So I’ve been in Seoul about three months and haven’t blogged once about it. Instead I’ve blogged about Hong Kong, San Francisco and Colorado. It is a big like putting a heroin addict in a room full of gak and then still finding it there three months later.
Seoul is everything I love in a city. It is big, it is messy, it is an absolute mystery. It is completely and utterly different from anything. In comparison China is easy and Japan is boring. It has history, a lot of it. Cultural and sociological hierarchies are drilled into everything. Everytime you see the oldest guy in a lift slam straight through everyone to get out first (including the pregnant lady) it is not because it is rude; it is because people think a bit different. Importantly, not wrong but different.
Also people here love drinking. I love drinking. And food when drunk. Seoul has a lot of that as well. So why haven’t I blogged? The simple reason is I want to do Seoul justice. It is a magnificent complicated place and there are nearly no proper food:culture resources on it in English. And the lack of English ties in with one of the reasons it is so great: because there are no expats. Koreans have their own little fiefdom and I regularly spend days without seeing a white guy apart from me. You end up strangely nodding when you do cross paths with another whitey.
Pretty much every single foreigner lives up in Itaewon and nearly 99.9% teach English. Oh and they are American. The first thing every Korean asks is “are you an English teacher”? No.
So what I want to do is properly give Seoul its due. And that is hard, especially through a lens of food when you can’t even order because you don’t know how to say anything. It has taken me three months to kind of pluck up the bravery to begin as unlike Hong Kong, Europe or the most of the rest of Asia there are no resources to rely on.
I am not saying there are no blogs, there is actually a pretty big K-blogosphere but the kind of food:culture hipster international food trend rubbish I read and write doesn’t quite fit in. Blogs where people get emotional about wonton noodles and organic produce. So that’s the aim. But first for those who, like me, come here and wonder where the hell to find food:culture opinion stuff, this is what I have gathered so far:
An Alien’s Day Out - a vegan in Seoul. Near impossible so ambitious.
Pikelet & Pie - food and beautiful pictures
The Seoulist – a relatively new website but I love their excited attitude to Seoul
Seoul in the City - a Korean American returnee
SeoulSuburban – riding the Seoul metro to all of its stops.
SeoulEats – one of the reasons I eventually found myself in Seoul was a food tour with this guy
There are a series of big publications like Seoul Magazine, 10 Mag etc. which cater to the wider expat crowd. And a lot of fun vlogs about Korean culture like EatYourKimchi and helpful guides to Chris in South Korea and the Marmot’s Hole. Any and all other suggestions more than welcome. Especially insanely foodie ones.