One of my favorite noodle places in Seoul is the 60 year old establishment known for their handmade noodles. The udon style noodles here are silky smooth and long. It is bad luck to cut the noodles but slurping is ok. Their spicy mixed noodles (bibimguksu) is a bowl of amazing buckwheat noodles with a spicy sesame sauce. Highly recommended for noodle lovers.
The reason Koreans are so healthy might have to do with seaweed soup. It is seaweed that oversees the birth of the baby into the world. It is the first meal that Korean mothers have after given birth and then will eat for the first few weeks after giving birth. Also seaweed soup is part of the birthday meal that mothers will prepare for their child’s birthday. As you can see, seaweed is a very important part of a Korean person’s life. Part of the reason for that is because Samsin: the God of Baby Spirits. In order to ask the god for safe delivery of the baby an offering of seaweed and pure white rice would be made. After the baby was born the seaweed would be used to make soup and served with a bowl of hot rice. This was in remembrance of the god who helped with the delivery. Plus the seaweed is full of nutrients. It is believed to help restore strength to the mother and help her produce milk for her newborn. It is also believed the soup would help the mother return to her original figure before childbirth. New mothers would eat this for every meal for the first few weeks after birth.
Also, women that were hoping to have children would rush to the household to make the soup for the new mother because it was believed it would help that woman conceive a child.
I just found out today that Starbucks will be starting a new nickname system where you can pick the name the baristas will call out when you order. In order to do this you get a rechargeable coffee card that is usually quite decorative. This year it has horses on it. This concept is trending in the Korean chatrooms and twitter the idea is very popular with Korean girls. They are trying to come up with unique names like “I will diet from this year”, “Bunny,” and “Gochingu.” Starbucks in Korea has done great things to localize. Every year the yearly planners are drivers for seasonal business. In order to get the yearly planner customers must buy 17 drinks. Within the 17 customers must buy 3 Christmas Promotion Drinks. The planners end up costing customers around 85,000 won (17×5000 won). Ironically, customers can buy the planners for only 25,000 won but they prefer to get the coupons and earn it. I knew girls that were doing the last week dash to get the coupons to get the coupons and they often ask their boyfriends and husband to drink Starbucks so they can get the coupons.
When Lawerence Ferber asked me to show him some of the culinary sights of Korea, I was like, sure, let’s go. It was fun talking with this very vivacious foodie. We went to some of my favorite hidden away places and I gave him some suggestions about where to eat. I was surprised to find a mention in the New York Post about me and my company, O’ngo Food Communications. Thank you Lawerence for the mention.
On paper, it looks like 2013 was a good year for me. However, I feel like I left a lot unaccomplished. This year I grew stronger personal connections and business grew but I feel there is still much more room for growth. There were quite a few missteps this year also I really need to take more personal time for my health. At the end of the year, I feel a bit drained so I really need to take steps to improve my energy and find inspiration.
My Accomplishments this Year
-Grew O’ngo Food Communications. More tours this year than last year and several big tours and events. We grew the multiday tour business. Also, we got major events such as for Harvard, Dannon Yogurt, the European Union, Jeonju City, and Korea Tourism Organizations
-Became a regular host on KBS for Daniel Gray’s Korean Food Story Corner and was picked as the number 4 top host on the show.