7 Little Things I Love About Korea

As there are things that bug me about living in Korea, there are of course many things that I love about living here. Many of these things, are little things. But when I first came to Korea, these little things weren’t so little. They were new, different, exciting, and groundbreaking. Now, they have become such a normal part of my daily life, that I barely notice or appreciate them anymore. Today I want to take a step back, and appreciate them as much as I did when I first got here. Here are seven little things I love about living in Korea.

1. Keypad Apartment Locks

So simple, but SO convenient. No worrying about “did I lock the door”, or “I forgot my keys”. I definitely take this for granted most of the time! Just enter the 4 digit code on your way in, and it locks automatically on your way out! I thought I’d miss carrying around a set of keys here, but no. Keypad locks for the win!

2. Cheap Alcohol

I don’t drink often, but when I do, I’m definitely picking up a $1.50 bottle of soju, or a couple $1 beers! It makes stressing about the price of alcohol non-existent, and something you never have to worry about when planning a night out. I am not looking forward to heading back to Canadian prices, to say the least.

3. Alcohol Availability/Freedom

On the same note as above……being able to buy alcohol at any convenience store, and drinking it, basically anywhere you want. Outside of convenience stores, on a train, in a park, you name it!

The convenience stores here even have little patio tables and chairs set up outside, where you can usually find some elderly Korean men crushing some beers.

Or, on the steps!

4. School Lunches

Because it literally feels like you are eating at a Korean restaurant every day! Big portions, usually semi-healthy, and always delicious.

5. How to Get A Server’s Attention

You know how back home, to get a servers attention at a restaurant, you have to wait for “the right moment” or until you make eye contact? In Korea, you have two options that put this awkward dance to shame. First, the majority of the restaurants will have a button on the table, which you simply press to notify the server you need them. Awesome! Second, if a restaurant doesn’t have this button, or if you simply prefer more “human interaction”, you can just yell “jogiyo“, and add a little wave. This basically means “excuse me”, and they will come right over to help you! And this is considered polite!

Two awesome ways that make life in restaurants much easier. Especially in a foreign country!

6. Convenience Store Food

And by food, I don’t mean chips, cookies, or other snacks. I mean real food (well…..maybe almost). Like rice, veggies, and meat combined in a delicious triangle formation, known in Korean as samgak-kimbap, or what us foreigners call “a kimbap triangle”. Regular kimbap (which you can also get at convenience stores) comes in a roll formation. It’s almost like sushi, but no raw meat. It’s such a unique, simple, cheap on-the-go snack. And it’s so fun to eat!

7. Unlimited (Free) Side Dishes

Korean side dishes could basically be a meal in themselves. Braised quail eggs, fried tofu, chunks of potatoes glazed in a sweet sauce, and infinite types of kimchi’s (yes, there is way more than one type of kimchi- cabbage, cucumber, radish…..I could go on). And the best part? Free. Refills. No rationing, no worrying about what happens when you finish it all. Just shout the convenient “jogiyo” (see point #5), point to the dish, and more will be on it’s way shortly.

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And there you have it! 7 little things I love about Korea. I’ll miss these things once I’m home in just under 2 weeks! Canada, see you soon!

-Laura

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