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Sharing where I am with you guys...Update in OP 10/17 Login/Join 
Member
posted
10/17

I can talk much more about the food and drinking culture here, and I will later, but for now I would like to move on to some other topics. The topics I want to discuss today could easily lead to a political debate between the differences of the countries. Don't do that. Just save it and take things for what they are. I'll go on in later posts about the differences but for now just let me explain certain aspects.

3. Korea's Rapid Ascent Economically

History - 70 years ago the Korean war started. after 3 years of fighting it left the entire Korean peninsula in a state of ruin. To put it in perspective, "South Korea", already short of natural resources, and is essentially and island. Therefore they are heavily dependent on imports for their economy, how do you import when your people are living on grass soup and you're economy is less than that of the poorest African countries?

First, you have a united people who are hard working and proud of their country, something we can all understand. Second, you have a plan.

This one was a long play but it worked out well in short order. Korea began with 5 year plans. I'll over simplify in terms we can all relate to on this forum.

1st 5 years - Let's make individual lower parts (springs and pins) for Sig P-series pistols.

2nd 5 years - Now that we have machinery and distribution for those items, lets package them along with grips and screws and sell parts kits.

3rd 5 years - Now that we have those capabilities lets make Pistol frames and use our in house parts to sell complete pistol frames.

4th 5 years - Now that we have complete pistol frames, lets make barrels and slides and sell complete pistols.

5th 5 years - Now that we are making basic model pistols, let's upgrade our barrel making process so that every pistol maker will want on of our barrels in their guns.

South Korea has gone from literally the poorest country on earth to what will be the 9th largest economy this year. In 70 years!!! That's crazy. All that growth does not come without some negatives, but I doubt you'll find a Korean or any other person that would trade it.

In the mid 90's the Korean economy faced a recession and large debt to the IMF. They country as a whole rallied and donated what gold they had (probably not all of it but I would wager a majority) to the Korean government so they country as a whole could pay off nearly 8% of its debt years ahead of schedule. While this is not a 100% victory you can see the attitude the people have towards their country.

This photo is of the Lotte Tower in the middle of Seoul. It is the 6th tallest building in the world at present time standing 123 stories and 1824' tall. I've never seen Skyscrapers on this scale. For perspective, the small brown building on the lower left of the Lotte Tower in the photo is easily 30 stories tall.



The next two photos are not the best quality but they show the scale of this building against the Gangnam/Seoul skyline.




This is quite a monument to the growth this country has experienced in 70 years time. From dirt and ruin to this is impressive regardless of HOW the government has acted. The people here deserve a lot of credit for their patriotism and hard work.

10/16

Back when I asked about new hobbies, a member suggested taking photos and creating a book because people are always interested in new things and new cultures, different places, etc. so while these are not professional quality photos I figure some of you may be interested to learn some facts about a completely different place. If not then just enjoy the photos Smile

I’ll caveat that while I have studied Korean language, culture, society, history and lived here twice in the past 6 years (I also follow a certain Korea for work), I may not be an expert compared to a native Korean. So if I make a mistake feel free to educate me as well. I’ll try to keep this updated regularly.

First off, Food Culture . 한국의 음식 문화

Like many Asian cultures you will usually find family style dining here. The most popular is Korean BBQ but there are many other styles of Korean food shared family style. The one main dish is shared and each individual will get their own rice, the side dishes are called 반찬 (Banchan) and are shared and typically all you can eat. It’s important to note that Banchan will differ based off what you order, using BBQ for example you may get different sides if you order plain pork vs flavored (양념), I would suspect this is to compliment the flavor you will be eating.

This photo is from today.



We cooked this meal at home, typically your meat will be cooked over a gas grill or charcoal but we are lazy and the cast iron is easier to clean.
Cuts of meat are not as varied as in the US but options are still plenty, combined that with marinaded (양념), spicy (매운) options and there are plenty of varieties.

Here is another photo eating out with my best friend.



One thing you would notice visiting is that restaurants offer a totally different menu when compared to the US. You won’t find 4 page menus unless the shop is trying to be Western style. Typically a shop specializes in one food, for example, my favorite local soup place is an Ox Tail soup place, they offer Ox meat, Ox Tail, Ox Knee soups but you get my point.

I’ll touch more on the food later to include breakfast and dessert, or lack thereof.

Drinking Culture

Drinking in Korea is both extremely important and welcomed. Per capita, Koreans drink more than any other nation. To go out with friends drinking all night is not seen as irresponsible, but more that you are a member of society. There are however rules to drinking. Here are a few major ones.

1. Never let an elder pour the or own drink.
2. Never let an elder sit with an empty glass.
3. Alway turn your head away from the oldest person at the table when taking a drink.
4. Perhaps not a rule but Koreans seem to cheer (“Jan”) ever drink, annoyingly so.

There are many types of alcohol here, traditional ones include rice wine varieties of Maukaulli and Soju (막걸리, 소주) and more western drinks like beer and wine. Domestic liquor is still pretty rare and outside of base you will pay a premium for imported. But liquor is gaining popularity especially in popular nightlife areas. Older men will claim that Soju with a fruit flavor is for women, while it’s like Malibu or Vodka/Cran, it’s still popular. You can drink it straight or mix with it with beer for Someck (소맥).




My wife, who doesn’t drink much loves the flavored Soju and beer combo so perhaps they are correct that it’s a girly drink Smile. A word to the wise however, no matter how manly you think you are, don’t ever challenge a Korean to drink. I’ve seen elementary school teachers drink 10 tall boys and it’s truly impressive.

My Korean “father”, the dad of the family I lived with when I first came here was the president of a semiconductor company, any real Korean will know that is as one of the most stereotypical Korean job ever!!! (반도체 회사 사장님). He told me that when they had company dinners, which are popular here and nothing more than long drinking sessions with employees, that they would routinely make new people drink 3-4 hours before talking about their work. If someone was presenting a new idea or pitching something new, it was assumed that if they could not do so after 3-4 hours of drinking then they probably weren’t worth listening to in the first place. Now he was perhaps 25% joking but the sentiment is really there. This place takes its drinking seriously.

So much so that it’s frowned upon to be drinking or eating alone in public. I’ll wrap up for now with this, I often have to ask if it’s okay to eat alone at places. Sometimes they tell me no, this is because of the strong “family” feeling in Korea. Even if I do eat alone 95% of the time you have to order two servings minimum. This is partly economic because of free sides but also part of that same culture. If I’m ever drinking alone I will always have a Korean start conversation, they are always nervous to talk with a foreigner but once I speak Korean it’s always a good time.

I’ll add more later. I have a lot more to talk about but my wife wants some time now Smile

Hope you enjoy so far.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: OttoSig,





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
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공유 해주셔서 감사합니다 Smile




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" I could explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
 
Posts: 40831 | Location: fl | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
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Love Korean style bacon. Where are your fresh sesame leaves?
 
Posts: 20454 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
SF Jake
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Well here’s a subject I know nothing about....keep up the education! I’m enjoying it for one....thank you


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Posts: 2793 | Location: southern connecticut | Registered: March 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Muzzle flash
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I would not do well there. I do not drink alcohol of any kind. I don't like it, and don't need the effect. I will sip a flute of celebratory champagne, but that's it.

However, an interesting post.

flashguy




Texan by choice, not accident of birth
 
Posts: 24326 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
Love Korean style bacon. Where are your fresh sesame leaves?


Q, I prefer the seasoned Perilla leaves, while I like the fresh leaves they are soooo strong a flavor that I tend to omit them!

More simple answer is the wife doesn’t like them and she made lunch today Smile





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigmonkey:
공유 해주셔서 감사합니다 Smile


You’re welcome, wish you guys were here to truly share!

Did you google that or help from home? 한국어 잘 하십니까?





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You have the best job, thanks for sharing..
 
Posts: 231 | Registered: July 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yeah, that M14 video guy...
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Great setup! I can't comment on if everything is proper or not, but it looks good from here.

I loved the time I spent there in 2013. I remember this dish and I had to dig hard to find it. I was noodles in red sauce with seafood and an octopus on top, covered in crushed peanuts. This was one of my first Korean meals.



I came to love Korean Tabletop BBQ.

Samguypsal




For a nice Italian style meal, I found the amazing place in Gangnam called "Mad for Garlic." I wish I could go back to that place. I just googled it and it's still in business, as far as I can tell. It was underground and had a nice ambiance to it.

You know you're in Korea when the chopsticks are stainless steel and the server uses utility scissors to cut the meats. I do seem to remember Koreans obsessing with brushing their teeth after a meal. I remember all the Korean co-workers brushing after lunch.

The one thing I could not bring myself to eat was Seonjiguk (blood clot soup).

Tony.


Owner, TonyBen, LLC, Type-01 FFL
www.tonybenm14.com (Site under construction).
e-mail: tonyben@tonybenm14.com
 
Posts: 4058 | Location: USA | Registered: February 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
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quote:
Originally posted by OttoSig:...
Did you google that or help from home? 한국어 잘 하십니까?


Google. I was stationed at Kadena AB Okinawa in the early 90s, and sat alert at Gimahe AB, so my Korean is really poor and limited to about 1/2 dozen phrases, unless I was really drunk. At that point, we all thought we spoke like linguists. Big Grin

Enjoy all you can, while you can. The ride is over too damned quick.




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" I could explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
 
Posts: 40831 | Location: fl | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
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quote:
Originally posted by flashguy:
I would not do well there. I do not drink alcohol of any kind...

You don't have to drink to enjoy Korean food. Like you, I don't drink at all, but I'm crazy about Korean food. Sometimes, my wife thinks I'm Korean.
 
Posts: 20454 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
quote:
Originally posted by flashguy:
I would not do well there. I do not drink alcohol of any kind...

You don't have to drink to enjoy Korean food. Like you, I don't drink at all, but I'm crazy about Korean food. Sometimes, my wife thinks I'm Korean.


Q is absolutely right. It’s not a prerequisite. I guess I sold it wrong, it’s no different than grilling in the US. Many people have a beer while grilling, but many choose to pass.

I’ve met many Koreans that choose not to drink and they wouldn’t judge you if you didn’t. They may offer many times but that is more a respect hint than pressure.

Even living in the US Korean BBQ was one of my favorite meals. If you can find a place I’d say at least give it a try.





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My first trip to Korea, I went to a place not far from lodging to get food. Nobody spoke English, but the menu had pictures. I chose a fish. I got a main dish with a whole fish, a lot of bones, skin and scales, and several small bowls with vegetables, and Kimche. I can't stand kimche. The entire family running the place lined up behind a bar and watched me. Intently. I didn't want to disappoint.

I went through a pitcher of water and one of pepsi, but got all the kimche down. The wife came to my table and seemed very complimentary on eating the kimche. I felt good; I was a good guest. She took my bowl and disappeared. Thank god it wasn't a bigger bowl.

She returned a few minutes later with the bowl filled with more kimche, and with a big smile, presented it to me. I get a bad stomach reading the word "spice" in spice girls. Hot food for me is plain rice. White bread is unexploded ordnance. Kimche, similar to battery acid poured in open eyeballs. I got as much down as I could, drained two more pitchers, paid, and hustled off to hopefully die in a field somewhere.

A ceramic stomach is a plus with Korean food. Or at least, the ability to eat cherios without a trip to intensive care.
 
Posts: 5322 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Tony,

Do you have a local place? Korean ingredients are so often used amongst dishes that If you request something special they only need the protein.

That looks like squid stir fry but with noodles (낙지볶음 면??).

We’re you here on orders or as a civilian?





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sns3guppy:
My first trip to Korea, I went to a place not far from lodging to get food. Nobody spoke English, but the menu had pictures. I chose a fish. I got a main dish with a whole fish, a lot of bones, skin and scales, and several small bowls with vegetables, and Kimche. I can't stand kimche. The entire family running the place lined up behind a bar and watched me. Intently. I didn't want to disappoint.

I went through a pitcher of water and one of pepsi, but got all the kimche down. The wife came to my table and seemed very complimentary on eating the kimche. I felt good; I was a good guest. She took my bowl and disappeared. Thank god it wasn't a bigger bowl.

She returned a few minutes later with the bowl filled with more kimche, and with a big smile, presented it to me. I get a bad stomach reading the word "spice" in spice girls. Hot food for me is plain rice. White bread is unexploded ordnance. Kimche, similar to battery acid poured in open eyeballs. I got as much down as I could, drained two more pitchers, paid, and hustled off to hopefully die in a field somewhere.

A ceramic stomach is a plus with Korean food. Or at least, the ability to eat cherios without a trip to intensive care.


LMAO, contrary to western culture, finishing your bowl is a sign that more is needed, to leave a bowl empty would be rude by the staff. You have to tell them you don’t want anymore Smile

It’s a different level of food for sure. But I find the core ingredients VERY similar to what I grew up with in the Deep South.

Gizzards
Pork belly
Chicken feet
Intestines
Pigs feet





14 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
Posts: 3576 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OTTO- Been there/Done that!

Loved the food! The bottom end Soju that a Marine Lance Corporal could afford, not so much! Wicked hangovers...

My Lil Brother and family just got back from there about a month ago after a 2 year stint. He was up at Humphrey most of the time.

There's a great Korean Restaurant on the north side, Chicago Kalibi (or something close to that) on Lawrence and Central Park. Haven't been there in a while, but after seeing those pictures, I need to go back!


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 6332 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigmonkey:


Google. I was stationed at Kadena AB Okinawa in the early 90s, and sat alert at Gimahe AB, so my Korean is really poor and limited to about 1/2 dozen phrases, unless I was really drunk. At that point, we all thought we spoke like linguists. Big Grin

Enjoy all you can, while you can. The ride is over too damned quick.



I was at Camp Schwab from late '88 to mid '91.

A great spot to eat on "The Rock" was "Genghis Khan", not too far from Kadena AFB. Mongolian BBQ place.

Damn I miss the Far East!


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 6332 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yeah, that M14 video guy...
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quote:
Originally posted by OttoSig:
Tony,

Do you have a local place? Korean ingredients are so often used amongst dishes that If you request something special they only need the protein.

That looks like squid stir fry but with noodles (낙지볶음 면??).

We’re you here on orders or as a civilian?


We do have a local place that's called Gangnam Grill. I've been there a couple of times and had a great meal. They've been shut down due to Da-Rona, but reopened recently. I may ask them or show them the picture to see if they can make it. They are nice people.

I work for a company that used to be called ESI. We were bought out by MKS Instruments 2 years ago. I travelled for ESI all over Asia (Singapore more times than I can count, Japan 2x, Taiwan 1x, Vietnam 1x and Korea 3x). The first two times I went in 2013 I stayed in the Mariott in Gangnam. The last time I went, I stayed in the Shilla-Stay in Dongtan.

I never visited Korea when in the Marines.

Tony.


Owner, TonyBen, LLC, Type-01 FFL
www.tonybenm14.com (Site under construction).
e-mail: tonyben@tonybenm14.com
 
Posts: 4058 | Location: USA | Registered: February 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My only experience with Korean food, as far as I can remember, was some random vegetable side dish and some home made kimchi once in college. I had a few dates with a girl whose mother was from Korea, and I was invited to family dinner for one of them. It was a lively and boisterous dinner. I don't remember it too well, but there was a lot of drinking that night, which jibes with what you're telling us. Nice family, good people, and it was all smiles and laughter.

I don't drink anymore and I'd hate to feel pressured to, but I think there would little or no risk of that at a Korean restaurant around here. We have a ton of options for Asian food in this area, seemingly from any country you can think of. I've had a lot of Thai and Vietnamese food since I moved here, but not Korean. I need to find a Korean place and stop on in.
 
Posts: 12244 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Optimistic Cynic
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I remember back when my mom had a Korean neighbor (diplomat and wife, not immigrant), she (Mom) mentioned to the neighbor that she liked Korean food, and gave them some vegetables from her garden. I don't think she had to cook for three years, huge quantities of home-cooked meals brought over daily. I made sure to "drop in" around dinner time about three times a week.

Annandale VA, near my home is "Korea town" with a large population of immigrants. Every shopping center has two or three Korean restaurants, BBQ, seafood, and other styles. Any fans of the cuisine who visit the DC area should schedule a meal or two in Annandale.
 
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