Seoul Does Brunch: South Korea Embraces the Newfound Weekend

Travel Blog  •  Joanna Kakissis  •  11.07.07 | 9:59 AM ET

Photo by Presta, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

As globalization continues its culture-morphing march, it’s brandishing a powerful weapon: brunch. In Seoul, once a city so overworked from a six-day work week that tired South Koreans only socialized late in the evening, a Western-style brunch of toasted bagels and blueberry pancakes is the latest way to bond with family and friends, according to The New York Times.

If you go to Seoul today, you’ll find as many as 200 restaurants specializing in brunch, writes Su Hyun Lee. Five years ago, such restaurants catered primarily to Western expatriates and tourists. Today, the South Koreans are joining in. The government officially shortened the work week from six days to five in 2004 and by 2011 all private companies must provide two days off for their employees. As a result, there’s a weekend—and new inns are popping up throughout the country for weekend getaways.

Still, I’m not so sure how I feel about brunching in Seoul, a city with a positively mouthwatering native cuisine. Though I long for omelets and home fries at the Early Girl in Asheville, NC, or a short stack at Al’s Breakfast in Minneapolis’s Dinkytown just as much as any self-respecting American expatriate, I do think I would avoid clearly imported culinary customs as a traveler. Even if I have to suffer Greek breakfasts of grainy coffee, feta and cigarettes (I don’t smoke), I know I’ll be rewarded with a divine meal of wine-marinated cuttlefish later in the day.

Joanna Kakissis's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, among other publications. A contributor to the World Hum blog, she's currently a Ted Scripps fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

2 Comments for Seoul Does Brunch: South Korea Embraces the Newfound Weekend

Julia Ross 11.07.07 | 11:33 AM ET

great story- thanks for posting

masha gurman 11.10.07 | 4:49 PM ET

we stop in Seoul for about 8 hours. Should we try to find a city tour? and if it is yes, please let me know.

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