Post #40 – Pojangmacha in the heart of Seoul – Late at night when most families have retired to their homes and only business men and travelers are still out an about, carts start coming in. Routinely, they set up their kitchens in the back alleys of the center of the city, bringing out the catch of the day, clams, octopus, slabs of fatty pork, chicken skewers, and some side dishes.
There are also ramen noodles and lots of beer and soju. One never knows who will take the seat next to you. A pair of charming Japanese young people you will befriend on Instagram and stay friends with forever; three drunken office workers trying to get their boss home; five South Eastern Asian hungry men which don’t talk much at all; two witty Chinese business women on their third soju and with a perfect domain of the English language; two Frenchmen who just look and keep going after assessing the situation. The list goes on and on. Each night the experience is new.
Pojangmacha they are called. Meats are boiled or grilled on the spot. They are impeccably clean. Service is quiet and fast. The lady works so hard it is almost unsettling to watch her. If you return once, you are a regular, and the soju bottle stands in front of you even before you open your mouth. The experience is so quintessentially Korean that after leaving the country it is one of the feelings one treasures and misses the most. Eating with Strangers.