Posted by: Cacille | March 22, 2012

Is it spicy?

I have a little language exchange going on with the vice principal, who has taken me under his wing to learn Korean while I teach him better English.  The poor man can understand some English and I can understand absolutely no Korean.  It works well 🙂

One phrase I wanted to learn was “is it spicy?” because unfortunately, my tolerance for spicy food was on the range of “nacho cheese is spicy to me!” I eat lunch in the school cafeteria, and for that first week, oh my word. Fire. All it was, was fire to me. I barely ate half the lunch, going home hungry. Only to have to scrounge for quick food at shops where I didn’t know anything, or buying things from restaurants cause I have no fridge at home (yet. Coming soon).

One time I ended up with a dish so spicy, my mouth was in pain after eating 1/4 of it. Not just spicy omg…but REAL PAIN. It actually hurt as if my mouth was burnt with 2nd degree burns or something.  That’s capsaicin for you.

So the first phrase I wanted to learn was “is it spicy” and Google Translate came up with ” Maeun imnika?” The principal then corrected the sentence later on.  Google was wrong.  Here’s the phrase you really wanna learn. “Igotsun mepsumnika?”. It means, literally, It is spicy? Pronounce it like this: “ee-go-tsoon mehp-soom-nee-kah?” Learn it. Make sure to use it at restaurants. I did last night, and the lady, who could only speak English numbers and a few basic English words, told me “no, no” to one such dish. It looked good, so I ordered it. It turned out to be the most delicious steak patty with cheese inside it, with side dishes like the usual rice, kimchi, and some fruit and veggies that were delicious. (Try the strawberries here. Trust me.  They’ll be the best you’ve ever had. American strawberries are bitter in comparison.)

You may want to use this phrase often, until you learn what type of spicy you can handle. Now I can handle low level spicy things pretty well, Kimchi is somewhat okay in small quantities, I just stay away from peppers and anything that looks red or red-orange. Remember this: if it  doesn’t look exactly  like Heinz ketchup consistency and color, it’s spicy.

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