Nov 20, 2011
15 small truths about eating in Korea
1. If you have even the slightest hunch that the meat you're eating is pig's feet, you're probably correct.
2. Here, cherry tomatoes and mayonnaise are key ingredients in a fruit salad.
3. "Hamburger steak" is exactly what you're picturing.
4. Puffed rice snacks that are surprisingly tasty: onion, chocolate, and shrimp flavours. Puffed rice snack that is unforgivably bad: banana.
5. In the public Korean saunas, it is common to take a seat in the communal changeroom and have a snack, naked. Most locker rooms have a booth selling foods that I don't personally consider to be nude-appropriate, like hard-boiled eggs, dried squid, and yogurt.
6. Sometimes, even in the most rustic-looking Korean dishes, you'll get a taste of mustard. Go with it.
7. Barbecued kimchi is absolute heaven.
8. Apple kimchi, though frustratingly rare, is equally heavenly.
9. Most Korean food is soft enough that you can slice it with a spoon. See #3, hamburger steak.
10. When you order a noodle dish that comes with half a hard-boiled egg on top, eat the egg first. It's meant to coat your stomach and get it warmed up for some digesting.
12. If you're sick, don't let anyone see you eating an apple. I've never been told why, but it's a very common belief that apples aggravate illness.
13. Chopstick trouble? Many restaurants can provide you with flexible little bands that loop around your chopsticks. They're for toddlers, but hey, so is spilling food down your shirt.
14. Never agree to play a food-related game with teenagers. Nine times out of ten, it's an awkward kissing game where two kids bite either end of a Cheeto like the Lady and the Tramp on their spaghetti date.
15. If you've been in Korea for longer than 2 days, you've probably eaten Spam. Don't fight it.