“I Should’a Learned Korean” 1/3

I am currently chillin’ at a Cafe Bene. Think Starbucks but classier, hipper, and cozier. Jess came up with the idea of blog posts centering around those moments where we run face first into a language barrier. Considering we had a rather large encounter this weekend, it’s about time I shared the love.

  • Saturday night was a friend of a friend’s birthday party somewhere in Seoul, near Gangnam. Skipping over the poor choice of dropping 50,000 Won on a club, Jess, Ashley, Meagan, and I piled into a cab we were hoping would take us home. There’s a very short list of what we can say to the cab drivers. “Suji-gu. Jukjeon-guk. Jukjeon-station. Yongin. Suji, Green Plaza.” This usually ends up getting very repetitive. And wouldn’t you know it, even with GPS, cab drivers have no idea where Suji is. Yes, we’re pretty backwater. Jess spent a couple of minutes with the afore mentioned dialogue. The cabbie spent maybe just as much time trying to type it into his GPS. Then we were off! It should have only taken us about half an hour to get home, at roughly 30,000 Won for the ride. We knew something was up  when we weren’t on the highway. Then again, when we passed Dongbaek, which is a way south of Suji. Jess again said, “Jukjeon-guk” and he pulled over, retyped in the directions, and we made a u-turn. We ended up getting out of the cab before our final destination because we finally figured out where we were when the cabbie was still super confused. 42,000 Won and over an hour later, we’re home.Maybe it was our accents.
  •  When you go to some restaurants here as a group, the hosts want to know how many people are eating. So if there are four people, and a dish can feed two people, you’d get two orders. We ran into this problem when we had pork kebabs. There were five of us, and we apparently ended up getting five orders, which probably could have fed 8-10 people. Tonight, we went out for Shabu Shabu and spent several minutes trying to tell the hostess what we wanted and how many people it would feed. There were five of us, and one order of shabu can feed two people. I think she was concerned we wouldn’t have enough food for everyone. We added an order of dumplings, and did our best to assure her that we’d be okay. I don’t know what we’re going to do without Rebecca here to mime our food orders.

    Shabu Shabu Preparations

  • There’s a kimbap shop right next to work. It’s cheap and one of the favorite places to go. However, the menu’s in Korean. And we’re not talking about menus on your table, we’re talking about plastered across the walls. (For more info, check out Christine’s post about “The Healthy Fast Food”.) How do you begin to order if you don’t know Korean? Well, I’ve had to rely on the tastes of my friends. Rebecca took me out to lunch there in January and I had some bulgogi dish, which was pretty decent. Then Jess and Meagan said I should try the cheese dokas (I know the spelling is incorrect, but that’s what it sounds like.) and it was delicious. It’s the closest thing I’m likely to get to schnitzel this far from Germany. Breaded pork with gravy and rice. You can get it with or without cheese inside. YUMMY and filling. I was in the mood for some soup, or jji-gae (chee-gae), and Meagan said I should try the budae jjigae, which I pronounce “Buddha Cheegae”. It was super hot, but good. The serving sizes are always too large for me to finish, but it’s nice to have something warm on a cold day.

    “Cheesay Dokas”

  • This one quite literally JUST HAPPENED. I went to order a hot chocolate, but I didn’t see it anywhere. I thought “Chocolate Frapeno” would be as close as I could get, since it was listed under the “Not Coffee” section. The guy taking my order said something like “pee-ping?”. And I’m thinking he was speaking Korean, so obviously I have no idea how to answer his question. He turned to the guy behind him and the other man clarified, “Whipped cream?” OH YEAH! Well of course! A few minutes later, I look and see my beverage is not in a warm and snuggly mug, but rather a cold plastic cup. What? No hot chocolate? WHAT? It’s alright though, considering it’s basically all I asked for only cold. It’s more like ice cream in a cup than anything else, so who am I to argue with that?

    Chocolate Frapeno at Cafe Bene


Look forward to more instances of “I Should’a Learned Korean”, as I’m sure there will be many! For now, I’ll leave you with some pictures and yes, I’ll even make an appearance. (Since my mom’s been mentioning that I should.) Also, good news, my first paycheck finally came in today! Huzzah!

Club Phantom with the girls and new friend, Amy.

Chillin’ at Cafe Bene