Drama in the Kitchen! Restaurant-Themed K-Dramas Served À La Carte

Restaurants and K-dramas. One does not initially associate those two together, but like ingredients used to make a delicious dish, this mix creates perfect harmony. (Besides, everything could use a little more food.) That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular K-dramas that are set and centered around restaurants and chefs. Check them out to find your next binge!

Pasta (파스타)

For lovers of both Korean and Italian cuisine and culture, this K-drama was made for you! Originally airing on MBC in 2010, this series centers on a romance occurring in the workplace of a restaurant. The drama focuses on Seo Yoo Kyung (The “Queen of Romantic Comedies,” Gong Hyo Jin), who is trying to become a successful chef. The daughter of a Chinese restaurant owner, Yoo Kyung must work her way up from the lowest position of kitchen assistant at the high-class La Sfera Italian restaurant. Things only get more difficult for her when a new hire (Coffee Prince’s Lee Sun Gyun) appears, and fires all the female employees. Will Yoo Kyung be able to get her job back and become the next great culinary chef?

Flower Boy Ramen Shop (꽃미남 라면가게)

Flower Boy Ramen Shop is also known as Flower Boy Ramyun Shop or Cool Guys Hot Ramen.

Twenty-something university student Yang Eun Bi (Bluebeard’s Lee Chung Ah) wants knowing more than to become a high school teacher. The cocky Cha Chi Soo (Cinderella With Four Knights’ Jung Il Woo) is the son of the owner of the Korean largest food company. They keep running into each other until eventually the two end up as coworkers at a ramen shop. The 2011 romantic-comedy series is the “first installment of tvN’s ‘Oh! Boy’ series of Flower Boy programming targeted at the teenage demographic.” But who are we kidding? Us adults are watching too!

I Order You (당신을 주문합니다)

This 2015 romantic-comedy series follows divorcee Yeo Gook Dae (TVXQ’s Jung Yunho a.k.a. U-Know) as he struggles to deal with his heartbreak. He’s also a skilled chef, running a homemade dosirak (packed lunches) shop. When he meets Park Song-ah (I Picked Up a Celebrity on the Street’s Kim Ga-eun), it seems as if yet another women has come to frustrate him as bickering quickly ensues. Will Gook Dae learn to love again? Can hate turn into love? This K-drama is based on a web novel of the same name, and originally aired on SBS Plus and Naver TV Cast.

Feast of the Gods (신들의 만찬)

This MBC K-drama, originally airing in 2012, is heavily focused on Korean tradition and cuisine. It tells of two stories of four women whose lives are connected. In the middle of all the drama is the prestigious royal Korean cuisine restaurant, Arirang, where only the best chefs are hired to continue on the heritage. Jealousy and pride drive the two rivals, Sung Do-hee (My Daughter, Geum Sa-wol’s Jeon In-hwa) and Baek Seol-hee (Living Death’s Kim Bo-yeon), for position of master chef. Many years later, another pair of young women (Hong Gil-dong’s Sung Yu-ri and The Beauty Inside’s Seo Hyun-jin) compete for this position. One of them seems to be the expectant recipient of the job since her mother once was master chef at Arirang. Things get even more complicated when it is revealed that the girls have a lot more in common than just cooking.

Oh My Ghostess (오 나의 귀신님)

Also known as Oh My Ghost.

tvN’s 2015 K-drama Oh My Ghostess not only deals with romance but also the supernatural. Na Bong Sun (Strong Woman Bong-soon’s Park Bo Young) is shy, has low self-esteem, has no friends, but works as an assistant chef at Sun Restaurant. Oh, and she can see ghosts sometimes… because of her shaman grandmother. That’s the least of her problems since she’s hiding a crush on her boss, the arrogant star chef Kang Sun Woo (My Annoying Brother’s Jo Jung Suk). If this wasn’t bad enough, Bong Sun gets inhabited by Shin Soon Ae (The Guardians’ Kim Seul Gi), a young woman who died having never experienced romance. Soon Ae is determined to find love before she can finally go on into the afterlife. Will both women find happiness and their hearts’ desires?

What’s your favourite restaurant-themed K-drama? Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments!

Want to watch even more food-themed K-dramas? Check out Essential K-dramas for the Food Lover in All of Us!

25 Fun Facts About Korea!

Learning about a new country can be exciting, especially if you’re learning some fun and interesting facts along the way! Though small, South Korea is  a very diverse and interesting country. Here are some interesting tidbits that might make you want to go to Korea to discover more fun facts on your own!

1. 20% of Koreans share the same surname. The most common last name is Kim, followed by Lee, then Park.

2. South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgeries per capita in the world.

3. Double eyelid surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in South Korea.

4. Before the age of thirty, men must commit to 21–24 months of military service, even if they are a celebrity.

5. The 2018 Winter Olympics were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

6. Most fast food in Korea can be delivered right to your door so you don’t have to go to the store itself! Many places will also come and pick up the dishes when you’re done, making ordering food extremely fast and convenient.

7. Jjajangmyeon is one of the most popular dishes in Korea. More than seven million bowls are served every day!

8. Soju is the most popular type of alcohol in Korea with an alcohol content ranging anywhere from ~20%–40% for most bottles.

9. There are more than 200 different kinds of kimchi in Korea including regular kimchi with napa cabbage, cubed radish kimchi, and even cucumber kimchi.

10. In Korea, scissors are used to cut meat, noodles, vegetables, and kimchi.

11. More than 90% of the world’s seaweed consumption comes from Korea.

12. Seaweed soup is a very popular dish that is usually eaten on birthdays.

13. On Valentine’s Day, women give chocolates and gifts to their husbands or boyfriends to show their love.

14. White Day, March 14, is when men give gifts to their girlfriends and wives—with data showing that they typically spend about three times as much as they received on Valentine’s Day.

15. Black Day, April 14, is when singles come together to “mourn” the fact that they are single by eating bowls of jjajangmyeon.

16. South Korea is about the same size as Indiana, United States.

17. About 63% of South Korea is covered in forest.

18. There are more than 3000 islands around South Korea, with Jeju being the biggest.

19. The tallest building in South Korea is the Lotte World Tower in Seoul. It is also the fifth tallest building in the world.

20. Approximately 9.7 million people live in Seoul.

21. South Korea has the second lowest percentage of obese citizens, following Japan.

22. The internet in Korea is very fast, arguably the fastest in the world. Their internet is so fast that they are able to have many internet cafes, where people can go and play video games.

23. Because the internet is so fast, cyber sports are a big deal in South Korea! Stadiums of big-screen TVs are used for the competitions.

24. You are already one year old when you are born, and foreigners have a hard time grasping the concept.

25. Taekwondo is one of the most popular sports in Korea!

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These are only some of the most interesting facts about Korea, an ever-growing place with tons of different life experiences. 

Did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments!

Korean Snacks Raising the Bar

Korea has been raising the bar in many departments, inspiring the rest of the world from music to food. They have even continually released snacks that are both delicious and unique! Check out this variety of snack bars:

Market O Chocolate Bars

If you’re looking for an indulgent and rich dessert or snack, Market O Chocolate Bars just might have your name on them! These bars are sweet from both chocolate and various fillings. With the release of special flavours such as Cold Brew Tiramisu and Strawberry Tart, there are many unique and decadent ones to choose from as well.

Sweet Red Bean Jelly Bar

If chocolate isn’t quite your taste or you just would like to try something new or different, then Haitai may have something that interests you. The company offers a bar of sweet red bean jelly, also known as yanggaeng.

Coffee Jelly Bar

Haitai also offers a coffee-flavoured jelly bar for all you coffee addicts out there who just can’t get enough!

Crunky Double Crunch Bar

This chocolate bar packs a lot in a small package! It’s both chewy and crunchy with the saltiness of peanuts and sweetness of chocolate, and to top it off, there’s gooey caramel! Did I mention a creamy nougat center?

Melon Cake

Who doesn’t love melon and who doesn’t love cake? Answer: no one. Maybe this one isn’t exactly a snack bar, but it sure looks like one!

Strawberry Mochi Kit Kats

You’re probably familiar with Kit Kats; maybe even Japanese Kit Kats, which boast many unique flavours, including Matcha Green Tea and Apple. Kit Kat Korea also has unique flavours, such as a yummy Strawberry Mochi.

Kicker Chocolate Bars

If you can’t get enough of that delicious and crispy combination of chocolate with wafer biscuit, then you should try Korea’s Kicker chocolate bars! Kicker is basically a Kit Kat-inspired chocolate bar by Crown. They, too, offer a green tea flavour.

Ghana Chocolate Bars

A classic. If you’re a lover of a traditional chocolate bar, you must try Lotte’s Ghana chocolate bars! You can’t go wrong.

Dr. You 99kcal Light Bar

If you’re looking for a lighter, healthier snack, this bar is low in calories and full of nutrition to help energize you for the day! Oats and honey never fail to give both sweetness and fiber.

Rococo Chocolate Bars

This is another chocolate bar for lovers of fruit and chocolate combinations. This brand of chocolate has two dark chocolate bars for those who love berries: strawberry yogurt and blueberry vanilla yogurt.

Free Time Choco Bar

This is a great energy-booster for when you’re on the go! Consider it a Korean Snickers bar. It comes in a couple of flavours, including peanut, almond, and crispy.

Want more delicious snacks, particularly chocolate bars? The “I ❤ Chocolate” box is the perfect pick for you!

Which snack bar do you want to try? Do you have a favourite?
Let us know in the comments below!

South Korean Fast Food Exclusives! Get Familiar with these Unique Foods

Fast food chains often have some of the most well-known names around the world! Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and more are recognized globally for their tasty and quick meals. However, did you know that there are some fast food items that can be only be found in specific parts of Asia? Check out this list for some examples of unique food chain delicacies that you can find in the land of morning calm.

Pizza Hut Toppings

Western pizzas, while delicious in their own rights, are relatively tame when compared to their South Korean counterparts. What is a supreme pizza when compared to a double fondue beef and shrimp king pizza? While western Pizza Huts offer toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and olives, Pizza Huts in South Korea offer more than just the basic toppings. These extra toppings include garlic, steak, shrimp, broccoli, and more!

KFC and Beer?

Chicken and beer is an extremely loved pairing amongst South Koreans. This combination is so popular, that there’s actually a term used to describe this exact combo: chimaek (치맥). Wishing to capitalize on this comfort combination, many KFCs in South Korea actually offer beer on their menu!

P.S. Not only do Korean KFCs offer beer, but they offer fried ice cream for dessert as well!

Bulgogi Burger King

As the name implies, the bulgogi whopper is a menu item of many South Korean Burger Kings that substitutes the typical burger meat for marinated bulgogi meat. Its sweet soy sauce flavor is so appealing that it’s even spread to locations outside of Korea.

Supreme Shrimp in McDonald’s

Adapting to fit Korean palates, McDonald’s restaurants in Korea changed some of their menu items in order to appeal more to local customers. One of the results of this was the grand supreme shrimp burger. This burger features two buns filled with a shrimp patty, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce. This burger is definitely no joke!

While the western menus of fast food restaurants are good, it’s important to not forget that other places and cultures might offer something new and different. So if you’re ever traveling to South Korea, try these out! You won’t find them in any American establishments.

Have you tried any of these before?

Beware… You’re in for a Scare! Korean Urban Legends That’ll Give You Goosebumps 😬

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, but have you ever considered Halloween in January? Here are some of our favorite urban legends from Korea that may leave you feeling a bit uneasy:

The Slit-Mouthed Woman

It’s well-known that South Korea is typically mentioned whenever the topic of plastic surgery arises, due to the country’s profitable and successful industry. So, it’s no surprise that with that would come a tale of a less-than-fortunate client.

The Legend of the Slit-Mouthed Woman began with a man who saw her on a train. At first glance, she appeared to be a normal woman wearing a surgical mask. Nothing too alarming, as it’s not uncommon to see others amongst the streets in South Korea wearing a mask due to sickness or the cold. But when she spoke to him, that’s when things began to get strange. She asked if he thought she was pretty. Confused, he stayed silent. So she asked again, “Do you think I’m pretty?”

This time, he tells her yes. 

At that moment, she removed the mask to reveal a large gash across her mouth that stretched from ear to ear. “Do you think I’m pretty?” she asked for a third time, brandishing a scalpel. The man managed to get away, but it’s rumored that those who don’t escape her end up with the same gash across their face if they answer yes, and dead if they don’t answer at all. Moral of the story: look at the ground at all times.

The Cockroach Facial

Acne. Everyone’s had it, and a lot of people still suffer from it and the scars it leaves behind. However, many treatments are on the market. For instance, have you ever heard of using a cockroach to help?

In South Korea, you can get a facial using a purée of cockroaches to help battle those demons, but one man had an unfortunate accident with the bugs…

Legend says a man visited a fortune teller with acne so bad that he had reached his wit’s end. The solution he was given was to find a cockroach outside, and sleep with it beside his pillow. Following the advice, the man woke up the next morning and he noticed his scars were gone.

However, once he went in for a closer look… he found that the cockroach had laid eggs in his face.

Just remember to be careful about home treatments and remedies when it comes to your face!

“V” Picture

We all love to take pictures to capture life-long memories in just a split second! Well, many of us do. Some avoid taking pictures and don’t keep many around, and this urban legend is a good reason why.

The story goes like this: A man came across the scene of a horrible wreck. There, he stumbled upon a photograph. In the picture was a very beautiful girl giving a “V” sign (also known as a peace sign), and he liked the photo so much that he took it with him and put it in his car.

A few days later, the same man was involved in his own fatal wreck, one that another man happened to find. Amongst the wreckage, he found the same photograph undamaged. Just like the previous man, he also thought it was a very nice picture. So, he took it with him, keeping in his car the photo of the pretty woman—now holding up three fingers.

Cosmetic Sesame

Korea is known for beauty and skincare products, even skincare tips that are cheap, simple, and can do wonders for the skin. Have you heard how sesame seeds not only helps with hair growth but also promotes healthy, glowing skin? 

This Korean urban legend tells of a young girl who’s self-conscious about her appearance. After hearing of their skin benefits, she hurries home to take a warm bath with black sesame seeds. She soaks in the bath for several hours, long enough for her mother to decide to check on her. Getting frustrated with her daughter’s vague responses and extended time in the bathroom, the mother forces her way inside, opening the door to find her daughter madly digging out each sesame seed that had taken root in every one of her pores with a toothpick.

Handsome Stranger in the Elevator

You never know when you meet someone new what they will really be like. While meeting someone new can be scary in its own right, there exists a legend in Korea of a handsome stranger and a cute girl meeting, and the consequences of that encounter.

Legend has it that a young woman was alone in the elevator of her apartment building when a young handsome man boarded the elevator with her. They struck up a conversation, and quickly found they lived only a floor apart. As the elevator stopped at the man’s floor, he turned to the girl, gave her an odd, creepy smile, and said, “I’ll see you soon,” as he brandished a knife and ran towards the stair entrance, laughing like a madman.

The doors shut on the now-terrified young woman, but unfortunately, the elevator did not come with an emergency stop button. Filled with despair, she hammered on the other buttons, but of course, this did no good since her’s was still active. The next stop was inevitably her floor, and she knew death was waiting as the doors opened to reveal her crazed neighbor.

The moral of this urban legend might be just as our mothers always told us: Don’t speak to strangers, who knows what the consequences may be?

Heard any scary stories lately?

Source: x

Even More Food to Help You Through a Korean Winter!

Last week, we showed you 5 delicious foods to get you into the winter spirit and by popular demand, this week, we’re giving you 5 more! In this list, we’ll show you different meals and street foods that’ll keep you warm every winter in Korea!

Ddeok Mandu Guk (떡만두국)

Ddeok mandu guk, or rice cake dumpling soup, is a variation of ddeok gukthe famous New Year’s soup! The clear, garlicky beef broth soup is great for the snowy season! The addition of mandu (dumplings) helps you fill your stomach so that you can stay warm longer.

Street Waffles (와플 , wa-peul)

Yes, that’s right. Waffles on-the-go is a favorite snack for many Koreans in the winter. There are waffle stalls all over the city selling plain waffles to bubble waffles, and strawberries and whipped cream waffles.

Goguma (고구마)

Roasted sweet potatoes, also known as goguma, may just be the best thing about winter. They’re hot, filling, slightly sweet, and absolutely addicting. They are also very simple to eat! Simply unwrap them, carefully peel away the skin, and dig in. We recommend at least 1 a day to keep the chills at bay.

Hodu Gwaja (호두 과자)

The most memorable thing about my first trip to Korea was walking into the subway for the first time and being surrounded by a sweet, alluring smell. Sitting right in the middle of a hall to transfer subways, was a little old lady selling sweet bean and walnut cakes. These cakes are comprised of a whole walnut covered in sweet red bean paste and then dropped into a slightly sweet batter. They are perfect for snacking during a winter commute.

Steamed Corn (찰옥수수, chal oksusu)

As with goguma, this is another Korean vegetable favorite. Ears of corn are wrapped in aluminum foil and steamed, or steamed and then put into a plastic bag. I was surprised at how amazing these taste without the help of any seasonings or butter! Steamed corn is perfect for the longer walks around the city as they are larger and keep your hands warmer for longer. They’re cheap and perfect for the colder days of Seoul.

That’s it for this list. Now you can go and experience winter like a local with these popular foods!

Have you tried any of these Korean favorites?
What are some favorite foods in your area?

Written by matchalexie

Soju: One of the World’s Most Popular Drinks

Soju (소주) is a clear, slightly sweet and almost odorless alcoholic drink. The word “soju” means burnt liquor and stems from its filtering and distilling process.  It’s mainly produced in Korea and tends to be consumed in a group atmosphere such as after work gatherings.

As the demand for soju started to increase around the world in the last few years, it has continued to gain popularity, and the ways it can be consumed have changed. Soju was traditionally only drank straight up.  You can now find it consumed with other beverages such as beer or other mixers to make a cocktail. Manufacturers such as Jinro are now also making it in fruit flavours like grape, apple and lemon to keep up with ever-increasing demand. Soju is available at many liquor stores and restaurants around the world.

The distilling process that led to the creation of soju was brought to the Korean peninsula by the Mongols in the 1300s. The traditional method is actually quite simple: rice was cooked and placed in large clay pots called onggi (옹기), then yeast, sugar and water were added. The pot would be partially sealed with a cloth and clay lid to allow gas from the fermentation process to escape, and checked over a certain number of days to attain the percentage of alcohol wanted. At this point, it is called makgeolli, a milky-coloured rice wine of about 6-7% alcohol.

Another specially-made type of onggi would form a still, where the liquid was placed over a heat source and evaporated so the condensed, purified liquor could be captured. Onggi are no longer widely used to create soju as a more efficient and cost-effective modern system developed. Both now and in the past, after the distilling process, the merchant may decide to add water to reduce the alcohol content and make it easier to consume.

The scarcity of rice due to the Korean War led to the government banning the use of rice for things like alcohol as it was needed more for food. Distillers turned to alternative sources, such sweet potato, tapioca, wheat and other grains to make their drinks. It was not until the ban was lifted in 1999 that the use of rice was allowed again. Because the population had become accustomed to the taste of the alternate sources, some manufacturers continued to use them instead rice (or combined them with rice), and some went back to the traditional method. Traditional soju is usually more expensive as it’s considered the pure and unadulterated form. To find out what your soju is made with, just check the label.

Since soju has become so popular, if you have not seen it in your neck of the woods, be sure to keep an eye out. You may see it soon and be able to try this alcoholic beverage for yourself!

Korean Snacks to Incorporate into Your Super Bowl Spread 🏈

BamBam spoke it into existence months ago, so why hasn’t it—GOT7 headlining the Super Bowl halftime show—happened yet? C’mon, people!

Maybe you know because you live and breathe American football or maybe you don’t know because ball is not your life, but Super Bowl LIII is only weeks away. As one of the biggest eating days in America, game day spreads give all major holidays a run for their money with some seriously good grubbing. My strategy come Super Bowl Sunday is to monopolize the food table and stack up my plate to epic proportions as everyone else crowds around the television to watch the Patriots and Rams take the field. And, with these Korean food and snack substitutes for some of the more classic game day dishes, I’m thinking a few of you will be implementing the same strategy.

Ready? Break! It’s game day, and we’re scoring touchdown after touchdown on our taste buds thanks to these snack swaps.

Korean. Fried. Chicken.

When I think game day fare, I think wings. But wings are so last year! These days, Korean fried chicken is where it’s at. Whether you’re hosting the party on February 3 or bringing a dish to share at a gathering elsewhere, you’ll be met with cheers when you show up with Korean fried chicken in tow.

Ramyun vs. Chili

Football games are long! While kick off typically happens when it’s light outside, the party doesn’t usually wrap up until the sun is gone, a.k.a dinner time. In my house, chili is a game day staple because it’s easy to make in large quantities and it’s delicious. Since everyone is doing chili, why not bring a few dozen packets of your favorite Korean ramyun?! A Fever Guys’ fave is Samyang because it brings the heat and eating it is sort of like a game in and of itself.

Ditch Nachos for Cheese Bingsu

And I thought Americans put cheese on everything! While cheese and ice cream (or anything sweet really) seem like they wouldn’t work well together, cheese bingsu should actually be considered a global treasure. Ditch the nachos on game day and go for cheese bingsu for a concoction that mixes sweet and savory so well, you won’t know if you should eat it as an appetizer or a dessert.

Chips, Chips, and More Chips Please

Chips are universal! Fritos, Lays, and tortilla chips are the usual stars of a game day chip-and-dip combo, but I’m thinking about switching it up this year and bringing a bag…or five of my favorite Korean chips! Turtle Chips, Alligator Chips, Honey Butter Chips, the list goes on and on, and you can’t go wrong with any of the snacks on it.  

Bring A Case of…Soju!

Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol, but also soju is soju is soju. Spruce it up or drink it the traditional way, the mission of 2019 is to make soju synonymous with the Super Bowl. Down, set, hike!

I’m cheering for you to have the best Super Bowl yet this year, Fever Guys Fam!

Korean Snacks No One Asked For 😲

South Korea has gifted the world many delicious and unique snacks throughout the years. From Honey Butter Chips to Milkis, there are a wide-range of unique K-snacks that are extremely popular not only in Korea but worldwide. However, not everyone is perfect. Even Korea has a few snacks so unusual that you just might ask, “Who thought that was a good idea?”

Here’s just a few K-snacks that no one asked for:

  • Corn Popsicle

You’ve heard of creamed corn maybe? How about corn and ice cream? There’s a couple unique ways to eat this sweet food.

  • Coleslaw Popcorn

If you enjoy dipping your popcorn in mayo, you might like this for a snack!

  • Squid Peanut Balls

Although squid and peanuts sounds like a strange combination, this snack must be popular because it’s been around for more than forty years! This is a crunchy snack of peanuts covered in a squid-flavoured coating.

  • Yogurt-Flavoured Potato Chips

This is the snack for you if you can’t get enough of yakult.

  • Cola, Sweet Mayo Cheese, and Yogurt-Flavoured Pringles

If you enjoyed the yogurt chips, Pringles has got you covered. Pringles has been producing more than just Original and BBQ flavour. The popular potato chip brand has been taking some bold moves with their new flavour releases lately in Korea. This includes Sweet Mayo Cheese, Yogurt, and Cola.

  • Inkigayo Sandwich

This unusual sandwich first obtained its popularity after idols would eat it at the SBS cafeteria before going on Inkigayo. The trend has continued, and many convenience stores have since come out with their version. If you’re interested in trying to make your own, you’ll need bread, egg potato salad, cabbage salad, and, last but not least, strawberry jam.

Which snack would you be willing to try?
Let us know in the comments below!

If you want a guarantee of delicious flavour, try SnackFever’s Deluxe Box!

Cover Image: EatYeot