I-cha, il-cha, sam-cha, and on it goes!

In Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he defines showing love through the languages of physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Living in South Korea has made me realize that he left out one key love language; sharing food together.

Whenever I travel back in time (literally) to Michigan I am always shocked by the size of the portions served in most restaurants (how can one person EAT all of that?). Not only that, I am terribly disappointed when every single person at the table refuses to share with me. I often hear, “I am ordering my meal and I am eating off of my plate, you can order your own food.” In Korea, there is a little something we like to call “family style” (I know you have heard of it Western people). When I first arrived here I would get so frustrated when the server only brought one menu for the whole table, don’t they realize we all need to order? Then I discovered that only one person needs the menu because they order a couple things for all of us to share and if we need more we order more. Or that one person shares the menu, we all voice our opinions and viola, we are served with a variety of food.

After sharing a meal together my friends usually ask, “Okay, where to for I-cha?” I just learned that directly translated “cha” means car. Koreans talk about “Il-cha” round one, as the first stop. Then you head out for “I-cha” round two, and so on and so forth.

My friend recently informed me that she once was out for 13-cha’s (only because I don’t know the Korean number for 13! Anyone?).

“I didn’t go home for two days.” WHAT?

Her rounds consisted of a lot of restaurants, bars, a movie, a show, coffee shops, jim-jil-bang (spa-like place where you can spend the night), noraebang (singing room), and more coffee shops and restaurants.

I am lucky if I make it out for sam-cha (round three).

 bbq! this is my favorite i-cha by far^^ (and I have no idea why these words are bold, won’t let me change it…?)

the love language that probably costs the most in korea is food! photo credit to Hailey.
my favorite breakfast/brunch spot in Seoul is the Flying PanA truly unique to Asia and fun round is definitely sticker pictures

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8 thoughts on “I-cha, il-cha, sam-cha, and on it goes!

  1. nice! though i think it is good to note that i’ve heard “family style” quite a bit when dining in fine italian restaurants~

    • good point jean, I should just say most North Americans are not the biggest fan of “family style” I don’t really know how europeans and such feel! I should travel more and find out!!!

  2. hi melody! thanks for visiting my blog. i’m so interested about your life in south korea. i used to teach at a private school in seattle, and i had lots of international students from korea. it sparked an interest in their culture – especially the “if you sleep more than 4 hours a night during your last year of high school, you are doomed to be failure” mentality. soooo different than U.S. education!

    • yep! during all of my parent/teacher conferences I try to explain to my second graders parents the importance of SLEEP. I get off the subway at 11 at night and I see a family on the sidewalk eating noodles, sometimes I just want to yell, “put your children in bed!” but you know, that would be rude.

  3. I love that you said “time-traveling” in regards to heading back to Michigan; a friend of mine has been doing her masters at Oxford and whenever we’ve skyped, we’ve called it time-traveling, since she’s been several hours ahead. Wahoo common nerdy witticisms!

    And I think sharing food this way is so much smarter. I get so disenchanted in the US now with massive portions that are so expensive–“Can’t I just order from the kids’ menu?”

    • haha! yay for time traveling! I always tell my family that I live in the future and therefore am SO COOL. I always wanted to order from the kids menu back home, not just because its cheaper^^ (that is an asian smiley face). thanks for visiting my blog emma!

  4. 13 cha= ship sam cha! 🙂 🙂 🙂 and YES to family style! its the best way! :): ) miss you roooooooooms cant wait to read moreeee!

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