[TALKING TRENDS] 'Bung-sekwon'

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[TALKING TRENDS] 'Bung-sekwon'

Seo Jeong-min
The author is a senior reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo. 
I once has a fairly passionate argument with my coworkers about which is best: Bungeo-ppang or egg bread.
We were buying some snacks one winter afternoon when the argument broke out. Both bungeo-ppang and egg bread are popular Korean street snacks found on street corners across the country. Bungeo-ppang are fish-shaped pastries stuffed with either red bean or choux cream, while egg bread is literally that: A small bread bun with an egg in it.
“Bungeo-ppang are the best snack when you need a sugar rush!” “Egg bread has a whole egg in it. It’s nutritious!” The arguments went on until we decided to just buy both and enjoy a feast.

Those childish arguments on subjects like low-cost snacks become a good memory over time. However, it’s getting hard to enjoy such delights, as it gets difficult to spot street vendors who sell bungeo-ppang in Seoul. As flour and red bean prices are skyrocketing every year, the vendors are saying “we cannot easily raise bungeo-ppang prices as it is a low-cost street snack. It would be better to close the business.”
For this reason, people are even using the word, bung-sekwon. It is a combination of bungeo-ppang and yeoksekwon, which refers to the area near a station and is used in real estate advertisements to show how well-connected an apartment is. So, boong-sekwon means you have a street vendor selling bungeo-ppang, just 5 to 10 minutes from home.
Young Koreans are also using applications called “3 Dollars in My Pocket” and “Boongsekwon.” On those apps, you can figure out where the nearest vendor can be found. Users can register the location of bungeo-ppang vendors as well.
“3 Dollars in My Pocket” lets you know the location of venders that sell other kinds of snacks like hotteok, fish cakes, egg bread and tteokbokki as well.
In the old days when there were no hand warmers, bungeo-ppang helped warm frozen hands. Now the crunchy, creamy texture and sweet flavor is fading away. This winter must be colder.

BY SEO JEONG-MIN [meantree@joongang.co.kr]
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