We were at the dream depot in Cheonan-si, southeast of Pyeongtaek-si, getting craft supplies for our favorite game Terra Mystica. Being us, we left the house practically starving so we walked around the town of Seongwhan-Eup to find food. I was surprised how quiet everything was on a Saturday and we had a hard time finding a restaurant to eat at. Eventually, we walked into a little eatery with no menu and no English speakers. This shouldn’t be a problem though. I’ve slowly been working on my Korean for two months now and I should be able to order some sort of food.
Of course, I never fail to get tongue tied when a native starts talking to me at a hundred miles an hour. She was very nice and patient with us and the conversation went along the lines of:
Lady: Words words words words.
Me: Nay? (yes in Korean)
Lady: More words, faster now, words words words.
Me: (Pretending to be more confident) Nay. Nay, Nay.
We had a few more exchanges like this, I still have no idea what she said, and then she went into the back to bring out our surprise lunch.
This lady hit the nail on the head! The amounts were perfect for a family of 4, there was plenty of variety for the kids (no spice options) and she taught us how to eat it. The boiled meat and soup are unseasoned and we have to use the side dishes to give them salt and more flavor. There was a plate of salt, salty vegetables, spicy vegetables and extremely briny, tiny shrimp. The boys loved dipping the meat in the salt and eating the noodle sausages. The little shrimp were so salty that I gagged trying to eat one by itself. On top of the mystery meat the shrimp were divine. Jason says the meat was pork, not sure how he could tell.
I went to pay for the food and on a full stomach my Korean language skills came back to me and I could ask her how much. I expected to pay around 20,000
w (about $20 American) but she said “mon won.” $10 dollars?! I thought I translated poorly again but I handed her 10,000 w with a big question mark over my head and she just laughed and told me I was correct, majayo. The kindness and honesty that I find in every shop and restaurant in South Korea continues to astound me and I feel so comfortable eating out in this wonderful country.