Cycle 14 – Item 138
23 (Tue) May 2023
Golbaengi with Jjol Myeon
at Crown Hof
-Songdo, Yeonsu, Incheon, Republic of Korea-
with dbBOOKS staff
In Incheon. Supervising a book fair this week at CI, my second one at this school (see previously 13.337 Veggie Sweet Potato Hamburger Steak). As with last year, given the work load and long distance from home, I will be staying in a hotel for the duration. This time, I will be joined by HK, our IRIS focal point.
CI Spring 2023 Book Fair (Day 1)
We had the privilege of hosting author Mirinae Lee. The visit included a session with an 11th grade English Lit class (we’d donated books to the class so that the students could read it in advance of the visit) and a book signing on the floor of the book fair.
Her first novel, 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster, was just released. The publisher sent me an advance copy and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating to promote the book in Korea. I began reading the book on a Saturday morning. It’s the story of a woman, born in North Korea sometime during the 1930s, whose life takes many roles, including, as she puts it: “slave, escape-artist, murderer, terrorist, spy, lover, mother, (and trickster).” The chapters are presented out of chronological order, and told from the perspective of different characters. While touching on many serious social issues and sensitive historical events in Korean history, the book is a page-turner. It was so compelling that I finished before dinner time – best book that I’ve read in recent memory: I’m confident that it’ll soon be a major global bestseller.
Crown Hof is a Korean pub chain. Founded 2013, currently 485 locations across the country. Specializes in Crown-branded draft beer and beer-related anju.
Crown Beer is the original Korean beer brand. Founded in 1933 by Chosun Breweries. In 1998, Crown Beer was phased out and replaced by Hite Beer as the flagship brand. The company merged in 2006 with Jinro to become Hite Jinro, now the biggest producer of alcoholic beverages in Korea.
During Korea’s (on-going) transition from developing to developed economy, businesses routinely relaunch themselves under supposedly modernized branding, rather than embracing their humble roots. Whatever the fuck “HITE” means, does it seem at all more modern than “Crown?” Can you imagine Anheuser-Busch ever abandoning the Budweiser brand?
As Korea begins (slowly) to gain confidence in their (growing) position as a global culture, businesses are starting to rediscover the value of heritage brands, like Crown, apparently.
The food menu offered standard beer-related anju, such as golbaengi – though I’ve never quite understood why sea snails are considered so well suited to pairing with beer. Wouldn’t have been my first choice, but my staff were into it. In lieu of the standard wheat-based so myeon noodles (see for example 12.289 Golbaengi Sari), the dish was served with jjol myeon noodles, comprised primarily of potato starch, making them chewy, which was a nice change.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also HANSIK)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)