5.229 Really Good Food

Cycle 5 – Item 229

22 (Fri) August 2014

Really Good Food


at Tai Hwa

-Insa, Jongro, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with WHO colleagues

Mission to Korea: Informal Round-Table Meeting on Litigation as a Tool for Tobacco Control + International Symposium on Tobacco Control & Law + Personal Deviation: Day 3 of 5

In Seoul.  For my first mission to Korea, I’ve been dispatched to support back-to-back meetings on tobacco control, Thursday and Friday, specifically in relation to the recent lawsuit filed by Korea’s National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) against the tobacco industry to recover costs of health care arising from the treatment of tobacco-related diseases.  Spending the weekend with W and the kids, then back to Manila on Sunday.

International Symposium on Tobacco Control & Law.  The meeting objectives were to increase public awareness on the harmfulness and addictiveness of tobacco use, on the wrongdoings of tobacco companies worldwide and in Korea, and on the role of litigation as a tobacco control tool.  In addition to invited guests, the event was open to the general public and mass media.

My boss’s boss’s boss, delivering the opening remarks and congratulating the agency for launching this “preemptive strike” (my words) against the tobacco industry.
Held at the Press Center Building in downtown Seoul – packed house.
My boss’s boss, presenting a slide with my photos of tobacco advertising at convenience stores in Korea; the main photo was taken yesterday at the 7-11 in our hotel; the smaller insert, showing DJ, different store, different date (see 5.102 Potato & Corn Croquettes).

The Symposium was a resounding success.  The speakers presented a powerful picture of a manipulative and devious tobacco industry.  Before the end of lunch, stories began to appear on internet news sites.  By evening, national news programs featured extended segments on the Symposium, the agency’s lawsuit, and tobacco control in general, with much focus on Korea’s absurdly low cigarette prices and marketing practices targeting children.  A good day’s work.

The caption reads: “A child looks at a point-of-purchase ad for cigarettes in a local convenience store.”

Tai Hwa is a Korean restaurant.   Specializes in traditional, home-style Korean fare.

Unlike the place on Day 1, this one has managed to retain its old-world charm, no pandering to the tourists.  RD – the consummate gourmand – has frequented the restaurant for decades, which says a lot.

Located in Insa-Dong, another back-alley hanok joint.
Entrance – I love that door!
Though now roofed on top and tiled below, this area would’ve been an open dirt courtyard in the original house where the family’s cooking and cleaning would be done; same function now.
Off to the sides, the bedrooms that now serve as private dining rooms.

After the official dinner at the Press Center Building, the Korean WHO staff snuck out for a second late-night meal at Tai Hwa.  More for the booze than the grub.  More to celebrate than to dine.

Booze aside, the food was really good.  Nothing particularly fancy in terms of ingredient, method, or presentation.  Just simple items, simply prepared, simply plated.  Everything deftly done, with skills honed through the decades.  Someday, with the family, I’m going back for more.




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