Golbaengi Muchim: ultra-spicy Korean sea snails

If you’re a devotee of fiery chilies and mollusks, we’ve found the perfect ignition for your spicy cravings. Golbaengi Muchim is a clean-your-nasal-cavity-out-for-months, ultra-hot Korean side dish (anju) consisting primarily of Neverita sea snails and hot chili pepper paste (gochujang).

Sure, you’ll find a bit of squid and some shredded vegetables in this burning hot salad, but don’t be fooled — sea snails are the real stars of the show here. For those gourmets who’ve never gotten into snails, try and reimagine these little guys as tiny clams or mussels without the bother of a shell, and you’ll do just fine.

You’ll impress your friends with your ‘heat’ tolerance if you order this side dish the next time you head out for Korean barbeque, although you might have to argue with the proprietors in order to get them to actually bring your snail salad to the table. Koreans tend to be overly cautious with non-Koreans who insist on indulging in such a taste bud-melting snack, but if you’re man or woman enough to take it, simply sweat it out, and enjoy this blistering Asian delicacy.