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Seoul Solo Solutions

crowdingthepan | | Mar 29, 2011 05:14 AM

I’m stopping in Seoul for a few days (April 4th through the 7th)on my way to Thailand, and while I’ve researched my food options pretty exhaustively, one little detail escaped me until now: Nobody but nobody dines and drinks alone in South Korea. I’m planning on doing the street food thing a little, and hitting a couple of big markets, where a meal for one isn’t as awkward. But I really want to hit Myeongdong Gyoja for kalguksu, Koong for mandu, and I’d like to sit down to a big bossam spread. It seems any place that sets you up with banchan before the meal is not going to appreciate solo diners. Apparently, some places won’t even seat you if you’re alone. I’m wondering if there are any solutions I hadn’t thought of. Seoul’s a big place, so maybe there are some food nerd groups that get together and eat/booze up a storm?? And, the problem is compounded by the fact that I don’t speak a word of Korean, other than the names of a few foods. Maybe I’m worrying more than I should, but I don’t want to offend everyone else in a restaurant by sitting down to a big feast by myself.