To relieve stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Koreans seek spicy food, according to data

SEOUL — The tension caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has driven South Korean customers to search for hot and spicy ready-to-eat menus at convenience stores, analyzed by a domestic convenience store franchise.

Scientifically, spicy food has been shown to increase the development of feel-good hormones such as serotonin that alleviate stress , frustration, and ease depression. After working with a dish of spicy food such as hot and spicy pork ribs or a bowl of spicy noodle soup with shots of Soju, an popular Korean distilled spirit, it is normal to see working people handling their tension.

Sales of spicy flavored food between August 16 and 31 increased by 23.7 percent compared to the same period in July this year, according to August sales data released by CU, a major domestic convenience store franchise.

Since August 15, when some 3,000 right-wing Christians gathered in central Seoul to stage an anti-government protest, the level of public stress has soared. The rally contributed to the revival of the number of new cases of COVID-19 infection. At least 200 newly-infected cases are reportedly identified daily.

CU has assessed that individuals alleviate their tension and handle "COVID-19 blues" with spicy food that is readily accessible via convenience stores. COVID-19 blues is a term used to describe the feeling of sadness, helplessness and exhaustion induced by the social distancing movement nationwide.

"When relieving a day's tension, there's nothing like an ice-cold shot of Soju with a bowl of sweet and spicy instant noodles," Jeong Goo-jeong, a 38-year-old businesswoman living in Seoul, told Aju News. "She said," I really enjoy convenient ready-to - eat bags of hot and spicy food sold at convenience stores.

Currently, hot and spicy products such as "Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen," an instant noodle produced by food manufacturer Samyang Food, and "Shin Ramyun," an instant spicy noodle produced by instant food manufacturer Nongshim, have gained popularity among global customers , especially from countries in Southeast Asia.

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