Food & Drink » Food Extra

Korean Red Pepper Paste Kicks Up the Heat

Is gochujang the next sriracha?


Korean cuisine has hit cities across the country like a pungent waft of kimchi. Restaurants like New York City's Momofuku Ko and Los Angeles' Kyochon have blazed the way for innovative new takes on Korean fare. Heck, there's even a Korean food truck in Los Angeles that sells kimchi quesadillas. Mmm, kim-cheesy.

And though you currently can't order a steaming bowl of bibimbap in Boise--rice topped with veggies, meat, a fried egg and gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)--you can pick up gochujang and whip it up at home with a quick stop into one of Boise's numerous Asian markets.

Gochujang--an earthy-tasting, dark red paste made from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, sugar and salt--is a Korean staple. Gochujang can be added to everything from sauces to soups to eggs to marinades. Commenters on the popular food forum Chowhound have even gone so far as to say gochujang is "the next sriracha."

I recently picked up a container of gochujang paste ($4.99) from Orient Market on Orchard and Emerald streets. A couple teaspoons of the pungent, spicy paste went a long way in flavoring a sesame tofu and cabbage stir fry. Though I'm not sure it can ever replace sriracha, if you're down with a smoky, fermented, miso-ish flavor, make gochujang your go-to condiment.