I admit it took me a while to begin this post. In hindsight, I think it’s because Seoul confused and fascinated me. Close your eyes, and you can almost imagine Seoul to be Los Angeles transplanted right into the heart of South Korea, an intersection between the West and East, a budding economic power with cultural soft power that has spread across the world, and a city proud of its powerful identity after years of conquest from outside forces. As American influenced as the city may initially feel, keep your eyes closed and you can sense China there too. Perhaps this is because we met several Koreans fluent in Korean, Chinese and English, and perhaps it was because I could palpably feel the North and South split. Yet despite this, South Korea was also distinctly, proudly and beautifully Korean.
Do you like spicy food? What about onions and strong, salty flavors? Or maybe you’re swearing off all carbs to try that new paleo or whole 30 diet. Well if you can check off any of the above, Korea is the place for you. The champions of fermentation (seriously, kimchi will be your primary source of vitamins during any trip to Korea), mysterious red chili sauce, and two inch thick pork belly BBQ, Seoul is a meat lover’s dream.
Written October 30, 2018 in the middle of the night.
Before coming to Seoul, everything I knew about Korea was based on my lil Sis’s love of BTS and the Tofu House in Palo Alto. To me, Seoul was squarely in lil Sis’s domain; it was her place, and I would feel a weird sense of betrayal for coming here before her. For that reason, Seoul wasn’t originally on our travel itinerary. But since Seoul is a major Asian technology hub with a consumer base obsessed with blockchain, AR/VR and mobile technologies, and since it’s only a 2 hour flight from Tokyo, we decided that lil Sis would have to stew in her envy for just a little longer until she can make the trip out. In the meantime, I am trying to memorize the faces of the Korean boy bands so I can immediately alert her of any sightings.