Greasy ribs and soju: Food for shy menWhen a group of single women get together in Korea, the conversation naturally boils down to one thing ― where do the nice single men hang out?
A friend once noted that the only handsome single men she glimpses are in cars, driving away. This is true in a sense. The traffic lanes for single men and women in Korea don’t always merge.
For example, you don’t see men and their buddies hanging out in the posh restaurants where women hang out with their girlfriends. And they never go to movies with other men either.
I took an informal survey of male friends, and most agreed that they would never do so, even to see a great film. They would rather download it online and watch it at home alone.
Okay. So most single men don’t dine at posh restaurants and they watch movies at home.
But where do they eat? And why don’t they eat where the women are?
While I was searching for a plausible answer, another male friend of mine told me something interesting. He said that most Korean men end up eating at gogitjip, or smoky barbecue-soju joints, because they find it intimidating to go to posh restaurants with male friends.
But why? His answer was that going out to nice restaurants without a woman seemed for many Korean men to seriously compromise their masculinity. If you go to a restaurant just for a good meal, and you don’t have a date, you must be desperate.
Maybe for men, if it’s not a gogitjip, it smells like a date ― like going to the movies.
I nodded my head in understanding when Murakami Haruki groused in an essay that the most distressing scene in the world is two men waiting for a baseball game to start in a rainy stadium. But I just don’t see why single men should be intimidated by restaurants.
Yet clearly, this was an issue for many men. What you eat with who has always been a matter of male pride.
But while men have beat themselves up at restaurants filled with greasy grills and bitter soju all these years, single women have paired up in posh restaurants for the slight chance of bumping into males of the same species.
So there you go. Either men overcome their hangups and go to where the women are, or it’s time for single women to start hanging out at smoky soju joints. Or maybe the best place to find nice men and women is on our way to the restaurants ― on the streets.
How to Cook
Barbecued Pork Ribs
Ingredients: 1.5 kg pork ribs, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons ginger, 3 teaspoons rice wine. Sauce: 8 teaspoons chili paste, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 4 teaspoon sugar, 3 teaspoon crushed garlic, 1/2 cup chopped green onion. A bit of sesame seeds, pepper and sesame oil.
1. Trim the fat, score meat with a knife.
2. Soak in rice wine and crushed ginger for a couple hours.
3. In a separate bowl, add the sauce and the meat. Marinate overnight.
4. On a medium heat, grill the meat.
by Park Soo-mee