One reason why the Seoul dining scene still has so many nooks and crannies

There are so many places with dishes you’ve never tried before.  And they are deep into alleyways, or on the second or third floors of retail establishments.  In these places I never see people take out their cameras and photograph the food.  The establishments are not “very on-line,” as they say.

More likely than not, a large troupe(s) of middle-aged and older men suddenly come out of nowhere, and descend upon these eateries for dining and intense bouts of conversation.  The men don’t seem to want too many other people to know about their special hangouts.  English-language menus are hard to come by, so use the outdoor food photographs if you can, or otherwise just point.  “I would like your specialty,” translated into Korean on the iPad, works too.

Korea is an especially sexually segregated society, all the more relative to its high per capita income.  And so these restaurants are boys’ clubs of a sort, as much private as public.  Might that be one reason why the small restaurant food scene here has stayed so undercover?

How much is it the presence of women that drives the “Instagram this” trend in dining?

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