 years ago, has four levels of spice.
The restaurant is located in Mugyo-dong area in Jongno-gu. The area is synonymous with the classic spicy dish from the '60s and' 70s.
Social warmth: If you are willing to let your partner see you during this meal – with your red face and belly swell with liquids you drink to dilute the spice – it's true friendship.
You have suffered your stomach in the:
Lee Kang-soon Silbijip, 75-1, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul; +82 2 737 7880
2. Jjambbong (Seafood Noodles)
Spice Rating: 4/5
The first thing that tells you when you sit for the jjambbong (a ridiculous hot seafood menu) is to eat the noodles first.
Once you hit the broth, injected with four different chili from Korea, China, Vietnam and India, the fire becomes too intense to extinguish by standard means.
A bottle of noodles is enough to cause acute tongue pain.
Add a spoonful of broth and your entire head may feel it's burned.
The version served at Shingildong Spicy Jjambbong is extremely rich.
I found myself to pass dangerously to soup and noodles, even when I experienced the pain.
A sign in the restaurant kindly asks customers to use the bathroom of the restaurant if they feel the need to recover, instead of being cleaned on the street.
The stack of milk cartons in front of the famous pasta is a testimony of the satanic levels of spice.
Social warmth: Expect some welding over the pasta as you keep track of each other undressing and accumulating in pain.
If you need to make changes with colleagues at work, invite them for a building experience.
Catch for your mom at:
Shingildong Spicy Jjambbong, 10-1, 62 Road, Singil-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul; +82 10 5395 1151
1. Onnuriye Donkatsu (pork cutlet)
Those who finish Drop-Dead Donkatsu within 20 minutes get their face on the wall of fame.
Jiyeon Lee / CNN
Spice Rating: 5/5
The innocent name of the restaurant, Onnuriye Donkatsu ("Chicken around the world"), cheats.
This place is actually known for serving Donkatsu of Death, also known as Donkatsu Drop-Dead, by far the most spicy dish I have ever endured.
Pork stalk is dirty in a dark dark red sauce made from a rich broth of Asian herbs and what the owner of Song Jung-won wins is the most spiciest chili on earth.
The song keeps the recipe for its sauce over the top a secret secret.
"I want to make it an extremely difficult challenge for just 0.1% of the population," he says.
"There is something about the spicy sensation that attracts people to this, even if they suffer from pain. They usually think how spicy they might be?"
A slice of a dankon's thumb was enough to make me resign.
The restaurant dares friends to eat the Drop-Dead Donkatsu within 20 minutes but warns them: They will not serve the plate unless you bring a box of milk with you.
The brave few – and few – who complete the challenge get their face on the wall of fame.
Social warmth: There will be no discussion after a bite of this dish. Come alone or with someone you want to hurt.
Find out how wasteful and weak you really are in:
Onnuriye Donkatsu, 355-23 Sindaebang 2-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul. + 82 2 823 8589
How to Handle Spicy Foods
Eat something before the real meal. Just as you are more prone to the effects of alcohol when you have not eaten, the spice can attack an empty stomach.
Prepare the right drink. When it comes to relieving the pain of spicy foods, water does not help. It only regulates the spice in your mouth and relieves pain for a while.
Milk or other dairy beverages help to remove heat from your mouth and also help ease burning.
Draw ahead. The effects of spicy food may remain long after actual consumption.
Taking a spice challenge when you have a major meeting, exams or travel plans that come is not a bright idea. You never know when to start after burning.
Choose the right mate. Spicy foods can paralyze your social skills.
You are not exactly charming when your eyes are watering, blowing your nose every three seconds and the only sound you can produce is a strained pain.
You consume heat only with friends who understand that sometimes we all need a good cry.
Do not be too ambitious. Or proud. Yes, everyone will be impressed by your ability to eat chili directly from the kung pao … for about five minutes. But you have to live with this burned stomach for the rest of your life.
When the pain of spice gets too much, stop. This is your body that tells you that it can not get the heat.
Jiyeon Lee is an independent journalist based in Seoul. It covers issues ranging from North Korean politics to technology and culture.