The Korean Melon

Korean_melon-Chamoe-01

I like to think that I’m an omnivorous eater. There are very few foods that I will absolutely refuse to eat. Having said that, there are some foods that I would prefer not to eat, mostly because I don’t think they’re particularly tasty and I could easily find a better alternative on the menu. Overrated might be the word I’m looking for. The Korean melon is one such food. Continue reading

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Those words do not mean what you think they mean

As a result of Korea’s obsession with English fluency, a lot of Koreans speak English that sounds almost like that of native speakers. However, you will find that in conversations with these Koreans, there are some words that can’t be Korean but you cannot fully comprehend. Because they can’t possibly mean what you think they mean. And you would be right. These words are loanwords from other languages, usually English, whose meanings have been transformed due to years of usage in a different cultural context. But since Koreans, like most users of loanwords, are unaware of the discrepancies in the meanings of the same word, the usage of these words often leads to misunderstandings. Usually hilarious, but still, wouldn’t it be better if you understood what they were talking about? So here are five commonly used Korean loanwords and what they mean in Korean.

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SPAM

spam

People have, at times, called me a “food snob.” I can see why they might think that. I do enjoy from time to time high quality food substances that the vast majority of consumers have rarely heard of. But a lot of the things that I also enjoy would be grounds for revoking my foodie club membership card. Swedish fish, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, french fries with mashed potatoes, etc etc. Of course among this hypertension-inducing Justice League of junk foods there is a first among equals, a Superman of edible but unhealthy substances that I refuse to give up. Yes, it’s that salty gelatinous pork composite in a blue and yellow tin that has captured the hearts and stomaches of many Asian countries and in particular, Korea. I’m talking about Spam. After all, you can’t spell Superman without Spam. Continue reading

Eating Yeot

Korean_pumpkin_candy-Hobakyeot-01South Korea did not have a good time at this year’s World Cup. I’ll admit, in the grand scheme of things this was a historically average World Cup performance for Korea, two losses and a draw. Koreans were angry, not necessarily because expectations have risen unreasonably since we made it to the semi-finals in 2002 (a feat I highly doubt we will ever repeat again), but because let’s be honest, the team was simply awful. Korea barely made it to the World Cup in the weakest regional group and showed no signs of improvement. One fan in particular was so outraged by the poor performances that he took it upon himself to show up at the airport and throw yeot candies at the returning players while shouting “Eat yeot! Eat yeot!” Continue reading