Tom’s Farm Hot & Spicy Chicken Almond (Buldalk) Review
Bow down to the eternal Buldalk flavoring that manages to find its way into literally everything! If the flavor of hot & spicy chicken can find its way into things like: toothpaste, cans of tuna, ramen, and mayo; then it’s good enough for nuts. Tom’s Farm, once again, found an insanely popular flavor and decided it was high time to mix it with some almonds. Since Buldalk has been used in combination with virtually everything, this was probably a great idea. There’s just something magical about suffering through spicy Buldalk bite after bite and paying the price the following morning. People apparently love it! I don’t know if it’s the pleasure of watching your friends’ faces turn red as they suffer in agony from the hellfire. Or maybe, it’s the bragging rights associated with completing the various Buldalk Challenges on the internet, but Buldalk is a thang. If you stumbled across this article, chances are you’re quite well-versed in the tutelage of the infernal Buldalk. Tom’s Farm might have another challenge for you to undertake in the form of some spicy nuts.
Let’s talk about my favorite part of the packaging, the artwork. The art on this label is borderline creepy with almonds wearing chicken heads, but it’s also quite fun. The spiciness of these almonds is at the forefront of the art with almonds spitting fire and a single almond looking near death as it belches hellfire. There’s also a massive pan heated by the flames of hell beneath it. Inside the pan, we can find the corpses of our almond friends being cremated along with both red and green chili peppers. The flaming torches were also a nice touch. Some of the almonds are carrying torches to stoke the fires where their friends are being burnt to a crisp. The art has a dark and sinister side to it, which I like…
For the previous reviews of Tom’s Farm almonds, I had even smaller packages of 25 grams (.88 ounces). The package of nuts I have for this review is still small, but it is more elongated in shape and contains just 5 grams more almonds. After doing an almond count, I counted 22 almonds, which is significantly more almonds than in the 25 gram package. That specific package only had 11 to 13 almonds. I find this interesting, because I received double the number of almonds compared to the 25 gram package, which should be impossible. The coating on these almonds when compared to the others is extremely thin. So, maybe, just maybe, the math works out to be the same. I highly doubt it though…
Knowing this, I might actually start weighing the almonds from these packages. As a consumer, I would do the math on the 25 gram vs. the 30 gram package and see which one is actually the best bang for your buck.
So, it seems that Tom’s Farm has dusted these almonds with a powdered Buldalk glaze that’s similar to pollen on a flower. The dusting brings some of the heat of Buldalk Bokkeum Myeon, but I don’t think the Scoville count is anywhere near the levels of the ramen. I found these almonds to be mild at best, which truly is a shame. I have eaten some other packaged nuts back in the states that were dusted with ghost pepper and they were significantly more spicy than these.
What I really didn’t like about these almonds was that they were more sweet than spicy. Apparently that thin candy coating contains quite a bit of sugar. This is the inner layer sandwiched between the almond itself and the Buldalk powder dusting. There’s no chicken flavor, despite being called, Hot & Spicy Chicken Almond. However, this doesn’t surprise me, because Samyang’s Hot Chicken Flavored Ramen doesn’t taste anything like chicken either.
In terms of spiciness, these almonds are a tad mouth, throat, and stomach hot. They weren’t hot enough or chemically-laden enough to zing my brain, so they aren’t all that spicy. The flavor does cover most of the almond flavor, so if you were expecting almonds, you’re out of luck here. The only thing I could taste was a gently, mild imitation of Buldalk flavor. Unfortunately, these almonds were a bit disappointing because of their lack of heat…
Tom’s Farm Hot & Spicy Chicken Almond is another product cloaked as good, if not better than the Predator itself. These almonds don’t smell spicy at all! They are very tricky and naughty little almonds indeed… There’s not much of a smell in general either. The only thing I can say that I truly smell after at least 5 minutes of inhaling powdered Buldalk is Korean red chili pepper powder. There’s not much to really note here, because they literally smell like nothing…
Falling into the same disappointing trap as Samyang’s Haek (Nuclear) Buldalk Toothpaste, Tom’s Farm Hot & Spicy Chicken (Buldalk) Almond fails to bring the heat. If it’s going to include Buldalk, it better be a challenge. Go big or go home! That, is the proper philosophy here. These are perfectly fine for a mild tasting nut, but don’t let the Buldalk label on the package fool you. They should have been labeled sweet & spicy, rather than anything to do with chicken or being hot. The flavor is fine, but it’s far from the best package of Tom’s Farm almonds. I’m not really a fan these, but if you’re looking for spicy nuts rather than sweet nuts, then these are an okay choice.
Does Buldalk spice have to be ultra-spicy in order to be Buldalk? What makes Buldalk, Buldalk? What are the defining characteristics? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re interested in hearing more about Korean snack nuts or instant ramen, check out my on-going series, Noodle Story: An Exploration of Korean Instant Noodles and my other series, I Think I’m Going Nuts: An Eyeful of South Korea’s Little Snack Nuts, here on Medium.