5 Best Things About Korean Food Service

As we prepared to move here last year, whispers of Korea’s innovative dining experience had drifted across the ocean.  However, the full extent of the creativity and convenience behind Korean food service cannot be understood outside of first-hand experience.  To give you a taste, here are five things that have impressed us about food service in Korea:

Call Buttons

Almost every restaurant table has a nifty call button to alert your waiter if you need something! Sometimes, there are even multiple buttons requesting different services (food order, more beer, more water, bill, etc.). call buttonThemed Cafes

Korea has a huge variety of themed cafes!  Mostly located in and around Seoul, these cafes offer a large range of entertainment, from animal snuggles to Lego building to photography practice.

Here are some examples:

||Cat Cafes||

cat cafe

For around $8, visitors can purchase a coffee and spend the afternoon snuggling with felines.

||Sheep Cafes||

sheep cafe

Same idea, minus cats, plus sheep.

||Hello Kitty Cafe||

hello kitty 2

Perhaps the most iconic cafe in all Korea, Hello Kitty Cafe is on almost every Seoul tourist’s bucket list.

||Photography Cafes||

photography cafe

Cafe’ra in Incheon offers a unique experience for aspiring photographers. Customers who bring their personal DSLR cameras are allowed access to the cafe’s wide array of lenses to try out in the shop! All this while sipping away on a caramel macchiato.

“Service” = Free Stuff!

Often times restaurants, as well many stores, will add complementary items to a customer’s original order.  For example, we purchased pizza the other day and were given a 2 liter of Coke for free.  At a coffee shop sometimes you get lucky and the owner gives you a free pastry to go with your coffee!  You never know when it will happen, but you will find yourself automatically and perpetually fist-pumping the air when it does!

Fast Food Delivery

Just when you thought fast food chains’ low prices and huge servings couldn’t get any more dangerous or tempting!  Almost all fast food chains deliver here in Korea!  With no additional charge, McDonald’s offers “McDelivery” to almost any location.  It doesn’t even have to be your apartment!  Taking a stroll through the park, you often see a family setting up the picnic blankets on the grass, waiting for the McDonald’s delivery bike to bring their feast.

mcdelivery

No Tipping

Last, but not least, is the total lack of tipping in Korea!  Although this aspect is not exclusive to the country, as an American, no tipping has made life a lot simpler.  Also, sales tax is built into the menu price.  So, what the menu says is what you pay, that simple.

What are some of your favorite service experiences from travels abroad?

Advertisements

I am a Middle School Teacher

So we’ve officially been in our new city for three weeks! And during this time, I’ve done a terrible job keeping up a flow of updates.  Sorry about that.  It seems that, for the past couple of weeks, it has been success enough to continue adjusting to a foreign land.  After work, we barely have enough energy to walk two blocks to our neighborhood market to pick up bread, let alone process into words every change our lives have undergone these last few weeks.  But I think we can finally say we are adjusted to the reality that we aren’t going home next week after a lovely Asian vacation.  We are here to stay.  This is our new “home.”  At least until the next grand adventure. 

My primary middle school!

My primary middle school!

So, I’m a teacher.  Two years ago, I would have never guessed that every week, I would be standing at the front of a classroom, teaching over 600 students who barely speak my language.  Each day requires every ounce of my creativity, as I am continuously searching out successful methods to communicate to a bunch of angsty teens who’d rather be listening to E.X.O. or beating LoL than playing bingo with English vocabulary words.

And I absolutely love it.

Each week I teach at two middle schools in our little town.  My primary school is the local public middle school.  Here I teach 15 different classes of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  My classes emphasize the listening and speaking aspects of language.  The students are a wide range of completely dedicated to completely uninterested, completely crazy ( I get an average of around twenty TEACHER WILL YOU MARRY ME’s a day), and completely adorable ( I had one sweet little boy bashfully admit to me he liked to sing, and then not-so-bashfully break into a ballad for the whole class to hear!).

My adorable seventh graders!

My adorable seventh graders!

My secondary school is an all-boys Catholic school.  A little bit of a shock here, as I wasn’t told it was all-boys, and discovered this forgotten detail the minute I walked into my first class.  I quickly adjusted to the 40 pairs of little eyes staring at me, and pulled out my feeble knowledge of popular Kpop girl bands!  Apink, you saved my skin, as my boys have officially given me the stamp of approval, after I let them each take turns saying which girl in the band they thought was prettiest. 

The native teachers at each school have been so welcoming to me, and I am already making good friends with the sweet gray-haired history teacher who sits next to me in the teacher’s office.  We enjoy using Google images to help communicate back and forth about various subjects (Last week, he pointed to the computer screen and proudly exclaimed: “Jimmy Carter! Handsome boy! Favorite president!”).  Several times a week we will end the day with one of the teachers running out to get a big box of food from a neighboring street vendor.  We’ll gather around the little table, break out the disposable chopsticks, and commune together over deep-fried squid, marinated rice cakes, and Sundae (rice noodles cooked in pork blood, stuffed into a pig intestine).

My co-workers are incredible! We may not speak the same language, but their kindness is evidenced every day by sweet little gifts and welcoming smiles.

My co-workers are incredible! We may not speak the same language, but their kindness is evidenced every day by sweet little gifts and welcoming smiles.

Brady teaches at two elementary schools.  His primary school is on the other side of the road from mine, allowing us to walk to and from school together every day.  DREAM COME TRUE.  I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to see my sweet husband’s silhouette coming up the sidewalk to pick me up after class, and walk side by side with him home, sharing the funny things our students did that day.

Brady has had an awesome experience so far.  I always knew he would be the perfect elementary teacher!  He is excited to start incorporating his passion for art into his classroom, encouraging the kids to make their English endeavors artistically creative.  Being young and cute and innocent, Brady’s students love to sing every day in class, and are extremely affectionate and helpful (He told me today that he tried to make them play a competitive game in class, dividing the kids into teams.  The students refused to let anyone lose, and every winner stopped to help the struggling students finish the task!). 

Well, lesson planning is calling my name, so this teacher better hit the books before heading to bed.