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Saturday, 22 July 2006

Trying to Order Dinner...emphasis on "trying"

Wow. That was quite the experience I must say. Downstairs next door we have a Korean BBQ house. It's the restaurant where we all went for Korean BBQ. Anyways, I just got back from there and it was the most interesting experience I've encountered so far.

My knowledge of the Korean language up until this point has been "hello", "thank you" and "you're welcome...it's not a lot. I went upstairs to attempt to order some food to go. Nobody spoke a word of English. So here I am, at the front counter trying to mimick that I want a menu to order a meal to go. I wasn't getting anywhere. One of the cooks, the guy in charge of loading hot coals onto the tables for BBQs comes up to me and he assumes that I'm Chinese. I tell him "gong dong wah"...which means Cantonese. He finds this man and his son leaving who are Korean-Chinese. They speak MANDARIN and the dude's dad starts talking to me in Mandarin! I can tell he's saying something along the lines of "why can't you speak Mandarin and only Cantonese?" It was hilarious. Anyways, his son, is trying to convey to me that the dish they recommended to me consists of noodles and "ice"...I was not sure if he meant "ice" or "rice"....so I went along with it. The Mandarin man gestured for me to just eat in instead of getting take out, so I did.

I sat there waiting for my mystery dish to arrive...and lo and behold...I see a huge bowl of noodles that were in ICE!!! I can see little pieces of ice floating in a cold, unomono-salad like vinegar broth, along with a slice of pork and some pickled vegetables. They give me two complementary side dishes and leave me to it. So here I am, left a bit speechless about the whole incident but I can only laugh. At one point I had five people trying to help me understand what I was going to be ordering. All I can say is that Korean people are super friendly and patient towards foreigners! The hot coals man even came up to me during my slurping of cold noodles to teach me the difference between names of my dish in Korean and Mandarin. That was the best 5000 won I've spent so far. LOL! :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog! Your blog is chang! (sorry, no hangeul keyboard)...

my korean name is Go Gem Bong. I lived in seoul for a year in 2007... my neighborhood is close to hoegi/cheongnyangni/korea univ. subway stations. Eastern part of Seoul city.

I would like to suggest (ask you a favour, actually) to make a coverage about budget shopping/buying (aka going thrifty or penny-pinching) in seoul. I guess the topic is very interesting and has not yet been specifically covered, at least on your blog.

Can you take this eatery/canteen first? I do not remember the exact name for the shop... but i vividly remember the location... only if you are still living in seoul, willing to travel down to hoegi station and cover non-brand canteen like this small eatery.

The small shop is easy to find, as it is located across the Jinro mart (yes you know how to spell the hangeul: jin ro ma te, it has a chubby frog as a symbol). You can easily find the shop as it displays a huge pile of fried chicken in the front.

The small shop sells a-high value for money-fried chicken, 8 (eight) big pieces of fried chickens for W5,500 even for a student a like me back then it was a very good deal. The generous size is no match to McDonald's, KFC's, Lotteria's, or Burger King's or whatever....

Please upload lots of picture of the fried chickens, the shop, the surrounding, at the hoegi station... :p wakaka

I will definitely visit this eatery when I visit seoul next time .... yummy!

Go Gem Bong

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