‘It’s not pleasant, but it’s fun’ – can really spicy noodles get you high?

Cardiff noodle fans pick up their chopsticks to test latest TikTok trend to find out what effects extra spicy noodles can have

Preshant Semwal, 26, cooks up the spicy noodles

While most people on a budget may simply know ramen as a cheap, last-ditch meal to whip out on a lazy evening, for Cardiff University astrophysics postgraduate student Prashant Semwal, 26, the noodles provide a much more exhilarating experience. 

Known for their painful levels of spiciness, Buldak 2x ramen packets have become a sensation on TikTok, and Prashant confirms he experiences a kind of high after eating them.

Videos of people tasting them having garnered over ten million views, showing how popular the effects from the noodles are. Here in Cardiff, the Buldak packets can be found in select Asian supermarkets, or ordered online.  

Buldak 2x ramen packets have become a sensation on TikTok

Prashant revealed that he consumes the noodles on a monthly basis in order to experience “the rush” that the extreme spice gives him. 

‘It’s not exactly pleasant, but it’s fun,’ he explained. ‘You know when you go to the dentist they give you an anaesthetic. You feel stupid after that, but it’s funny. It’s a similar way when you have hot noodles.’

The delirious effects of the spicy dish have been so potent for Prashant that he has even experienced auditory hallucinations: ‘One of my housemates who is not from India started speaking Hindi. She wasn’t actually speaking in Hindi, but it felt to me that she was.’

Buldak translates to ‘fire chicken’ in Korean

Though it may seem far-fetched, the phenomenon of spicy food producing a high is one that some scientists have confirmed.

According to Per Helix, a blog run by scientific researchers at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, the flavour added by spicy food is not so much a real taste as it is a sensation. When we eat hot food, it causes a reaction with our taste buds that makes us feel as though our mouth is burning.

In order to counteract the pain, our brain releases endorphins and dopamine, which are also chemicals released by other illicit substances, such as MDMA, says the Northwestern researchers.

Not everyone who tries the noodles experiences the giddy effects that Prashant does, however. 

Cardiff resident Franco Obuseli, 26, who also tried the ramen, described being under the influence as “just being lightheaded and very sweaty”.

Safety: According to the NHS, if spicy foods give you heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhoea, you should consume them with caution.