Do you have any experience of eating snacks at a pojangmacha with your friends? In the cold winter, it is a felicitous chance to warm yourself, having hot eomuk and soup there. A pojangmacha is a small, red-tented restaurant on the street. It literally means “covered wagon” in Korean. People can eat snacks standing up, or get the food to go. Some pojangmachas provide tables and chairs for drinking alcohol with side dishes. A Korean pojangmacha holds not only warm food but also precious memories. Let’s know more about it.
Keeping Warm Memories with Pojangmacha
Most Koreans have memories of buying snacks at a pojangmacha with their friends or parents. People used to fill their stomachs with simple snacks there. In addition, it is common that middle-aged men stop by a pojangmacha after work and drink alcohol, complaining about their worries. If you watch a Korean drama, you can easily find the case of a main character, who suffers from sadness or an unhappy experience, frequently drinking soju alone in a pojangmacha. Then, the owner of the pojangmacha or his friend comforts the drunk hero. Thus, the pojangmacha is a place to get away from the unhappiness and sadness of the common people. A pojangmacha keeps warm memories in minds of people.
What Would You Like to Eat?
In a Korean pojangmacha there is not only alcohol with snacks but also a variety of meals. We can divide them into three categories. First, there are simple foods such as kimbap, tteokbokki, eomuk (fish cake), chicken skewers, fried vegetables, and so on. Secondly, there is a variety of snacks such as bungeoppang, which is a Korean fish-shaped bun, hotteok, etc. The last is alcohol and side dishes that are served with alcoholic beverages, such as noodles, jeon (Korean pancake), spicy chicken feet, and so on. Now you can choose which pojangmacha you will go to!
What about Other Countries?
- United Kingdom
Food trucks began to emerge in the United Kingdom during World War II. They began to be used by soldiers to enhance their mood and provide food to them. Today, food trucks can be found on nearly all major truck roads by the side of the road or in areas with the most pedestrian population such as village celebrations or town centers. These trucks specialize in a wide variety of foods such as donuts, hamburgers, chips, and so on. Many people prefer to stop at food trucks due to the affordable prices.
Food trucks in Canada, also commonly known as cantina (canteen), are present throughout the country. They offer a wide variety of cuisines including sandwiches filled with cheese, burritos, waffles, and so on. There are many uncommon food trucks in Canada such as Pretty Sweat Mobile Cupcakery in Toronto, Nomad Gourmet in Halifax, The Kaboom Box in Vancouver, P.A. & Gargantua Grilled Cheese Truck in Montreal, El Torrito Tako Truck, and so on.
Food trucks are common in open-air markets in France. For example, pizza trucks have been common in Marseilles and southern France since the 1960s. In 2012, American-style trucks selling restaurant-quality food first appeared in Paris. The owners needed to obtain permission from four separate government agencies, including the Prefecture of Police, but it is known that the trucks' offerings, including tacos and hamburgers, have reportedly been very popular.
Street food in Mexico does not have any regulations. Mexican food trucks are becoming increasingly popular as of 2013 and owners have created an association to pursue the professionalization and expansion of this commercial sector. In addition to the food trucks catering on the streets, there are regular bazaars organized to introduce their products to the consumers.
Numbered Pojangmachas: Pojangmacha Street
There are pojangmacha streets that has numbered pojangmachas in some famous tourist attractions like Yeosu, Sokcho, and Busan. In case of Yeosu, most pojangmachas in pojangmacha streets sell “seafood samhap.” Samhap is a Korean traditional food that contains three dishes, which are fermented skate, steamed pork slices, and kimchi. However, Yeosu’s samhap is a little bit different. They grill pork belly, seafood, and ripened kimchi together. In this way, they usually provide food cooked with their regional products. Pojangmacha streets are becoming must-stop places in some tourist attractions. It will be gorgeous to visit there and feel the atmosphere.
Today’s Face of Pojangmacha
In addition to the usual ones, pojangmachas selling special dishes such as grilled food, Italian food, and lobster are emerging these days. Unlike the characteristics of the pojangmacha, which are located in the open air, there are many restaurants and bars where the pojangmachas are inside the building or the concept of the interior is pojangmacha. Moreover, the number of pojangmachas in the shape of food trucks has also increased. These food trucks are very popular because people can get the food fast and easily, and also it is fun to watch them cooking in front of you. As in these cases, the menu and shapes of pojangmacha are constantly changing nowadays.
As time goes on, the image of the pojangmacha has changed a lot. Many different types and menus of pojangmachas exist around you. However, regardless of how it looks, one thing that does not change is the memory in your mind. Did the memories of pojangmacha come to your mind? How about vising a pojangmacha and tasting the old memory again on the way home today?