Seoul Eats is in the New York Times!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Written by Matt Gross

SOMETIME after midnight on a Sunday, the streets of the Myeongdong neighborhood in Seoul were quiet and cold. The young shoppers who flit from Adidas to Tommy Hilfiger to Club Monaco had gone home to study for December exams, and restaurant workers were setting barrels full of leftovers onto the curb to be picked up by early-morning garbage trucks. The city was going to sleep.

But over near the subway station, in a little orange tent, or pojangmacha, a good night’s rest was on no one’s mind, least of all mine. Inside, a semipermanent kitchen was working overtime, cranking out hearty, salty, spicy dishes to warm the air and fill the bellies of the drinkers around plastic tables.

Behind me sat a pair of university students practicing Mandarin; to my left were hip-hop hipsters in knee-length Nike parkas discussing, partly in English, how to pick up girls in Tokyo; before me, a man in late middle age regaled a group of 20-somethings with stories and jokes. On every table stood bottles, tall ones for beer and petite emerald ones for soju, the Korean spirit made from sweet potatoes.

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