포장마차, cheap streetside snack stands (actually designed for drunk people)
포장마차 = a covered wagon [carriage], according to my cell phone Korean dictionary
포장마차 in modern Seoul = tented street-side late-night munchies-satisfier
You won’t find this food anywhere else. Of course, it always tastes better late at night, when people are generally more drunk and perhaps slopping around the streets of Seoul craving some easy food. So that’s why the po-jang-ma-cha (I really do hate sound-translations…) begin making their appearances, often back-to-back on the sidewalks, around 10 or 11 every night.
Dad and I made a visit to his personal favorite and more-frequented 포장마차 last weekend. She remembered me from when I came last year!!! This woman is amazing. She sent her four kids to school in the States, and she’s been working her particular place in modern Korean culture for the past seven years. Plus, her food is also just better.
So that’s where we were having our late-night Korean snacking pig-out session after a highly and surprisingly disappointing stint at Between, a new lounge restaurant in Itaewon. (이태원 = neighborhood in Seoul most filled with Seoul’s foreign population; has recently bloomed into a major trendy restaurant scene; frequented by a lot of weirdos late at night.) Even from this picture you can tell how horrible the bruschetta was. Blech.
But the po-jang-ma-cha saved us. Because it was delicious. And because the woman was totally welcoming when I said I’d be back with a friend later this week.
YAY! I love becoming a familiar face!
Have I already said I’ve made friendly acquaintance with the cashier of one of my favorite cafes near my boarding house! He totally joked with me on my repeat visit when he smiled and said, “Wow, it’s been a while!” (In Korean, obviously.) Totally made my day.