Monday is flavoured milk day at GangDong High School. This keeps both students and teachers smiling on an otherwise grumpy morning. One particular Monday, I got a carton featuring pictures of bright green legumes. Having been in Korea for a little while, I was not surprised by this seemingly unusual combination of ingredients. I have come to learn that South Koreans have a palate quite different from my own. Nonetheless, I wanted to confirm my observations. “Pea-flavoured milk?” I asked a colleague. After scrunching her eyebrows in an expression that implied “Why on earth would you think that?”, Kyong Suk said “No. Black bean soy milk”.
Of course, how silly of me.
Later on, I picked up some dinner at my local pizza joint and was confronted by another green incongruence. All pizzas in the place were made with “Green Tea Well-Being Dough”. Pizza that is also health food? As Grace Meng mentions in her blog, “well-being” became a popular adjective in South Korea, where the healthiness of a certain product largely factors in the way it is marketed, and – hilariously enough – the trend has extended to fast food.
Expecting disaster, I peeked into the box and tasted a slice before leaving the pizza place. It was unexpectedly yummy. (Expats in South Korea will know that finding a pizza to suit Western tastes is quite tricky.) I grinned as I headed home to settle in to a dinner of black soybean milk and Green Tea pizza. This must be real life.