Thursday, February 23, 2012

Banchan - Korean Side Dishes

No Korean meal is complete without an array of tasty side dishes, known as banchan in Korean.

Korean side dishes include kimchi, of course, and often laver, bean sprouts (sookju namul), Korean radish, pickles and boiled green vegetables. Banchan are included in the price of any Korean meal and are refilled when empty if you ask the wait staff.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Suwon Public Toilets


Suwon, south of Seoul in South Korea, is rightly known for its immaculate public toilets. The city took the decision in the mid-1990s to improve its nearly 800 public restrooms in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup and build 16 new public conveniences combining both traditional Korean and modern architectural forms.

The plan provided excellent PR for the city and attracted worldwide press interest. Suwon city hall now runs free public tours of its restrooms, some of which come complete with piped classical music, etiquette bells, bidets, solar power and elaborately painted walls.

City Hall provides a map of its restrooms which are even individually named.

In general, Suwon's lead has caught on and public toilets in Korea are generally clean and hygienic.