Every day there is a stable of Korean language food blogs I check out to get inspiration and info on restaurants, ingredients and recipes. This is one of the most prolific restaurant bloggers–but the title is confounding. You see, look at the title board.
It says, “THE FACE BoA.”
That can’t be the title of the blog. It’s a 2008 Japanese album release by Korean pop star BoA. It looks like the blogger took a picture of the back of the CD and pasted it on there. This is the most puzzling thing about the blog.
The blogger’s name is “happiend.” But if you look at the title bar, you find what I think is the real name for the blog, “행복한 세상” (“Haengbokhan Sesang”), which I think loosely translates to “Happy Lifestyle.”
And what a lifestyle this blogger has!
You see, there’s a reason you don’t see many restaurants on ZenKimchi. Going to restaurants can be expensive. I don’t have a trust fund. I’m not rich. Yeah, I make decent money, but do you think my wife will let me spend that all on restaurants? She’s Korean. The general rule of Korean wives is that any excess money goes into one of many savings accounts. That’s why going to an ATM can be such a frustration with all the ajummae and their decks of bank books they’re updating.
Happiend goes to restaurants every day. And all kinds of them, too, concentrating on Seoul, Bundang and Jeju but really going all over the country. She’s at her best (am assuming she’s female by clues I find on the blog) when she goes to Korean restaurants. She finds some good ones. There’s one she posted recently in Gangwon-do that I really need to take a road trip for–it’s a grilled duck and chicken place with a dirt floor and central wood burning furnace. I’ve been to some dirt floor places before, and I love them. There’s another one about a gejang (cured crab) restaurant that just makes me drool.
Happy Lifestyle follows the pattern of most Korean food blogs, especially the restaurant ones. You won’t find much restaurant reviewing here. It’s mostly pictures with short descriptions. It’s all about sharing what you ate rather than judging every damn thing put down in front of you, which I find dull and self-absorbed.
Nonetheless, HL does have some quirks. She photographs everything like she’s making a record of each item that goes through her gut. A can of Sapporo is a can of Sapporo. It’s no different wherever you have it. But she takes the shot anyway. She also seems to have some pretentious leanings and is fascinated by those silly tricks Korean fine dining restaurants do to impress the noveau riche.
Aside from these, Happy Lifestyle still is one of my top sources for restaurants just for the sheer number of places she goes to. And they’re easy to skim through to get the atmospheres of these dining spots. You don’t need to read Korean to get them. But, yeah, you would need to know some Korean to figure out the name of a restaurant and where it is.