A Lesson in Pain: Hongmi Spicy Chicken Feet

The Mistress of Pain at Hongmi Dakbal
I asked my Korean friends why they would want to eat something so spicy that it burns going down and later going out.

They said that it relieves stress and that it feels good.

Hmmm...about a week ago I went to Hongmi Dakbal located over by Sinsa Station for a video shoot. This place is famous for their extremely spicy chicken feet. I am an adventurous eater, but even I cringe at the idea of chicken feet.

First of all, there isn't that much meat on them and I always imagine the little claws getting snagged in my throat. The feet are first washed (thank gosh). Then they are parboiled and later stir-fried with chili powder.

The chicken feet here is spicy. It's so spicy that my mouth burned the whole time. I can't really describe the flavor of it except burny. There is little meat on the chicken feet and as you nibble, the heat ignites your entire head. The burn started from the corner of my mouth and went to my temples. From there it went to my forehead and later it caused a sweat behind my ears.

It was a painful experience but it felt quite good after a bit. I felt like the guy that Tyler Durden kissed the hand of and guy he was in real life and then poured lye on it causing a chemical burn. Yeah, it was like that sort of pain. Pain so painful that you get euphoric (and a tummy ache).

To balance out the spiciness, the restaurant has several different cures. There is ugly kimbap: jumok bap. The starch and sesame seaweed will calm down the spice. There is also bindaetteok. They are very famous for their steamed egg (gyeran jjim). Usually it comes free with your meal, but they charge 7,000 won here and it is money well spent for it will ease the pain.

The other cure for the spice is peach juice. Koreans believe that peach juice is good for spice. I tried it and it does a bit (I think that milk would have been better).

If you are looking to enter a world of pain, I recommend you give this place a try. I won't be back for a while.

Hongmi Dakbal (홍미닭발)
Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong 502-1
Open from 4:30pm to 4:30am
Prices 4-17,000 won
Directions: Go out exit 6 of Sinsa Station (Orange Line 3)
Bringing the Pain at Hongmi Dakbal

Inside Kitchen Hell at Hongmi Dakbal
Chef Andreas stirring a bowl of spicy chicken feet at Hongmi Dakbal

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