Sunday, August 7, 2011

Year 1 - The Corner Store

There was a Green Mart (I believe a Green Mart, definitely a Something Mart) on the ground floor of the small apartment building I lived in during my 1st year in Korea. The owners were an older couple and great people, as were their kids. They ended up becoming grandparents twice in the same week. Their sons's wife and their daughter gave birth a few days apart. As of my last week in Korea they still kept a bottle of wine in case set aside in case some of the old gang came by. But I digress.

I was just watching No Reservation: Macau and Bourdain was talking about how government over regulation hurts the street food industry everywhere. While chowing down of course. :) It reminded me of when the government started cracking down on stores and shops putting tables on the sidewalk.

There was a huge sidewalk that linked the side street to the main street. Even with tables set out there was lots of room to move around. The corner store had tables out so people could sit, drink and eat. A restaurant on the other side of the walk put out some tables. It was a great place to gather before an outing or come back to and decompress after an outing.

Then one day after World Cup the tables were gone except for a few snug against the store. The cops and a government official had come by and told them they were not allowed to put tables out on the walk way. If they did they would be fined.

What brought this on? Pedestrians complaining because they couldn't walk through? Scooter's complaining because the side walk was too unsafe to drive on with so many people there? Nope. It was some other restaurants in the area who got their ass in the air because the store was cutting into their business. Their over lap crowd wouldn't wait around for a seat to open. If there was space by the store they would head there and settle in. Mind you some of the same restaurants didn't mind sending food OUT to the tables by the stores to serve their overlap crowd.

This "ruling" was disappointing. You would meet some interesting people out there. Plus you could sit outside instead of being jam packed into a restaurant or bar. Add to that the convenience of it being beside my apartment building. ;)


  1. I always thought it was a great idea. The time we spent sitting on the bench near your con-apt. Those store owners were great. They even had us inside their residence once.
    And you can sit there on the street with refreshments close at hand, and keep an eye on the world passing by.
    Mooks, hotties, and drunken adjussis screaming, "I chon obeg won! Dambeh! Dambeh!"

  2. Heh ... I will never forget that guy. :) Or the mook across from the rib place "You are cold! Go home!"