Merry X’mas (메리 크리스마스) from Seoul!

X’mas lighting on the walls of Myeongdong Shinsegae Department Store

Merry X’mas!  Tomorrow is the X’mas day – wish all of you Happy Holidays! Although X’mas is a western festival, in South Korea, X’mas is also a great day for celebration with the family members and friends.  If you are not in Seoul, hope you may be able to get some X’mas greetings from Seoul from the two photos in this blog post. Continue reading

Experience Korean culture through performances!

One of the means of experiencing the Korean culture is to watch some performances with representative Korean cultural elements. There are in fact some good performances which you can enjoy even if you don’t know Korean. Let’s talk about some of them in this blog post. Continue reading

Which song is regarded as the unofficial national anthem of Korea?

Q: Which song is regarded as the unofficial national anthem of Korea?

A: Arirang (아리랑).

Significance of Arirang to Koreans

Arirang is a very popular traditional folk song among Koreans – virtually all Koreans, whether in South Korea, North Korea or abroad, can sing at least part of this song.  As a result, it has the power to unite all Koreans.  Throughout history, Koreans has sung it in both times of happiness and sorrow and this song is deeply rooted in the emotions of Koreans.   Continue reading

Let’s have a drink! – A look at the Korean drinking culture

A scene often appearing in the Korean TV dramas is people drinking alcoholic beverages and getting drunk. When you travel to South Korea, you can often see people drinking alcoholic beverages in green bottles called soju. According to a survey by the Korea Alcohol and Liquor Industry Association, in 2010, 93.8% of men and 83.8% of women said they regularly consumed alcohol. Alcohol is indeed an integral part of the Korean life.  Let’s talk about the Korean drinking culture in this blog post. Continue reading

Hansik (Korean Food) Series -Chimaek (Fried Chicken and Beer)

Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken

In the hit Korean drama, “My Love from the Star” (별에서 온 그대), the main female character, Cheon Song-yi, likes chimaek (치맥) very much.  Chimaek is the short form for fried chicken (치킨 – pronounced as “chikin”) and beer (맥주 – pronounced as “maekju”) generally used among the younger generations. Due to the popularity of that Korean drama in China, chimaek has also become a popular Korean food there. It was said that customers needed to wait in line for 3 hours to order fried chicken at some Korean fried chicken restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing. Continue reading

Hansik (Korean Food) Series -Kimchi

If you ask, “What is the Korean food that Koreans can’t live without?”  I am sure a lot of people (both Koreans and foreigners) will say “Kimchi”.  Kimchi (김치 – fermented vegetables) is one of the staple food of Koreans – you can always find kimchi as one of the side dishes on the tables in most Korean families and restaurants in South Korea.  Kimchi can indeed be considered as one of the national symbols of South Korea.  Moreover, in South Korea, when taking photos, Koreans say “Kimchi” to make people smile (the equivalence of saying “Cheese” in English).  In this blog post, let’s talk about some interesting things about kimchi, including kimchi being used as a theme in Korean pop culture like TV drama and pop song. Continue reading

Hansik (Korean Food) Series -Bibimbap

In my last blog post, I mentioned a survey conducted by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute according to which bibimbap (비빔밥) is the hansik eaten by most visitors. I am sure you will agree to this result – anyone who has tried hansik should have already eaten bibimbap.  Bibimbap is also sometimes served on Korean airlines.  Moreover, bibimbap best represents the metaphysical philosophy of hansik by combining the five colours (i.e., green, red, yellow, white and black) which represent the five elements (i.e., water, fire, wood, metal and earth) that make up the universe.  In this blog post, I will talk about this signature Korean dish. Continue reading