Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pizza King

After trading until 01:30 - not a good first day nine hours ahead of London - we were so late getting up this morning we had to decline breakfast at Korean parents' apartment, and instead dropped in for coffee late morning having eaten at home. Korean Father was out mountain climbing again, but he'd phoned in his impending return and there was a rumour he was bringing food.

If anything, I expected the usual shrimp burger from Lotteria, but instead it turned out to be pizza from the Pizza Lange chain ("happiness and amazing" proclaims the English slogan on the web-site). Much like the PIzza Hut pizza we'd had on our arrival in South Korea, it was pizza, but not quite as we knew it back in Europe.

Unfortunately I was full from my recent breakfast and I'd already politely declined the breakfast Korean Mother had continued making for us despite our insistence before arriving that we didn't want to eat. There was no way to decline the pizza though, especially when Korean Father shared with us the fact that he'd waited 30 minutes for it to be made. As I politely but slowly made it towards the end of my first piece, Korean Father pointed insistently at a second, and when I'd finally finished that, he grabbed my hand and made me pick up a third - and thankfully by now - the final piece remaining as the whole family had also eaten some by this time. He explained that it is very important for Korean parents to ensure their children (and by extension myself) were well fed - 'watching your children eating well makes you full' - a Korean phrase. I can see that trying not to get fat here is going to be a battle of psychological wills, and saying no to your Korean father is potentially an extremely difficult diplomatic trick to pull off.

It seems there are a few waygugin (foreigners) who frequent our local Pizza Lange - an American, a Englishman, and a group of Australians - or possibly Canadians - we weren't too clear on that one. The proprietor had no opinion on the Americans, but thought the Englishman stingy because he complained about the pizza (perhaps in the hope of getting a discount which apparently never came). The greatest reservation seemed to be for the group who brought their own Kimchi to be placed on the pizza of their choice. While this might have been thought to be a nice touch in reaching out across the cultural divide, it loses points on the grounds that Koreans don't do this unless they want to be thought of as eccentric and overly economical (bringing your own ingredients to avoid buying a more expensive meal).

At 5,000 Won (£2.78), I don't know why anyone's worried about the price - a pizza the same size would cost me double that amount in the UK. Food is so cheap here!

No comments:

Post a Comment