When you’re traveling to a new and different country, you have the opportunity to try new things and gain new experiences. But sometimes, the best experiences always relate back to food.
Food is a universal asset that every human can relate to; we need food to survive, it’s just as simple as that. But food also represents a culture and the people of a country as a whole. There’s history behind every dish and flavor but we sometimes take it for granted simply due to that fact that we just don’t know. And when you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to explore and learn.
In South Korea, the abundance of food at cheap and reasonable prices will keep your bank account and wallet happy. After living here for a few months, I can see why a lot of people choose to dine out or grab a quick bite at one of the street stalls. I’m not joking when I say this, but groceries in Seoul can get a bit expensive. A friend of mine back home who is from South Korea warned me about the cost of groceries because I told her that I didn’t plan to eat out much and would rather opt to cook my own meals.
And boy was I wrong. I spent about $100+ or so on groceries a month that would only last me a short while if I planned to cook food every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the end, it started to add up. But don’t be alarmed; not everything here is expensive. For the most part, if you’re into eating a lot of fruits and meats, then it will add up. But if you’re more of a simple chicken salad type of person, then you’re more than fine!
Aside from groceries, Seoul is literally packed with restaurants where you can have a whole meal for less than $10. Plus, all the prices on the menu already include the tax and THERE IS NO TIPPING IN SOUTH KOREA. Why? Because everything is so fast paced here, Koreans believe that you should eat and be on your way all while still getting the same high-quality customer service that you deserve, just like every other customer walking through the door.
If you’re in the mood to eat Korean style BBQ, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, American, Italian, Desserts or simply want a burger from McDonald’s, expect great service with really nice people. When you’re eating out with a big group, remember to be polite and try not to be too loud. You can get unwanted attention that way. But it’s always better to enjoy new food together with people and create memories and experiences.
Food brings different cultures together, and even though we may not realize it until we’re actually sitting there staring at our empty plates, it’s a great way to meet new people and learn something new about yourself or the history behind one of your favorite dishes! Until then, always have a open and welcoming mind and tummy!