i love kimchi. i love koreans. i really do.
what i find humorous is the fact that most koreans cannot believe that you like kimchi. or korean food. yes, they get excited when you tell them your favorite korean meals... but more times than not, their excitement is followed with a "but... it is so spicy!"
yes, kimchi is spicy. yes, kimchi jjigae is spicy. yes, fire chicken is spicy. but do they think there is no other cuisine in the world that is just as spicy, if not more spicy? i've had mexican food that's blown the top off of my head. i've had thai food that is cause for a five alarm fire.
in all honesty, i don't even find kimchi or korean food to be that spicy anymore. i think i inherited my grandfather's tastebuds... that man could pack on the red pepper powder like nobody's business to a point where i was pretty sure he could no longer taste the food underneath... either that or he burned his taste buds right off.
just yesterday, the school got some chinese/korean food for the english teachers. we were all huddled around the table, picking at the food. i reached over to get some kimchi, and a teacher looked at me quite seriously and said "this is spicy." i just smiled and said "i know." please, give me some credit, lady. do you honestly think i've spent a year in korea without even KNOWING what kimchi was or what it tasted like? i even went back for seconds just to show her that yes, foreigners here CAN handle the food. it's not that spicy, folks.
i once saw a post on daveseslcafe about korean's incredulousness that foreigners can handle a little red pepper paste. one poster decided t-shirts should be made saying something along the lines of "other countries have spice, too." i don't think that's a bad idea.