The Oddities of Korea

Well,  these will probably be ongoing posts because while living in a foreign country you see, encounter, and have to live with things that seem a bit odd (to us the foreigner).  Here are just a few to get us started.


This is a picture of the shoe shelves at school.  Everyone has indoor classroom shoes (crocs for most).  I bought a pair of different shoes like toms…I didn’t think crocs would compliment my outfits most days.  In people’s houses and some restaurants you must take off your shoes too.

All schools, restaurants, and business have these water dispensers. Most you use a small paper envelope to drink out of.   Next to it is Korean instant coffee; that’s everywhere too, including our house.  Ethan was really excited to buy a box of 60.  Now, coffee is easier than ever…


Almost all public bathrooms will just have a bar of soap and a public hand towel.  Apparently, Koreans don’t usually wash their hands.


This is our bathroom at home.  You are supposed to wear bathroom shoes in the bathroom and they should only be worn in there.  Shh don’t tell, we sometimes wear them around the house too.  Oh and Ethan’s are 2 sizes too small; we need to look for a bigger size.


If you haven’t heard, Koreans believe in something called “fan death.”  If you sleep in a room that is too small with the door closed and no windows open, you can die.  Therefore, all fans sold in Korea have timers on them.  Here is what wikipedia says on the topic:


No dishwashers in most Korean households.  Even if they do have them, they usually don’t use them, which is crazy to me considering they use SO MANY dishes (remember that picture of the table with like 70+ dishes on it).


They use these instead of closets.


Any beer besides their native beer is super expensive.  Also, it is easier to buy single beers than six-packs.  14,700 won is about $14.70


No dryers either, so you use drying racks.  Also, the top towel is a regular sized bath towel; however, Koreans don’t use that sized towel…they use the one below it.


We always have to turn on our hot water before a shower.  It has become a joke cause we always forget until we are ready to jump in…then we have to wait.  Also, there are no furnaces you just have hot water pipes that heat the floors.  Piggy was gracious to make us labels for the buttons.  🙂


Koreans have cold noodle soups in addition to hot noodles.  This is Naengmyeon it is fishy and spicy with radish garnishes and buckwheat noodles which are slightly chewy.  Notice the slushy ice in the broth.  I kinda liked it 🙂  I hear it grows on you.


Whiskey or other kinds of alcohol besides their beloved Soju are not very common.  As you can see they can be quite expensive too!  Soju is a rice alcohol that may be most similar to vodka (or rubbing alcohol in my opinion).  More to come about Soju.
So, in addition to beef jerky they have squid jerky.  Cheaper too!


Here is Mr. Soju.  A happy fellow.  Soju comes in a beer bottle and they drink it like beer even though it is 19.5% alcohol.  You can buy a bottle for about $1.20 where as the Budweiser next to it is $3.00.


Eggs come in packages of 10.


Back to our bathroom… notice, the sink is at my knee and we have no shower curtain.  It is rare that we have a tub most of the time the shower is just attached to the wall and there is a drain on the floor.  We have that too…just spray down the bathroom when it comes time to clean it.

This is a little crazy right… ice cream on a waffle (green tea and strawberry) and of course grape tomatoes to garnish!  I guess they use them on cakes too.

These little guys show up a lot in stews and other soups.  Quite chewy.

Koreans don’t have full size ovens.  They have toaster ovens.  Just convert celsius to farenheit and baking banana bread is no different.

We’ve started a Saturday morning coffee shop tradition.  However, our first Saturday we found out that coffee shops don’t open until at least 9:30 am.  However, the Korean restaurant down the street was open at 9:00 am.  I guess coffee isn’t necessarily a morning starter.  Coffee shops are busier in the evenings.  Also, if you thought Starbucks was expensive think again.  Our coffees and muffin were over $12.00.


5 thoughts on “The Oddities of Korea

  1. I loved reading this post Sandra! It seems like you two are getting along quite well 🙂 If all goes well, Jared and I might be over there in February!

  2. Ann: Ethan has been quite adventerous in trying all kinds of food…so yes he did try it. He will not be buying it again. He only made it through half a tenticle, it was very tough.
    Jared&Amber: So glad you enjoyed it! We’d love to see you over here!

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