The past, the present, the future—in Korea, they all bleed together. If you’re there for the whole ride, one explains the other. Drop in, in the middle, and it makes no sense at all.

Chung and Han

These aren’t just Korean vocabulary words, they’re poetic expressions of political theory and sociology. Chung is the fondness Koreans have for other Koreans, not to be confused with patriotism. And, according to Bourdain, “Han is a mixture of endurance, yearning, sorrow, regret, bitterness, spite, hatred, and a grim determination to bide your time until revenge can at last be exacted.”

Eats

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Gwang Jang Market

88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-2267-0291
What Bourdain ate: Dukbokki (spicy rice cakes), japchae (glass noodles with veggies and beef) and soondae (Korean blood sausage)

Garak Market

298 Garak-dong, Songpa-gu
+82-2-3435-1000
What Bourdain ate: Still-wriggling sea snacks, a bubbly pot of meh oon tang (spicy seafood stew) and copious amounts of soju

Mapo Jeong Daepo

183-8 Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82-2-3275-0122
What Bourdain ate: Korean barbecue and drinks

Ggu Da Dak

112-114 Doe guk dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
What Bourdain ate: Korean fried chicken and beer

Is this so hard? Walk in and eat delicious food, and get hammered in the street? Being Korean is pretty awesome.

Sidekicks

Chef King Biryong: YouTube star chef.

Simon Moon: professional gaming consultant.

Mark Yin: former member of Korea’s influential hip hop group Drunken Tiger.

Nari Kye: Bourdain’s friend and former producer on No Reservations.

A group of Korean businessmen: Bourdain’s fast friends.

I could never actually have Han because I’m not Korean… But it’s something I feel I can really relate to. I’m definitely a ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ kind of guy. I’ll take revenge any time I can get it actually.

What seems to define Korea as I know it, it seems to anticipate the future very well.

Lingo

Noraebang: Korean for karaoke

Hwe sik: Company dining

Dukbokki: Spicy rice cakes

Japchae: Glass noodles with veggies and beef

Soondae: Korean blood sausage

Meh Oon Tang: Spicy seafood stew