This week has been tense and filled with preparations for my final exams at Sogang. I just have one speaking test left on Monday, and then I’m graduating on Tuesday. YAY! It’s been so much fun to learn Korean in a formal setting and I don’t hesitate to recommend the Sogang program to anyone who is interested.

I finished my written exams yesterday and went out with my best friend to celebrate in the evening. That celebration involved a couple of firsts. I officially had my first 포장마차 pojangmacha experience in Korea. After a round of our go-to meal of chicken and beer, and a bowling game (where I took a serious beating), he insisted that visiting a pojangmacha had been missing in my Korean education. A serious flaw that he was obviously prepared to make amends for. And shouldn’t we have that soju?? For those of you who have never heard of a pojangmacha, it’s a food tent, where you can sit on plastic furniture and eat questionable food while drinking health threatening quantities of beer and soju. It’s usually crowded by young couples looking for a cheap date spot, or office workers needing a late night snack and a quick soju buzz.

Before we entered the tent, my friend let me read the menu and seemed quite amused at my reaction, when I read the word 닭똥집 (dakdongjip). Yes, Korean learners, that’s exactly what it means – chicken a**holes. If they are going to use that as an ingredient in a dish, at least make it sound less yucky. Oh my god! I obviously insisted on eating something else – and also steered clear of the chicken feet, the cow intestines, and the blood sausage. Instead, I ordered a spicy noodle soup and he ordered some fried spicy pork. It turned out to be much too spicy for him, but okay for me, so we ended up switching – much to the owner’s amusement. And then of course we had our soju. Obviously, one bottle was not enough, and this morning I must admit that there’s some truth to the saying that the best decisions are rarely made after midnight! Ouch! But it was worth it.

The seats inside the tent are not particularly comfortable and the napkins are rolls of toilet paper hanging from the ceiling. Very romantic indeed, haha. But the atmosphere was great, and many of the other customers seemed to be regulars, which added to the feeling of familiarity. At the next table, one of the girls, who seemed to be on her second bottle of soju, was complaining to the elderly woman who owned the the food tent that the guy she was seeing was acting like a total jerk. At one point, where my friend had gone out for a smoke, the girl, who must have overheard us speak in Korean, turned to me and asked “Did you hear what an idiot, I’m dating?” I smilingly answered that he indeed sounded like a douchebag. She instantly took a shine to me, and for a couple of minutes I was involved in a heated discussion about Korean boys with her and the owner. Haha, they should make a show called “Late night food tent confessions”!

The soundtrack to our entire evening was Psy’s newly released single called “I luv’ it”. They were playing it everywhere we went, so I thought I’ll share with you as well. Happy weekend!


  1. I loved going to pojangmachas in the late 1980s when I lived near the Yongsan train station. Then, just before Korea hosted the Olympics, they were outlawed. I’m glad to hear they have returned. Around that time, I took a Korean language course at Yonsei University. Like you, I enjoyed the formal setting. Thanks for your post and for this blog. I last lived in Korea in 1999 and have not returned since then. Your posts bring back fond memories.

    Liked by 2 people

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