중앙데일리

Hungry? Hit the red-light district

Eye-catching lanterns and signs used to lure hungry masses

Dec 14,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Falk, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Mr. Falk:
This past summer, I saw some red flags bearing Korean letters in front of some restaurants. They’ve all disappeared, but now I see red lanterns with what seems to be Chinese characters, hanging in front of restaurants or food stalls on busy streets.

What are they supposed to mean?

A. IHT-JAD:
Both Chinese and Korean cultures use red displays to draw in customers. The red flags hanging outside Korean restaurants read naengmyeon, or cold buckwheat noodles, a popular summertime dish that originated in North Korea. The balloon-like red lanterns are of Japanese origin. Known as akachochin in Japanese, they herald low-cost Japanese bars.

In Korea, too, Japanese-style dining bars (izakaya) or grill bars (yakidori-ya) hang red lanterns outside, bearing the store name or menu, in Chinese characters. Vendors selling Japanese snacks, such as takoyaki (octopus balls), or amaguri (sweet chestnuts), also hang red lanterns.


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