Dinner, Korean Style: Korea 9

Since my return from the DMZ on Saturday I've been staring at this little new post page, trying to write something about my DMZ trip. I mean, I went to North Korea. Surely that's blog-worthy? But sadly I just can't seem to write a satisfactory post. As a result, I'm tabling the DMZ for now. I'll get there eventually (I hope).

One of the most telling things about a culture is their relationship to food. How do they eat? Where do they get their food from? What do they eat?

I'm from the South, the land of cotillion and proper etiquette. Napkin in your lap. Start from the outside and work your way in. Glass at the upper right. No scraping silverware, burping, slurping or singing. Sit up straight and bring the food to your mouth. Make as little noise as possible.

Almost none of those rules apply here.

Here you sit on the floor. Your napkin doesn't go in your lap. Noodles are meant to be slurped and burping is totally acceptable. Bring your face to your bowl instead. There are only two real silverware choices: spoon or chopsticks.

I struggled at first. So many dishes involve noodles and there's just no proper Southern way to eat them with chopsticks. Against every fiber of my upbringing I eventually resorted to slurping my noodles.

Two weeks later I'm totally fine slurping away. I've come to the conclusion that that's the only way I'm going to get the noodles into me. I'm still working on not considering it rude to eat the way I now have to. But that's part and parcel of adjusting to a different culture. There are always different norms. Often you feel a little silly. So as I sit slurping my noodles I focus on the Korean experience I'm having.

I'm not quite to the burping yet.

1 comment:

  1. Just remember when you get home to not slurp your noodles. hehehe!