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It would be a push to call the weather this week “warm”, but we are finally heading in that direction. That means it’s almost time to start making use of Seoul’s many rooftop restaurants, cafes and bars.
Harvest Namsan is nestled up against the southern foot of Mount Namsan, right down the street from the Grand Hyatt Seoul. It claims to be farm-to-table, but I think everyone’s already come to grips with how seldom those claims are true (not just in Korea, but back home as well). Nevertheless, there seems to be a genuine effort at Harverst Namsan to seek out local and organic produce, and they do grow the odd veggie up on their sprawling rooftop patio, which overlooks the whole of Haebangchon.
The menu on their website is not to be trusted — it was completely out of step with the one we were presented with, which is a double-edged sword. While I was sorry not to be able to try a particular duck dish, it does mean that their menu is seasonal and frequently updated.
Harvest Namsan is nice because they manage to integrate Korean-specific ingredients into their Western dishes without Frankenstein’s-monster results. Their technique is not flawless, which is fine, because the prices rival those at local Western family-dining chains for much fresher and more creative fare. But the flavor profiles are mostly on point, and surprising, in a pleasant way. Nothing was over- or under-done for my taste (with the exception of the lamb being a bit overcooked) — saucing was appropriately portioned and mostly suited the dishes.
The one small quibble I had other than the lamb was about the pizza, which was sauced with gaetnip (perilla leaf) pesto. I was quite looking forward to trying the pizza, because gaetnip pesto was one of the major trends sweeping fusion-esque restaurants last summer, but, while the pizza was very nice, the flavor of the perilla leaves just didn’t really come through.
The stuffed eggplant was above reproach, though — just a perfect, tasty little appetizer. I’m looking forward to going back and seeing what else they’ll get up to in their kitchen.
The interior of the restaurant is nice, so don’t back away at the door if it seems the rooftop dining is full or if it appears that it might rain. The same lovely view of central Seoul unfolding toward the northern bank of the Han can be glimpsed from the windows inside.
When the weather gets just slightly warmer, I’ll be calling to ask if their patio is pet-friendly. With a growing recognition that refurbished older buildings have a lot to offer, and on a much kinder budget than complete rebuilds, more and more Korean restauranteurs are making good use of the flat roofs that come with many older Korean buildings. I just hope that Seoul will become more pet-friendly as the outdoor spaces available to patrons increase.
Charlie’s manners aren’t quite restaurant-ready just yet, but hopefully we will get there soon. (We’re working on leash-training our oldest cat, Vera, as well, as she’s been quite keen to escape out into the garden lately, but that seems a somewhat more longterm goal.) While a lot of restaurants in Seoul with outdoor spaces have crammed a few tables into small spaces along busy sidewalks (something that wouldn’t work well for Charlie on the best of days), Harvest Namsan’s somewhat remote location away from the street and sidewalk traffic would be ideal for a few hours in the sun enjoying a nice meal and a coffee with your pup at your feet.
서울특별시 용산구 이태원동 258-202
258-202 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Sunday-Monday 12pm-12am; Closed for break 2:30pm-5:30pm
Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.
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|Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea|
My Life! Teaching in a Korean University:
University Jobs Korea: universityjobkorea.com
Is Poor English Writing Holding you Back? What would it mean to your studies or career to be able to write quickly and accurately in English? Imagine being able to sit down at your computer, and then write an English email in five minutes. Or, be able to write a …
The post 71 Ways to Practice English Writing: Tips for ESL/EFL Learners appeared first on My Life! Teaching in a Korean University.
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Age in Korea is very important. Far more important than it is in Europe or the USA. Often the first question that people ask is ‘How old are you?’ Age is important not just for things like whether you are old enough to buy cigarettes and alcohol, but for a whole variety of social interactions in Korea.
People use different language when speaking to people of a different age. They expect people to act differently, with younger people expected to pour drinks, or older people expected to pay for things. Even the way you refer to your friends is based on their age; if they are a year older than you, they might be your 누나 (noona) or 언니 (eonni), if they are younger, they will be your 동생 (dongsaeng).
With all this importance put on age, answering the question ‘How old are you?’ is very important. But the answer to the question might not be as simple as you think it is.
Age in Korea is different from age in other countries. You may be thirty years old whether you are in the USA, France, or Russia, but as soon as you arrive in Korea, you magically become thirty-one or thirty-two. How can this be? Well, Koreans have a different way of calculating their age than people in other countries.
People in most countries calculate their age based on their birthday. If you were born on April 1st 2000, then you would turn 17 on April 1st 2017. However, in Korea, age isn’t calculated based on your birthday.
A Year in the Womb
If you are born in the USA, then on the day after you are born, you are considered to be one day old. The nine months that you spent inside your mommy’s tummy are not considered part of your age. In Korea, on the day of your birth, you are considered to be one year old; the time you spent in the womb counts as the first year of your life (despite it only being nine months). Because of this, your Korean age is always at least one year higher than your international age.
Happy New Year, and Happy Birthday Too!
Everybody in Korea shares the same birthday: January 1st. Well, not really. Everybody has their own birthday, complete with cake and candles. But on your birthday in Korea, you are not considered to be one year older than the day before. Instead, Koreans all age on the same day. January 1st. No matter when your birthday is, if you were 40 years old on December 31st, then on January 1st, you will be 41. Korean age works as if everybody was born on January 1st.
Calculating your Korean age
If you did happen to be born on January 1st, then calculating your Korean age is very easy. Just add one year to your current age. For the rest of us, things are a little bit more complicated.
First we need to add one year to our current age to represent the time in the womb. Then, if you haven’t had your birthday yet this calendar year, you need to add one more year to your age. So, for example, if today is February 14th, and you were born in July, you would add two years to your age. If today is February 14th, and you were born in January, you would just add one year to your age.
All of this seems very unfair on people born in December, who spend most of the year being two years older in Korea than they would be in other countries.
If you want to calculate somebody’s age mathematically, you can use this simple formula:
1 + Current year – Year of Birth = Korean Age
1 + 2017 – 1990 = 28
Obviously, there is a large chance of confusion when non-Koreans talk about age with Koreans. The way that most Koreans avoid confusion is to use the terms ‘Korean age’ and ‘international age’ when talking about age.
한국나이 (Hanguk nai) – Korean Age
만 나이 (man nai) – international age
저는 올해 스물 살이지만 만으로는 열아홉 살이에요.
(jeoneun olhae seumul salijiman maneuro yeolahop salieyo.
I’m twenty in Korean age but nineteen in Western age.
Other terms you could hear:
You may also hear these terms when people are talking about international age. They all mean the same as ‘만 나이’.
국제나이 (gukje nai) – international age
미국나이 (miguk nai) – American age
외국나이 (oeguk nai) – foreign age
When is international age used in Korea?
As a general rule, Korean age is used for social interactions with people, whereas international age is used for more official things. For example, the age limits written on alcohol, cigarettes, movie posters, and so on are based on international age. The legal age for most things in Korea is 19. This means international age ‘19’.
Wow, we are the same age!
As age determines a complete host of social interactions in Korea, being of the same age as somebody can make everybody feel more comfortable. If somebody that you have just met finds out that you are the same age as them, they will often be excited. This is because if you and your friend are the same age in Korea, neither person will have any of the social obligations that come from being a different age from each other. Being the same age as another person has a special word in Korean: 동갑 (donggap). You will often hear the expression 우리는 동갑이다 (urineun donggapida) which means ‘we are the same age’. As the Korean age system is based on year of birth, rather than your birthday, you will always be the same age as this new friend. Even if your birthday is the very next day!
Now that you know the difference between Korean age and international age, calculate your Korean age. But don’t be upset that you have suddenly become two years older. Age is just a number, after all.
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I’ve wobbled back and forth on whether or not to do this for a few months now. On the one hand, conspicuous consumption, capitalism, etc.; on the other, we all need things to live. Sometimes it’s hard to find decent/handmade/well-crafted things to live with here in Korea, if your Korean isn’t top-notch. Even after I finished language school, it took me a while before I was able to really venture beyond Gmarket, Coupang and the department stores.
So I decided to add a wish list category to the blog. To be clear, I’m not in anyway sponsored by any of the companies whose items will appear on the lists, and I won’t even own most of them. Some of them are (and will remain) well out of my price range. These aren’t reviews or promotions. The only point of these posts is to introduce some new things (and shops) to readers.
(And maybe, just maybe, somebody’s husband might be reading somebody’s blog, and take a few hints about somebody’s future birthday/anniversary/Christmas gifts. Ahem.)
So, as for the list…
- Organic Whole Dark Wheat from Soseng; 6,000 KRW for 1kg
- Wild Cherry Tree Honey from Gre-eat Market; $15 US
- 7-year-developed Soy Sauce by Eomma Senggak from Soseng; 10,000 KRW
- Smoked Pastrami from Salt House; 12,000 KRW
- Natural Syrup Set A from In Season; 48,000 KRW
- Cockscomb Flower Tea from I Love Flower Tea (꽃을담다); 26,000 KRW
I thought, since this is a food-focused blog, it would only be right to start with food. There is a lot of cool stuff going on right now in Korea, in terms of artisanal food products. Korea moves at the speed of light, and while the last wave of trends related to foreign ingredients that rode in on the FTA still lingers, there is a whole new generation of Koreans who are reimagining the roots of their own food culture.
Using the broadened perspective a greater influx of foreign goods has given them, city dwellers in particular are returning back to food practices once thought to be out-of-date by young urbanites with busy work lives. Some of items on this list, like the syrups, are very basic reinterpretations of traditional practices that have fallen out of use among new generations of Koreans.
While mothers and grandmothers in hometowns across the country in that great region commonly known as Not Seoul may click their tongues at the prices, the women in most younger Korean households are already balancing childcare with grueling work schedules. It is appealing to be able not only to purchase, at the click of a button, a modern version of the 청 (cheong, fermented fruit or grain syrups) their mothers made over the course of months, but also to have those syrups available in innovative new flavors.
Other artisanal items, like the soy sauce, are strictly traditional, but have been eclipsed in recent decades by cheap, factory-produced alternatives. The slow food movement has had a big impact on Korea, partially in reaction to foreign trade and policy developments like the adoption of the FTA.
While Koreans have been quick to adapt to foreign ingredients and cooking methods, a protectionist instinct has also arisen in response. The desire to keep Korea’s food culture and industries alive and thriving, and to not lose sight of how good Korean ingredients can truly be when made well — that is, slowly — has led to a proliferation of modern Korean food masters, who protect and keep the old traditions.
Some of the artisanal products that have appeared on the Korean scene, like the pastrami on this list, represent the incredible impact the migration of gyopo (ethnic Koreans born or raised abroad) into the country has had on the food scene here. Fluent, or at least conversational, in both food languages, gyopo have been some of the most successful in bridging the gap between “Koreanized” and “authentic”, managing in many cases to satisfy both audiences (and pleasing the socks off of many foreigners who have felt otherwise stranded in a foreign-food desert for years).
Overall, though, the main thread connecting the items on this list is the fact that I want them all. The pastrami I have had and can vouch for — it also needs to be said that Salt House’s smoked cheeses and almonds are out of this world, in my opinion, and B’s face lights up like the sun when I pull a package of their smoked bacon out of the fridge. In fact, there’s probably an entire post about Salt House coming at some point.
For now, I’ll leave you off here. I hope this post is helpful. Feel free to leave comments suggesting future wish lists you’d like to see. The wish list posts won’t normally be this long — I just got a bit carried away this time.
The Biggest Mistake You can Make for ESL Writing Not proofreading your writing is the biggest mistake you can make for ESL writing. This applies to students who are studying English as a second or third language, as well as native speakers. Almost everyone makes a lot of very simple …