A surprise winner, perhaps, for those who think of Korean cuisine as a slice of beef left too long on a smoky tabletop barbecue. But how can anyone pick against the small nation that nonetheless claims to consume 60% of the world’s red chilies? Anyone who cruises the South Korean countryside in summer can see the evidence, with every village laying out thousands of pods to dry before putting up barrels of kimchi (pickled cabbage) for the winter. So important is this burning staple that numerous academics here are constantly researching, as well as championing, its cancer-fighting effects. And that’s just the beginning, as numerous pepper-dotted veggies and roots and dried sardines always feature in every restaurant’s complimentary spread of small dishes. As for the barbecue, it may seem bland to some — but most Koreans wrap in every lettuce roll a whole raw jalapeño or two, and swaths of burning bean paste, to give the real kick to any poor sliver of charred flesh.