At a Korean meal, sharing is caring. Everything is eaten with metal chopsticks or a spoon, with everyone taking turns to reach for things. And when someone’s cup has run dry, someone else refills it for them.
Food portions are large, so it’s hard to go out to eat by yourself here in Korea. Example: in the picture above, all of that food was shared between five people! (And we even ordered a second round of the main course!)
One of my favorite meals so far has been grilled pork belly. The waiter brings the strips of pork to you and you cook it right at your table. (Most Korean tables come with a built-in grill, as seen in these pictures.) Then, using a pair of scissors, you cut up the meat so everyone can reach for the pieces with their chopsticks. Wrap it all up in a leaf (lettuce or mint — I prefer mint) with some bean sprouts, kimchi, onions…and bon appétit.
Korean chicken is amazing, too. I bit into a piece of garlic chicken the other day and made a sound that wouldn’t be appropriate in most social settings.
And what’s dinner without dessert afterwards? Shaved ice shops are everywhere, selling — you guessed it — small mountains of shaved ice paired with a plethora of toppings (oreos, cheesecake bites, red beans, various fruit, etc.) I’ve never seen a Korean eating one of these delicious monstrosities by themselves because it’s yet another food that’s meant to be shared.
Even the walnut cookies — which are famous in Cheonan — aren’t sold individually; they’re sold by the box instead! My coworker brought a 25-pack of them to work the other day. It took all of my willpower to resist eating them all in one sitting.
….Although, there’s nothing stopping me from buying a box and taking it home for myself. Maybe these cookies could turn out to be the one food that can be eaten solo.
Away from prying eyes, that is. Nobody has to know. Please don’t tell my coworkers.
Thanks for reading,