Are Scissors commonly used in Korea restaurant?

The answer is YES. In Korea Kitchen scissors are commonly used not only in restaurants but also in home.

I remember my American friend was surprised when he saw people are cutting the noodles with scissors in Korea restaurant. However, in many type of the Korean restaurants use the scissors. Today I will introduce which type of the Korean food is commonly used the scissors.

1. Korean Barbecue

At first, grill the whole meat and then when it is cooked cut the meat with scissors as you can see in below.

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The scissors are more easy to cut the meat rather than the knife that almost all of the Korean barbecue restaurants use the scissors for cutting the meat. Also, in some of the restaurant waiter cuts the meat, but mostly the customers should bake and cut the meat by themselves.

2. Naengmyeon(Korean cold noodles)

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Normally Korean cold noodles are durable that it is quite hard to cut the noodles only with your teeth. Accordingly, normally people cut the noodles with the scissors first for the cross shape as you can see in the above picture. If you can’t see the scissors in  Naengmyeon house, ask to the waiter. Then he will bring it for you.

 

3. Seollengtang(soup of bone and stew meat) and Kalguksu(Knife-cut noodles)

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Seollengtang is a Korean soup made from ox bones, brisket and other cuts and Kalguksu is the handmade Korean noodle dish which knife-cut wheat flour noodles served in a large bowl and other ingredients. Both of the dishes also serve the kimchi and the radish kimchi as the side dishes as you can see in the below picture.

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Then you have to take these out to the plate with chopsticks or with tongs by yourself as much as you will eat, and then cut it with scissors to small pieces.

3. Spicy Seafood Stew

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Seafood in stew is slippery and little tough that it should be cut in to pieces before eating it. At first, seafood stew which need to be boiled came out with scissors and tongs in table. Then the seafood stew is boiled in the customers’ table and the customers cut the seafood by themselves.

4. Korean Pork Cutlet

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Pork cutlet is served with fork and knifes in many pork cutlet restaurants, but some of them give the scissors instead of knives for cutting the food. I assume this is because for some Korean cutting with scissors are easier than the knives.

5. Korean street food

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Spicy rice cake(called Tteokbokki) and fried snacks(called Twigim); sweet potatoes, shimp, dumplings, squid, vegetables etc are one of the common Korean street food. As you can see in the above picture, when people cook the food, they frequently use scissors when cutting the food like fries, fish cake, eggs to put those in the Tteokbokki soup.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 7.35.02 PMAlso in street food restaurants, the scissors and tongs are prepared in each tables. When you are eating the Korean street food, you can cut those in a good size for eating it. 🙂Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 2.56.42 PM

Those 5 examples are just the part of the Korean foods which use the scissors. There are more list of the Korean food which commonly use the scissors. Then you will be curious why Korean use the scissors frequently.

In my opinion, there are main 2 reasons why Korean frequently uses the scissors for cutting food.

1. Korea Hurry-hurry culture

Korea has Hurry-hurry culture(called “Pali-Pali” in Korean) and many Korean has a habit of handling matters quickly and prematurely. For example, normally many Korean eat meal within 20 minutes, drink alcohol quickly and drunk fast, typical Korean restaurants serve the food fast. So I assume Korean also prefer the tools which can cut the food fast, easily and the scissors fit well in Korean characteristic.

2. Cooked by customers 

In many Korean food restaurants, customers have to cook by themselves for some part of the process of cooking. For example, grill the beef in Korean Barbecue, bowl the sausage stew and bowl the Bulgogi hot pot in the customer table. Accordingly, the tools, which the customers could easily cut and not dangerous, should be prepared and the scissors was the proper tool in these requirement. I think the knife will be little more dangerous for using compare to the scissors.

3. Many side dishes

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Korean food has many side dishes in one meal compared to other countries dishes. In typical Korean food restaurants have 11~25 side dishes that the possibility of having food which is hard to cut in one meal is high. Accordingly, the scissors are getting common for the use of cutting food.

Thanks for reading.:)

 

Why Pickles are always with western meal in Korea?

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My American friend asked me “Why there are pickles with every western meal in Korea? Pickles with pizza or with spaghetti is weird”. So I thought about the reason why Korean eat pickles with western food and today I will explain about it.:)

When you visit the western restaurant in Korea, you can easily see the pickles for the side dish. Korean usually eat pizza, spaghetti and other western food with pickles and I also like to eat with pickles. Even in the Mexican food, there is the side dish which is similar with pickles. The below picture is the Quesadilla what I ordered in Mexican restaurant located in Korea. The right side of the small bowls is the mix of chopped pickles, carrot and white radish.

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I visited the Costa Rica before, in fact  I never saw the pickles in any restaurant. When I was there, I thought the side dishes like pickles are common for the food, because I was grown in Korea where the pickles are always coming with the western food. Accordingly, at the first time when I ordered the food in Costa Rica, it was strange for me that there was no pickle or other side dishes with main dish. I asked to the waiter “Is there any pickles or something like that?” ,and he looked at me strangely. So I noticed it is not common for giving the side dishes such as pickles with main dishes.

In my opinion, the main reason why Korean eat pickles with western food is in the Korean food style; Korean food always has the side dishes.

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In typical Korean food, the side dishes should be with rice and soup and Kimchi is always included. 5-6 kinds of side dishes in one meal is normal for Korean, but I assume it will be uncommon for other countries’ people.

Korean doesn’t eat just side dishes by itself . We always eat the side dishes with other food such as rice. Few months ago, I had a chance for eating dinner with Indian person, but I was surprised because first he only ate Kimchi by itself without other dishes. I think eating the foods together was not common for him. Meanwhile, Korean eat the food together such as Kimchi with rice, soup with rice. Accordingly, Korean also like to eat the western food with this habit that we eat the western food with pickles. I assume that for the other countries people the pickles are just an appetizer, but for Korean the pickles are one of the side dishes which should be eaten with the main dish. I even saw the Korean who eat the piece of steak, one spoon of soup and pickles all together in one mouth in the western restaurant.

In Korean dish, it is common to have the specific combination of food. The most common combinations are in below.

1. Chicken with white radish

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This is the delivered fried chicken and always the white radish is coming with it. I really like to eat chicken with white radish!!

 

 

2. Jajangmyeon with yellow pickled radish

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Jajangmyeon is the black-bean-sauce noodles, and it always comes with yellow pickled radish. The yellow pickled is made from the white radish, but yellow food coloring was used during pickling it.

3. Bulgogi with lettuce 

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Bulgogi is the Korean barbequed beef and we eat the bulgogi wrapped in lettuce. Also many people prefer to put red pepper paste, garlic, onion in the lettuce additionally and eat together.

 

 

4. Boiled pork with kimchi 

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Eating the boiled pork with white kimchi or the normal red kimchi is common. Korean usually wrap the meat with kimchi and eat together as the barbequed beef.

The perfect combination of Korean foods like these examples are more than dozen.

Also the interesting thing is when I asked to the Korean as “What is your favorite Korean food?” then many of them answered as “I like Back-ban(meal with bowl of rice,soup, and side dishes)” or “I like the all kinds of Korean stew”. However, Korean always eat stew with rice and other side dishes that this answer includes they like to eat the combination of stew, rice and side dishes. Thus, many Korean prefer to eat the western food with this Korean food style that we are eating the western food with pickles. 🙂

This is my opinion of the question. If you have different idea or question please leave the comment. Thanks for reading.:)

 

How Koreans celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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In Korea, Valentine’s Day is simply a way for women to show their interest and affection to men by giving them chocolate. This custom of gifting chocolate started in Japan in 1936, and this Japanese style of Valentine Day came to Korea. Although Valentine Day is used to cater more towards couples, or those wanting to confess their secret loves using a romantic day as an excuse, in recent years, Valentine Day has expanded to include family, co-workers and pretty much anyone you come into contact with on those days. Accordingly, female coworkers give the chocolate to the male co-workers and female students give to the male friends.

However the presents in Valentine Day’s are not limited to the chocolate. Recently, Korean man’s wish lists have changed, due to the current economic climate. The research, which you can see in below, is the list of the presents what Korean men want in Valentine Day.

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As you can see in the survey, majority of men would prefer to receive cash.

However, giving the chocolate is the most common presents in Valentine Day and many women (or girl) are interested in, making the handmade chocolates.

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Hand made chocolates and the hand written letter are also the good way to impress the Korean boyfriends. 🙂

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Then what about the men? The men get their turn to give presents to women on March 14th-White Day. Men are expected to reciprocate with non-chocolate candy to the women who remembered them the previous month.

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Consequently, you can see all kinds of candy offering in all the same places in Korea as you saw chocolate in Valentine Day.

Thanks for reading:)

 

 

 

What is the Korean study room?

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This is the one of the common place where Korean students study. Mostly high school students use this study room, but also the middle school students, the adult who are preparing the test and few elementary students use the study room.

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In the study room there is a front desk that people charge the money and get the seat to study. After you assigned the seat you go to the passage which seems as the right picture.
독서실1In each room there are many desks and when the high school, middle school exam day comes these seats get all full. As you can see in the left photo, there are curtain in each desk. When students study many of them draw a curtain and study. For my experience, it blocks the back and side of the view that it is good for concentrating.:)

 

I started using the study room when I was 13years old that I usually did homework, prepare and review the class. The cost is about 7K~10K KRW($7-10) for one day and 140K~200K KRW($140-200) for one month. But it is depends on the place where it is.

I think there are 2 main reasons why this kind of the study room has been developed in Korea.

First, Korean students study hard and they need some place to study until midnight.

The Korean high school life is quite hard for studying. Normally they wake up at 6:30am and leave the house an study until 12-2am. The common students’ daily life cycle is study in school until 4-5pm and then go to the Hagwon(private after-school academies). When the Hagwon is finished, they go to the public or privates study room. Finally come home at12-2am. So the study room is one of the popular place for students to study after the school and the Hagwon are finished. Accordingly, there are many Korean study room and running the study room is the one of the well known business in Korea.

Second, EXAM EXAM

In Korea, many things are determined only with exam and we call this “Gosi system”. Gosi is the difficult civil servant examinations that if someone want to be a lawyer, middle, high school teacher, public institution employees…etc, they all need to pass the hard test. Normally these test has 2steps and it only has once in a year. If someone failed the test, they should wait another one year to take a test. The number of selecting is decided that some test only select 10-20 people in a year and the competition goes to 100:1 or more than that. Because of this reason, passing the exam is really hard that normally it took 2-3years. Accordingly, students study 13-16hours in one day and many of them study in Korea study room. In Seoul there are special towns for studying the national exam which are called Sinlimdong and Noryangjin that in these towns there are lots of study room.

Exotic type of the Study room

1. One room for one person(Study cube)

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.21.11 PMWhat you can see in the left photo is the study room for one person and it is called ‘study cube’. In some of the study room it is also prepared that people can use it. But the price is little more expensive than other common study room which you saw in the above picture. When you are studying, you can close the door that it is free in the noise and good for concentrating. However for some of the students this place gives the feeling of stuck that they don’t prefer this place to study.

 

2. Study room in home

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This is the common desk which is in the Korean students’ room. But Some of them prefer the below one that they put the study room in home.

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One of my friend had this study table in home and I asked “why you bought and put in home?”. Then she said “It is good for concentrating”.

Pros and cons of study room

I used the private study place for more than 10 years in my life and I will explain the pros and cons depends on my experience.

Pros

  1. Good for concentrating:

Blocks are both side of your seat that there is nothing to disturb your sight, and there is no TV, computer which can interrupt your study.

2. Get good effect from others:

Other people are studying in the same study room, and you can get the desire to study. When other people are studying hard, you will feel that I should study hard too.

Cons

  1. Can feel stuffy:

The study room’s table and the space are small. In my case, sometimes I felt stuffy that couldn’t study in study room anymore in that day. The blocks in side of the table can good for concentrating, but sometimes that can make you feel stuffy

  1. Have to pay money:

If you study in home or in public library, you don’t have to pay money. But this place cost money for everyday. 140K~200K KRW($140-200) for month can be a big money for students.

3. Except the study table, it is dark:

In the first picture in this article, you can see the study room is dark. Personally I don’t like this dark. This is because it made me sleepy and for me this environment made my eyes to have astigmatism. After I entered the university and stopped studying in study room, astigmatism of my eyes got disappeared.:)

Thanks for reading and if you have some exotic table in your country, it would be grateful to leave the comment about this or the link.

 

About Korea military-Does all Korean men HAVE to go military?

Yes. All Korean men should go to the military about 2years and the type of the military is divided as army, navy, air force, KATUSA(Korean Augmentation Troops to the United States Army), ROTC.

KATUSA-The most preferred military

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Normally when the boys get sophomore they go to the military and the most preferred military is KATUSA. This is because when they enter the KATUSA not only can learn English but also working environment is better than other Korea military.

If someone wants to apply the KATUSA they need at least TOEIC 780 or TOEFL 83. Even, there is an English institution for entering KATUSA and some of the classes are called “KATUSA road map” “KATUSA entrance class”. Before it was common for applying 2, 3 times and wait 2,3years to go KATUSA. But recently the law changed for preventing the negative effect like waiting few years and now people can only apply one time.

The way not to go military

2years are quite a long time and many methods are used to escape going military. Especially for celebration, singer, athletics, it is a big abandonment of the income, if they decide to go military when they are in best days. But the problem is Korean men should go military before getting 30 and can’t delay more longer. Some of them used the below way not to go military.

1. Weight

If someone is less than 40kg(88Ib) or more than 120kg(264Ib) can avoid going military. But this weight can be little different depends on the height. There were people who changed the weight and didn’t go military as eating more or eating less.

2. Birth tourism-US citizenship

Birth tourism was and are usually used for avoid going military. Birth tourism is travel to another country for the purpose of giving birth in that country that US is the most preferred for birth tourism. Korea grant citizenship by descent while US grant citizenship by birth that if someone’s parents have Korean citizenship and born in US can have both countries citizenship. However, when someone became 22years, he or she has to select between the two. If Korean men choose US citizenship, he can avoid going military.

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3. Tattoo in a body

If there is tattoo more than 70% in a body, they can be except for going military. Because of this reason, normally many gang members didn’t go the military. The reason of the rejection is military is a group life, but the big tattoo can make other solders feel aversion.

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4. Extraordinary way

-Disguise as a mental patient as depression, social phobia.

-Cut fingers with straw cutter for evading the military

-dislocate the shoulder for evading the military

-take out testicles and prostate for evading the military

These are the part of the ways which people used. However, if  these acts are found for the purpose of evading the military, he has to go to the prison between 1year and 5years.

Thanks for reading.:)