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Camino del Chuseok

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Korea’s been blessed with a super-holiday this year and flights are too rich for my blood so I’ve been dreaming up the perfect staycation for months now and it’s just days away.

Two good friends from my days in Jeonju 전주 are hopping an intercity bus to Busan 부산 and we’re going to live the good life for a few days. For me, that means a routine of morning exercise, discovering new spots, and then watching the sunset with friends.

I’m calling the morning exercise plan the Camino del Chuseok because it’s inspired by the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. Chuseok 추석 is a major family holiday in Korea and many Koreans will visit their ancestral hometowns to practice rites with their families. Since the three of us don’t have ancestors to visit here, we’ve had to make alternate plans~

Each day, Megan and I will trek a part of the Galmaetgil while Tessa goes sightseeing and then we’ll meet up for a drink at the beach in the afternoon. We’re staying 4 nights on the east side of Busan near Course 1 and 2. Originally I wanted to pitch a tent each night and look up at the full moon, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate a soft pillow and a warm shower at the end of each section.

I’ll be posting throughout the week with our anecdotes as well as some useful info for future Galmaetgil hikers.

Galmaetgil 365
A year of movement



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Welcome to the Galmaetgil (“gahl-mate-gill”) 365 blog~ I’m going to hike/walk/trek Busan’s best trail system in 365 days, starting October 2nd, 2017. I also will be going “in order” beginning with Course 1 and ending with Course 9. Sometimes I’ll be going it alone and other times with friends – feel free to reach out through the contact page and walk with me!

I hope you enjoy reading this year and if you do catch a factual mistake, please contact me so I can fix it ASAP! I’m hoping to improve my writing skills and fitness at the same time. ^^

Eating Korea

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Book Review
Eating Korea: Reports on a Culinary Renaissance, by Graham Holliday

Graham Holliday’s love affair with Korean cuisine started back in the mid-90’s, when he came to the country to teach English. Delving into the food was a priority for him from the get-go, so much so that when it came time for teaching assignments, he jumped at the chance to go to North Jeolla province after learning that it’s considered the epicenter of Korean cooking.

It turned out to be the right choice. Over the course of a year he was seduced by the pungent, fiery, pickled goodness served up on local tables, and in the end he was hooked for life.

After Korea, Holliday settled in Vietnam, where he started the Noodlepie blog, documenting his headlong dive into the infinite splendors of Vietnamese food. His work eventually caught the eye of Anthony Bourdain, who commissioned him to turn it all into a book for publication on Ecco Press, his personal imprint at Harper Collins. Holliday accepted the challenge (you don’t really say “no” to Bourdain), resulting in Eating Vietnam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table. The book did so well that Bourdain offered him a follow-up. Holliday chose to return to the place where it all started, and Eating Korea was born.

The “glorious shithole” where Holliday decided to take the plunge into full-time writing.

Eating Korea documents Holliday’s two-month trek up and down the peninsula in search of “the food Koreans eat every day.” From the beginning, he embraces the oft-observed notion that Korea is a place where the new and old exist concurrently, where tradition and hyper-modernity are by no means mutually exclusive. The fact that he chooses to begin his culinary journey in a basement joint in Seoul serving up “fruit cake pizza” tells us that he’s not afraid to delve into this new Korea, even if he’s not too thrilled with the results, describing the overly-sweet slice of fusion pie as “some kind of hermaphroditic food form.” He then goes even further: “If there truly were a loving and truly compassionate god, Korea’s pizza trade would have been erased from existence long ago.”

Seolleongtang. Yes, please.

Despite starting on shaky legs, Holliday is soon in the thick of good eats in Seoul, getting down with you-can’t-go-wrong dishes as kimchi jjigae, galchi jorim (hairtail fish braised with radish), and perhaps capital’s best offering, seolleongtang (sliced beef soup). He seems happiest when digging into these standbys, and his words really spring to life once he steps into the hallowed ground of those older restaurants. Despite his obvious love for Korea as a whole, the food’s the thing, and the writing burns brightest at the table.

That’s not to say that this is strictly a food book, since the food serves as springboard for so much more. Holliday gets that we can’t really wrap our heads around a culture until we experience what they eat and how they eat it, and throughout his journey we begin to develop a greater understanding of just what makes modern Korea tick. These lessons often come via his many dining companions, usually Koreans turning him onto local restaurants that they’re particularly proud of. As they slurp and munch their way through meal after meal, his counterparts open up about their own lives. These conversations are candid are sometimes quite critical of Korea as a whole. “We’re a sick society in many ways,” says one woman. “We developed so fast, in such a short period, that we don’t actually enjoy ourselves apart from eating and drinking.”  

Holliday’s exploration of the Korean table covers much of the country, taking him to Seoul,  Chuncheon,  Busan (full disclosure: my wife and I make a cameo), North and South Jeolla Province, Jeju Island, and back to Seoul.  From dalkgalbi joints to raw seafood stalls to the compound of a master concocter of soy sauce (yes, there is such thing), he savors it all. The only major place he skips is Daegu, which, according to him, is said to offer up the very worst in Korean fare.  

It’s unsurprising that the concept of rapid change continually rears its head throughout the book. This is a constant that anyone who writes about modern Korea must contend with, and Holliday looks it squarely in the eyes when he returns to Iksan, the city he called  home in the mid-90’s, only to find the old downtown and traditional market in a state of shabby neglect. “The air now seemed coated in a treacle of nostalgia,” he writes. “It was like I was walking among the dead.”

While Holliday employs a quiet, wry sense of humor throughout, the book enters the territory of laugh-out-loud funny during a scene in the city of Mokpo, where he sits down with two seasoned expats for a meal of hongeo, the notorious regional dish of pee-fermented skate. He describes the scene with hellish accuracy: “It was like I’d severed a critical pipe in a chemical factory. I imagined a bunch of mad scientists running around my head attempting to contain the toxic leak as I felt the ammonia of the fermented piss surge.” Anyone who has been unlucky enough to gag down a piece of hongeo knows exactly what he’s talking about, and that he’s not exaggerating in the least.    

Though it doesn’t win any beauty pageants, hongeo (fermented skate) looks better than it smells or tastes, by several orders of magnitude.

For anyone interested in Korean food, or in Korea through the window of its food, Eating Korea is an essential read. Holliday writes with a sharp eye and a gentle touch, inviting us to sit down with him while he takes the chopsticks to a cuisine that is just as ever-changing and resilient as the people who have been preparing it for centuries. It’s a book that’s as delicious as the food it celebrates, and I guarantee you there’s no way you’re getting through it without taking down at least one bowl of kimchi jjigae.  



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Walking along the stream, Cheonggyecheon (청계천), in Seoul is one...

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Walking along the stream, Cheonggyecheon (청계천), in Seoul is one of my favorite daytime activities – but it’s great for a sunset to nighttime stroll too. It was really nostalgic + emotional for me, not knowing when I’d be back in Seoul. Let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Start in Cheonggye Plaza and then go down to the stream. You can get there from Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5 or City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1 & 2), Exit 4.


Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.


How to Say ‘Good Luck’ in Korean

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Once you’ve made some Korean friends, another thing you may want to learn is how to say ‘Good Luck’ in Korean. Whether it’s for before an important job interview, or an upcoming first date, or just during any regular school or work day, your friends will be extremely delighted to hear you say it.

We wish you good luck in learning how to say ‘Good Luck’ in Korean today!

*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!

‘Good Luck’ in Korean

Good Luck Text

There are a few ways in Korean in which you can wish someone good luck, most of which are rather informal in nature. The one you are likely to hear most often is 화이팅 (hwaiting), which is Konglish for “fighting” although it doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but essentially means you’re wishing the other person good luck. It is a very informal phrase to use, so you might want to keep it to just friends.

Another way to wish someone good luck, especially for an exam or a job interview, is to say 잘봐 (jalbwa). The direct translation of this is ‘see well’, and it’s best used together with the word for exam – 시험 (siheom) – or job interview – 면접 (myeonjeob) – with the word for exam or job interview first, followed by “see well” 잘봐. You can view an example below in the sample sentence section. If the person you are wishing good luck to isn’t your significant other or a close friend, remember to add 요 (yo) at the end of the verb, the phrase now becoming 잘봐요 (jalbwayo), to make it more polite.


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences


잘보세요!  (Jal boseyo!)

Good luck (with ‘seeing’ something)!



면접을 잘봐요! (Myeonjeobeul jalbwayo!)

Good luck with your job interview!/See the job interview well!



오늘 시험 잘봐!  (Oneul siheom jalbwa!)

Good luck with today’s exam!/See today’s exam well!


항상 화이팅!  (Hangsang hwaiting!)

Good luck always!


Now that you’ve learned the ways for how to say ‘good luck’ in Korean, we encourage you to go out there and use them! Good luck! Er, we mean, 화이팅!

*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!



Photo credit: BigStockPhoto

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Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  


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Next to the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan is the UN Sculpture...

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Next to the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan is the UN Sculpture Park (유엔조각공원). It’s free to visit and a great place to walk your dog (on a leash only).

The cemetary honors UN soldiers who were killed in battle during the Korean War from 1950–1953, and the park was established as a sacred symbol of peace and freedom. 

Hours: October to April 09am-5pm, May - September 9am-6pm

Address: 93, UN pyeonghwa-ro, Nam-gu, Busan
부산광역시 남구 유엔평화로 93 (대연동) 일원

2017 Best Sheetmask Brands

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 Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

My Top 5 Korean Sheetmask Brands

The #1 cheapest and most talked about Korean beauty product is the sheetmask.  You can find them in any Olive Young, Tony Moly, Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop, and more.  There seem to be cute new sheetmask options coming out every week!  From Star Wars to Pokemon to Placenta, there’s constantly a new Korean sheetmask gimmick.  Which masks actually work?  I tried a bunch last year, but it wasn’t until I found a brand from a plastic surgery company after an ultrasound hammer treatment that I actually felt a difference.  Check out my go-to brands when I choose from my big bag of K-Beauty sheetmasks!

Review Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack G2Cell Genomics Code A Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

G2CELL (Genomics Code

Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack ($40)

I was introduced to G2CELL at the Euno.go and Ruby Plastic Surgery event.  This is by far my favourite sheetmask of the bunch.  While the fit isn’t amazing, the results are almost immediate!  I had super glowy skin all afternoon and evening after trying it on a Saturday morning.

G2Cell uses Biomimetic Water (composed of minerals, amino acid, peptide) and milk protein from New Zealand milk phospholipid.  SYN-COLL is used to used to reduce wrinkles and increase firmness through collagen configuration and the promotion of Hyaluronan.  Palmitoyl Tripeptide is also included.  Aquaporin protects skin from moisture loss and improves elasticity.  Carob Extract prevents wrinkle creation and improves skin elasticity. Elderberry Extract acts as an anti-aging, polyphenol ingredient.

  • Phospholipid: Linoleic acids play an important role in the human skin’s own synthesis of Ceramide 1.  This is a a lipid that is important for intact barrier function.  Natural phospholipids contain relatively high amounts of linoleic acids thus resulting in soft, hydrated, and protected skin.
  • Hyaluronan: Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or created by bacteria in a lab.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is used in a number of different anti-aging products because it can communicate with skin cells and boost collagen production.  The older your skin gets, the less collagen it produces.

 dr vip white pearl mask VIP Plastic Surgery Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Dr. VIP Korea (VIP Plastic Surgery)

DR VIP White Pearl Sheetmask 

This sheetmask is super creamy, has plenty of essence, but doesn’t drip!  I love using this sheetmask before bed, especially if I’m about to fall asleep in a mask.  This is a luxurious home sheetmask facial made using the same ingredients you’ll find in a fancy facial treatment at VIP clinic itself in Sinsa!  Each sheetmask is used for different skin types and purposes: moisturizing, brightening, anti-aging, firm, and more.  VIP also has its own line of facial sheetmask called ‘DR VIP’ White Pearl Mask, which is effective in anti-wrinkle and whitening care.

It is a daily care sheetmask (although a little pricy for daily use) that consists of a soft and fresh essence that moisturizes the skin. It consists of ingredients, such as Glutathione, pomegranate extract and persimmon tree leaf extract, which enhance clean and lively skin. In addition, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Noni extract provide healthy and elastic skin.

  • Glutathione: Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body, where it acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Chemically, glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
  • Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It is a peptide which is a fragment of SNAP-25, a substrate of Botulinum toxin (“Botox in a Jar”).
  • Noni: Noni juice is a dietary supplement extracted from the exotic fruit noni, and is commonly marketed as a general health tonic. Manufacturers promote noni for lowering cholesterol, promoting healthy blood sugar levels and for cancer fighting benefits.


  • After you wash your face, apply skin toner.
  • Then, wear the mask for around 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the product).
  • After you remove the mask, pat the remaining essence so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
  • Voila, you’ll experience improved skin!
VIP Plastic Surgery Center Seoul, Korea 
For free consultation, please send email at


Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Common Labs

My friends at GlamRecipe have really hooked me up over the past few months through their GlamRecipe StoreFront on Amazon.  Both the Vitamin B & C Honey “Ggultamin (Honey Vitamin)” Real Jel Sheetmasks offer tons of essence and actually feel like they make a difference for my skin.  I love the 2-step process including a finger peeling pad to remove dirt and dead skin.  Even when using a two-step cleansing process (make-up remover and either Banila Clean-It Zero or a foaming facial cleanser), this finger peeling pad always grabs more dirt I’ve not managed to remove.

The sheetmask itself is very wet and full of jelly essence.  Once you remove it from the packaging you’ll have plenty of leftover essence.  I usually put it on my neck, chest, and shoulders for additional hydration.  These masks are great because they hold really securely and you can actually feel the difference in hydration in the morning.  These masks I’ll typically use after a big night out to revitalize my tired skin.  My personal favourite is the Vitamin C for the mild, citrus and honey scent, but find what works for you!

Common Sheetmask Ingredients

Each sheetmask contains both AHA and BHA.   Alpha hydroxy acid products containing lactic acid, tartaric acid, gluconolactone, or glycolic acid are typically applied to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin twice a day. AHAs and BHAs as exfoliants can really change the look and feel of skin for the better!

  • TWO STEP MASK with FINGER PAD FOR MILD PEELING: for the best effect, dead skin cells should be removed before applying any type of sheetmask. The GGULTAMIN Vitamin C Sheetmask is an all-in-one sheetmask containing a finger peeling pad, which effectively removes dead skin cells and any dirt left on your skin. Containing AHA and BHA the sheetmask delivers a mild peeling effect.
  • HONEY AND PROPOLIS: each sheetmask contains 33ml of essence with honey and propolis extracts for intense moisturisation. Honey is one of the best natural ingredients to provide and maintain moisture in your skin. Propolis contains Flavonoid, a natural anti-aging ingredient that helps to protect vitamin destruction.
  • GEL TYPE ESSENCE (33ML): thick jelly texture delivers active ingredients deeply into your skin without drying up. The generous amount of essence allows you to also use it for your face and neck.

Review Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

 Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 


About the product
  • VITAMIN B: it contains Vitamin B5 to help stabilize the skin’s barrier, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. Applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin will increase hydration and improve softness and elasticity for your skin.
  • LYOCELL SHEET: the GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses a natural Lyocell fiber mask that perfectly adheres to your skin. It provides extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

    Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 


About the product
  • VITAMIN C: the sheetmask contains Vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
  • CUPRA SHEET : GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses cupra mask that perfectly adheres to your skin with extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

xaivita dr. sheet mask review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier


All XAIVITA Dr. sheetmasks have similar promises.  They aim to help “to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment and” relieving “skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.”  Whenever I get a new version of their 3-step sheetmask I’m wary of the strange ingredients.  I suggest you try them laying down as these sheetmasks are super wet and drippy. Your skin will feel intensely hydrated almost immediately, so make sure to use this brand before bed so you can let the essence really get to work without obstacles like makeup!


  1. Ampoule: Using the toner after washing, take proper amount of the content and evenly put on whole face.
    Lightly touch the face so that the content can be absorbed.
  2. Mask: After cleansing, take out the sheet and apply it over your face.  Remove the sheet after 10-20 minutes.
  3. Cream: After the Mask, spread uniformly along skin’s texture and massage gently.
 XAIVITA Dr. Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Sheetmask
Fine Dust Protector-Soothing and Moisturizing.  8.88% Gold Spider secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which can become tired from the external environment.
xaivita dr. sheet mask Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask
Fine Dust Protector-Moisturizing and Nutrition Supplying Horse oil.  Premium secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment.  It relieves skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.

Wish Formula Review Blackhead & BlackMask Home Spa Kit Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier


BLACKHEAD & BLACKMASK HOME SPA KIT (Black Sheet, Pore Tightening Serum & Black Stick) 10 kits for $ 9 99 

The blackhead sheetmask really does bring dirt and grime (blackheads and sebum) to the surface.  I haven’t mastered the black stick quite yet, so I’ve been using a peel away mask instead.  After that, I use the pore tightening serum which soothes skin quite well.  The next day I find my sensitive skin on and around my nose is incredibly soft and the pores appear much smaller!
About the product
  • BLACKHEAD REMOVAL KIT: a complete kit including a black sheet, pore tightening serum, and black stick work to gently take care of blackheads and pores.
  • 9 NATURAL EXTRACTS: ingredients from lemon balm, sage, witch hazel, mistletoe, peppermint, jack burdock, needle juniper, soapwort, and St. John’s wort work effectively to dissolve blackheads and sebum.
  • PORE TIGHTENING SERUM: consists of patented active ingredients to tighten pores and soothe skin, resulting in a silky smooth texture.

Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier spa white towels tiles bench yellow rubber duck massage

Go ahead, set up the bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine.  These awesome Korean sheetmask options will have you skin silky smooth in no time!  What are your favourite K-Beauty quick picks?  Leave them in the comments so I can give them a try!  While some items on this list were gifts from friends, former clients, and current partners, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.  Where to buy links are in pink however none of them are affiliate links.

The post 2017 Best Sheetmask Brands appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


Korea This Week: September 18 – 24

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‘The Flame War era’

Last Friday, Kim Jong-un set the Merriam Webster Dictionary website ablaze when, in a rare public statement, he referred to US President Donald Trump as a “mentally deranged dotard”. The antiquated insult came on the heels of the Trump administration’s announcement of new sanctions on North Korea, and Trump’s referring to Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man”.

Defined as “someone who is in his or her dotage”, “dotard” first appeared in the 14th Century and originally referred to an “imbecile”, though today it more commonly connotes senility or frailty. The New York Times noted that the word has only appeared in its pages ten times since 1980, mainly in references to classic literature in the Arts section.

North Korea has an uncommon knack for producing old-fashioned insults (Kim also referred to Trump as a “rogue”), which has long been surmised to be a result of their reliance on old English dictionaries, though I confess to wondering whether they were also cognizant of the more recent trend of applying “-tard” as a suffix and considered the resemblance a bonus.  

Time magazine recently ran a short but entertaining history of North Korean insults, the choicest of which were employed against the Bush administration, which was once collectively described as “a bunch of tricksters and political imbeciles who are the center of a plot breeding fraud and swindle”, while then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was singled out as a “political dwarf, human scum or hysteric… a fascist tyrant who puts an ogre to shame.” Oh, snap!

Closeup of Kim Jong-un’s coffee mug.

Going Dutch Goes Mobile

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that among Korean millennials, the practice of splitting the bill (what Koreans refer to as “Dutch pay”) has become much more common than among their parents’ generation. To keep in step with this trend, many electronic payment platforms (Kakao, Naver, et. al.) have arisen to help people split bills electronically.

This Korea Times article announces the coming launch of the “credit card Dutch pay service” by the Financial Services Commission, calling it the “latest breakthrough” that has been enabled by advances in “fintech” (a portmanteau formed from “financial” and “technology”), which joins “dotard” on the list of words I learned this week.

Though some diners, like myself, still divvy up bills using the time-honored method of forking over some cash, this could very well be phased out entirely in the not–too-distant future, as Korea moves toward becoming a cashless society. Because of the ease and ubiquity of electronic payment options, only about twenty percent of transactions in Korea still use cash, while coins have already been targeted for phase-out in a trial program announced earlier this year.

Costco Condiment Hack

This recent LA Times piece examines the Korean invention of an “indigenous Costco side dish” featuring food court onions mixed with ketchup and mustard. The resulting mixture, better known to Korea’s expat population as “Costco kimchi” or “Costco Onion Salad”, has long been a common sight at Costco stores all over Korea, where shoppers spread it on pizza, hot dogs, bulgogi bakes, or simply tuck into it as a stand-alone side dish.

Though some expats deride the practice as a kind of rampant, years-long abuse of a defenseless multi-national corporation, other observers have noted that it’s more easily explained as a confluence of the Korean cultural expectation of side dishes being provided with meals, and Costco management’s tacit acceptance of having inadvertently provided one.

A similar piece appeared a few years ago on (republished here), arguing that the practice is more fairly judged a “life hack” than a cultural hack job, and noting that, when spread atop a split-open bulgogi bake, Costco Onion salad is actually pretty damned good.

This is what I’m talking about, folks. Get on it!

And how was your week?


Follow John on Facebook @johnnicholasbocskay and Twitter @bosmosis

Creamfields Cakes & Flowers (크림필즈 케이크&플라워) is a treat...

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Creamfields Cakes & Flowers (크림필즈 케이크&플라워) is a treat everyone deserves from time to time. Everything is photo-worthy, a total sugar overload -and I love it. If you want to go with friends, keep in mind that seating is limited and each visitor is required to buy a drink.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 am - 10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm.

Directions: Take Hongik University station (홍대입구 역) exit 3. Walk straight for 2-3 minutes down the park, once you hit the first crossroad, it will fork into two streets. Take the street on the right and keep walking straight for 10-13 minutes. Once you pass a Hollys Coffee on your left, it’s the building right after that on the second floor. 

Address: 서울시 서대문구 연희맛로 33, 2F33, Yeonhuimat-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea

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