In South Korea, there is a saying: "manage heat with heat", which refers to eating hot food in summer to sweat out the heat.
The malatang hot pot, usually popular in winter, has become a culinary hit in South Korea this summer due to high temperatures recently.
The latest culinary hit in South Korea is a fiery dish from Southwest China.
Malatang is well-known for its unique spiciness that makes the tongue numb just as its Chinese characters indicate -- "ma" means numb and "la" means spicy.
The trend has been popular among Koreans in the last four years, particularly among those in their 20s and 30s,
and for some, their love of malatang has overtaken tteokbokki -- a traditional Korean cuisine made from rice cake.
Compared to spicy foods that were trending previously, such as stir-fried rice cake or fiery chicken, which are heavy in carbohydrates,
malatang has a healthier balance of fresh vegetables and meat.
Despite the sluggishness of catering startups during the pandemic, the number of malatang restaurants has increased and can be found almost everywhere in South Korea.
As Chinese culture has spread over the world at an ever-increasing rate, so has the popularity of Chinese cuisine.
For example, red bean buns, a traditional Chinese snack originating in Beijing and Tianjin, became a popular food for many foreign athletes during the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Aside from that, dim sum, Peking Duck, Kung Pao Chicken and other Chinese cuisine are widely praised by diners in other countries.