Apparently when the weather is nice in Korea, young Koreans go and picnic near the Han River. When our Korean friend Eunji informed me of this I have to admit I was pretty skeptical…I had flashbacks of lukewarm potato salad and running around parks… I would soon find out that picnicking in Korea is COMPLETELY different.
I don’t even know where to start so here it goes…. First off, when I think of picnicking in the States I think that it’s usually some kind of an event where there are numerous families meeting at a park for some reason, in Korea it seems that it’s the young people getting out to enjoy the warm weather and socialize.
In the States I always remember having those picnic blankets that are large and annoying to lay out flat (I’m such a whiner I know, but to make it fair I also despise laying out beach towels) whereas in Korea there is a completely different setup. Our group (Josh, Eunji and myself) used a large scarf (it looks like a picnic blanket), but everyone else used these roll up silver mats (you can purchase them all around the picnicking area for ₩3,000/less than $3). These mats are GENIUS! They retain their shape much better than a blanket (blankets and towels are always prone to getting scrunched up), if you spill something on them it will be an easy cleanup and grass doesn’t stick to them.
Something else I found interesting was that people take off their shoes prior to getting on the picnic mat. This didn’t really come as a surprise to me since I am used to wearing indoor shoes while at work, taking off shoes at more traditional restaurants and even when flying on an Asian airline. Some more intense picnickers will bring small tents to hang out it. I’ll admit this would have seemed weird to me in the past, but I can imagine when it gets warmer and the picnic area is more crowded and hot and more mosquitoes thaw out from the cold weather that having your own private picnic tent would be nice to take a nap in. The last time I picnicked in the States I was a child so I wasn’t of drinking age but all the Koreans around us seemed to be drinking something alcoholic…mostly beer. Despite this I didn’t notice anyone super drunk, seems like the drinking was much more relaxed.
And FINALLY, the BEST part of picnicking in Korea…you order food!!! Walking the short distance from the subway stop to the picnic area our group was given a whole stack of flyers of delivery services. Most of the restaurants that deliver close to the picnic area are chicken restaurants, but we did receive some pizza flyers as well. After perusing the flyers we decided on fried chicken and within 30 minutes a guy on a scooter came to the main street next to the picnic area and we had our lunch.
Finally…enjoy some shots of young Koreans picnicking…
So and big thank you to Eunji and Korea for introducing me to an amazing was to picnic! Who knew that adding fried chicken and day drinking could turn picnicking into something I truly enjoyed!