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Can You Eat Gochujang Raw? (4 Ways To Use Gochujang)

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

Thinking about eating gochujang straight out of the container?

Well… let me tell you that isn’t a good idea.

Never eat raw gochujang straight out of the container. Gochujang is made as a spicy sauce/paste and not something you should be eating raw. Eating raw gochujang may cause stomach issues because of the fermented spices.

Using it as a dipping sauce is totally fine.

Most people eat gochujang on the side while having a Korean BBQ. But I have never seen anyone eat gochujang raw out of the container.

Let’s dive deeper into why you shouldn’t eat gochujang raw.

Is Eating Gochujang Unhealthy?

Eating gochujang isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but it’s also not healthy.

Depending on how much gochujang you eat, it varies from person to person. If you didn’t know already, it also comes with health benefits.

Most people that can’t handle spicy food may see some stomach issues. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s unhealthy. Generally speaking, gochujang isn’t unhealthy as long as you eat it in moderate portions.

And since it’s used as a dipping sauce, you likely won’t eat too much of it.

So it isn’t unhealthy and you shouldn’t be worrying about this. There are many other spicy Korean sauces that are actually unhealthy. These are:

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Syrup
  • Teriyaki sauce

These types of sauces are very unhealthy. Especially, if you consume a lot of it.

Think about it… gochujang is only used as a dipping sauce for dishes like Korean fried chicken, kimchi, and tteokbokki.

If you aren’t overeating, then you’re totally fine.

4 Ways To Use Gochujang

1. Cooking Food

Gochujang is often used to cook food. As I mentioned before, it can be used to cook:

  • Tteokbokki
  • Kimchi fried rice
  • Kimchi jjigae
  • Bibimbap
  • And many more

These types of foods are very easy to make and don’t require much knowledge. As someone that almost never cooks I can definitely say that anyone can make these.

The only thing you need are the ingredients, time, and actually wanting to do it. That’s all you need. And these types of dishes are very common in Korean households.

It’s like those traditional dishes that mums always make.

2. Dipping Sauce

Gochujang sauce is very common in places like Korean BBQ, Korean Bars, and any type of Korean restaurant.

It’s the go-to spicy Korean sauce everyone likes. And since the sauce is affordable everyone tends to use it. 

What I normally do is mix different sauces together and add some garlic to my gochujang. This adds some spice to the sauce, which makes it even better.

You know those wraps you get in Korean BBQ places?

Yes… people put some meat on top of it, garlic, and kimchi. Then, they add some gochujang sauce and eat it like that. It’s also called a Korean lettuce wrap. These are very popular in Seoul.

3. Making Kimchi

Gochujang can also be used to make kimchi. In fact, the majority of people make kimchi using gochujang. Without gochujang, the kimchi taste would be very mild.

And even though there are kimchi brands out there that aren’t very spicy… it’s something that you can’t miss out on.

99% of people that make kimchi always use gochujang. And if it’s not gochujang, it would be some other spicy sauce.

But let me tell you that almost everyone uses gochujang when making kimchi.

4. Marinade Meat Dishes

Using gochujang to marinade dishes is easy and everyone can do it. Adding the sweet and spicy sauce on top of the meat is by far the most delicious meal I’ve ever tried.

Can you taste it already? 

The dripping sauce… it can’t get any better than this. 

Not many people marinade their dishes with gochujang. It’s mostly people overseas that do this. Koreans usually use gochujang as a dipping sauce instead of marinading it.

But both options are fine and delicious.

Can You Refrigerate Gochujang?

After cooking your meal with gochujang, you should always seal it after. Gochujang usually lasts up to 2 years when you store it in the fridge.

As long as it’s sealed tightly after using it, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. I have done the same in the past where I used gochujang as a sauce and 12 months later it was still perfect.

Now, it’s important that you always check if the gochujang is expired or not.

Sometimes it can be expired, without you knowing it. Then, it’s better to throw it out. However, usually, it should be good to go even after a few months.

Also, make sure that you don’t put the gochujang in a place where it tends to get very hot. This will most definitely go bad and the gochujang will get white flakes…

Note: Don’t put it in the freezer. 

Final Thoughts

Eating gochujang raw straight from the container isn’t very smart… Gochujang is made to be used as a dipping sauce or to cook with. Therefore you should never eat gochujang straight out of the container since it may cause stomach issues.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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