10 Things In Korea That I’ll Never, Ever Do

by Mr. Motgol

I wrote this  piece a few years back, and while a few things have changed since then, most have not. As it is currently boshingtang eating season, not to mention Mudfest time, I thought that a re-post may be apropos. I’ve made a few small revisions. Enjoy. And don’t take it too seriously.

I like living in Korea. I’ve been here for almost ten years now, so if I hated it, I would have split a long time ago. I like hiking, I like the food, I like riding my motorcycle, checking out the street markets, and drinking my ass off. It’s a crowded crazy little place and I’ve grown to love it, for better or for worse. Plus, the girls are bangin’ hot. I should know: I married one.

That said, there are a lot of things here that I think are totally lame and that I have no interest in doing. Ever. Here’s a list of ten, in no particular order:



Does wearing pajamas, waking up at 3 a.m., eating soggy flavorless food, bowing hundreds of times, and sitting crosslegged for hours on a hard wooden floor sound like fun to you?  Doesn’t to me. In fact, it sounds totally shitty and boring as fuck. Yet countless foreigners head to the monasteries every weekend to do  “temple stays,” as if it’s some essential “cultural experience” that will leave them with a better understanding of Korea. If you really want to understand the culture, pick up some of the language and get drunk with some ajoshhis at your local soju tent.

And a lot of people give Buddhists a pass because they’re all “nice” and don’t bomb abortion clinics, but Buddhists believe that people are poor because they were assholes in their “past life.” That sounds like a load of horse shit used to keep people in their place to me. Screw Buddhists. I’d rather be a Muslim any day, as at least they believe in egalitarianism.



Nothing seems to tickle the locals’ fancy more than dressing up the big goofy foreigners in hanboks, which are colorful, traditional Korean attire.  Schools love to make their teachers put them on for festivals and special days; some losers even get married in the things, no doubt at the insistence of their ball-busting soon to be a battle-ax ajumma future wives.  Hanboks suck.  They make any woman who dons one look pregnant and pretty much every foreigner look like a stupid, fat clown (which is how they see us, anyway.)


In short: jarg clobber.



Nothing says “newbie” like the Boryeong Mud Festival: Packs of fresh-off-the-boat teachers wandering around in various states of undress, covered in mud that’s not even from the beach (it’s trucked in for the event) and celebrating the fact that they can publicly drink without getting arrested. The locals have caught on too, gouging the drunken tourists with quadruple-priced rooms, drinks, and meals. The whole thing is a like ESL spring break, though instead of Cancun, the event takes place in a gurgling petri dish. No thanks.



The only thing as dreadfully boring as a temple stay must be the yearly pilgrimages to see the cherry blossoms every April.  People pack into their Hyundai Sonatas and wait hours in horrendous traffic jams just to catch of glimpse of the “beautiful cherry blossoms that sooth the soul.”  Sure they’re kind of pretty, but they’re just little fucking flowers on trees. Are they that desperate for natural beauty in this country that blossoms on trees whip them up into some sort of sightseeing frenzy? I don’t get it. I’d rather wash my cats, or spend the weekend watching National Treasure 1 and 2 on a constant loop.



It’s seems like every month, somebody’s doing some kind of benefit to “help the orphans” – concerts, silent actions, volunteer trips – you name it, those orphans are getting a lot of love, not to mentions some big coin. It’s as if they’re the only charity that foreigners care about. Who are these “orphans” anyway?  I’ve never met any. I thought all of the orphans in this country get adopted by needy and neurotic white Christian couples from Wisconsin.


eat your kimchi

Really. Those guys should be flayed with razor wire.



There have been a smattering of bands coming through Korea of late, which I do applaud.  However they’ve all been small combos of unshaven emaciated vegan hipsters playing electroclash or whatever bullshit is passing for cool among the ironic mullet set in Williamsburg, Silverlake, and Portland, Oregon these days. A few years back an outfit called Xiu Xiu came to town. I checked out their video on youtube, and it was a steaming glass of pretentious cat piss. This isn’t surprising, seeing how they’re signed to my home town of Olympia’s super-elitist Kill Rock Stars label, who have always put out music so “cool” that it doesn’t even have to be good.

Call me an old, out-of-touch jerkoff, but if you require a laptop computer to play a show, you’re not a musician and I probably will hate you and want to burn down your band.



Deok, or Korean rice cake is culturally cherished, but it’s really like eating concentrated apathy. It’s nothing but rice that’s been smacked to death with a huge wooden mallet. Koreans love the things and are always forcing them on foreigners, oblivious to the fact that most of us do not think that “Korean rice cakes are the most delicious rice cakes.” But it’s always in front of your boss or at a home where you teach a very lucrative private, so you choke down the slab of “deok” that looks and tastes like it was cut straight out of a Nerf football.

Some silly and stupid foreigners go on weekend retreats where they learn to make the shit.  That’s just wrong. Some recipes need to stay in the family.



Boshingtang is Korean dog meat soup. It’s pretty much only eaten by men (to make their dicks hard), and is eaten mainly in the summer, often with su yuk (steamed dog meat). Most foreigners rightly turn their noses up a the disgusting and depraved practice of eating fido, but there are a big enough minority that give it a try, some with gusto even. They think they’re getting some “real” cultural experience, but no, they’re just eating nasty-ass greasy dog meat and patting themselves on the back for really “getting into Korea.”

Fuck that. I’ve been to the Gupo dog market and seen those poor guys stuffed in their cages and looking out at me with sad, defeated eyes, resigned to their unfortunate fate, which usually involves being strung up and beaten before getting killed. This supposedly makes the meat more tender or delicious or some other load of crap, but I think it’s just because the people who raise and slaughter dogs are just plain mean.


I know, I know. I’m a hypocrite because I eat other meat and those animals are too, treated brutally. But I say fuck you, dogs are different and should not be eaten. Chickens and turkeys, on the other hand, are fair game. (rimshot)



How many times have I gone to an Indian, Thai, or Turkish place in Korea and gotten totally hosed? I never trust any foreigner who says, “Oh, there’s this amazing new middle eastern restaurant in Kyungsungdae.  It’s awesome.” Why? Because it never is. Most all of these places require a wheelbarrow full of banknotes to pay for portions so small that they’d leave a Darfur refugee wanting for more. One time I counted three microscopic pieces of chicken in a sixteen dollar curry at an abortion of an Indian restaurant. The worst is the time I went to the Thai place in Haeundae and ordered the crab and shrimp curry (thirty six bucks). The dish arrived, with a handful of small, spiny, gum-slicing crabs.  Upon further investigation I discovered there were no shrimp at all. When confronted, the indolent waitress just shrugged, told us that they were out of shrimp, turned and walked away. And I won’t even write about the massacres that are Korean attempts at Mexican food, except to say that the ceviche I tried in Masan was made with ketchup. Motherfucking ketchup.

I’ve pretty much given up, and so should you. Wait until you leave this country to get your fix of foreign food, or make the shit yourself – that’s what I do. And to all you wannabe food critics out there, stop writing glowing reviews of awful foreign restaurants for those English language publications. I haven’t read a negative restaurant review yet, and believe me, some of these places need their rectums reamed.

Me? I’ll be sticking to bibimbap, galbi,  and my daily jeong shik. As for the shitty foreign restaurants? Just like the holocaust: never again.


*Okay, I’ll admit that foreign food options these days have gotten a lot better. I’ve had passable Indian, okay Thai, and some very good Mexican, but this is a new development. I should probably remove #10 from the list, but just let me stew in the hate of days gone past. 


  1. Buddhists aren’t always the peaceful type, but boy do they put on a show.

    Speaking of which, keep your eyes open for the temples where they show what happens in Buddhist hell. Thai parents take their kids here to scare them straight (not that I’m sure it works – in fact, I dare say it desensitizes them to it). See http://www.oneweirdglobe.com/2013/10/destination-wat-mae-kaet-noi-creepiest-scariest-buddhist-hell-temple-around-nsfw/ if you’re ready to sh!t your pants (it’s NSFW, so hide the kids, seriously)

  2. This is an incredibly douchy article. I read it because I lived in korea for 8 years and I thought it might be a clever take on Korean culture and expat life but really it’s just a hate filled rant. If people want to do those things, then let them.

  3. Funny!
    Cheery blossoms are all over the country, outside my house, at my school. Why the hell would I drive for hours to see some in ‘special cherry blossom’ zone. Completely retarded!

    1. I think it’s basically because Koreans always do the same thing as everybody else, I’ve been told about those f***ing cherry blossoms year after freaking year since I arrived here, and sure they look pretty, but I don’t think that’s why Koreans go look at ’em; they’re just going to look at them because that’s what everybody else is doing!! Weird~
      And yeah, those Indian tossers in the ‘restaurants’ are the only race of people I know that look at you with a smile that ALSO says: I am going to tear you a new fiscal areshole tonight, you white assed honky f**k…I’d rather starve than patronize their shitty holes, man….

  4. When I read this load of crap I see a really tiny dick pleading to be acknowledged. Korea definitely can do without losers like you. What a blood sucking leech.

  5. funny shit mate 😀 But actually the other meat you eat is different than Dog food in Korea because in a lot of other cultures with developed cuisine animals should not be stressed if you want to have good quality meat. So they run around happy than when the time comes killed as quickly as possible so that they don’t have the chance to secrete too much hormones that ruin the meat. so yeah…

  6. I’ve done most of these things, but it’s all in good fun. I thought it was a funny post! Only one thing — there are different recipes for ceviche, and many of these call for ketchup. They are just as “authentic”. For example, they are very generous with the ketchup in their ceviches in Bogotá. I personally don’t like a lot of ketchup (making it too tangy), but I just ask for them to go light on it. Problem solved.

  7. Thank you so much for including Simon and Martina in this list. i seriously wish they would just go away. I have a few teacher friends who love them and despite being mid-late 20s they act like teenage girls over them. I find SandM neither funny nor entertaining and outside of Koreaboos and teachers in Korea they are not “famous”. I can’t wait for their fame to fall apart. Nearly every blog I’ve ever read about them has been oh so positive but they actually just fucking suck and I’m glad you have the guts to say it.

  8. God. You forgot the most important one… despite being so bitter and jaded about the place you’re never going to 11. Leave.

  9. I don’t mind most of what is on your list. I mean people do what they want why should we criticize. That just makes us no better. The only thing that I’m against is the dog meat. Poor puppies 😦

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