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Being Muslim in Korea

June 10, 2015

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For this week’s TL;DR we’re finally tackling the topic of what it’s like to be Muslim in Korea. And though we can’t speak about the topic from firsthand experience, we did a lot of research on this topic, which means we’re conveying information from peers, blogs, and articles, but I hope we can at least give you a bit of information on the topic, help those of you searching for Halal food, and prepare you a bit if you’re moving to Korea.

Now, speaking of personal experience, we’re often asked questions along the lines of “I’m African American/Muslim/Chinese/Irish/tall/short/overweight/have a beard/am a giraffe/etc…will I experience discrimination in Korea because of the way I look?”

And the answer to that question is neither a strong yes or a strong no, but a bit of both. Frankly, you will experience racism and discrimination everywhere in the world, Korea included, but is it an everyday part of life here? No. Have Simon and I been treated poorly because we’re foreigners? Absolutely. Have our friends of other races experienced similar treatment? Definitely. Is this a daily occurrence? Absolutely not. Being the foreign minority in any homogenous country simply means that we have to accept that some people will be ignorant of our culture and other cultures as well.

But, if you’re not Korean, I don’t think you’ll ever be accepted in Korean culture. Some people will argue otherwise, and they have all the right to, but I think that if you’re not Korean, you’ll always be thought of as an outsider. You could be fluent in Korean, be married to a Korean, have mixed kids in Korea, pay taxes. You could be a citizen, even, but you’ll always be considered weigookin, foreigner, alien. In Korea, national identity is almost entirely synonymous with race, and if you don’t have Korean blood you won’t be fully accepted, no matter what, regardless of if you’re Muslim, Chilean, African American, Caucasian, or anything. I’d love to be wrong on this, though! Please! I’d be more than happy to hear suggestions otherwise if your experience is different.

Back to the topic at hand, particularly on being Muslim in Korea, one of the issues we’ve read online and heard from Muslims living in Korea is that Koreans have asked them very straightforwardly why they wear hijabs. And they don’t even know that it is called a hijab; it’s more like “why are you wearing that on your head?!” Which I understand the confusion because – again – Korea is so homogenous, and the surprise is genuine. The question is more out of sincere curiosity rather than judgment, like “why the hell would you wear that?!” You know?

Other links you might find useful are that the large Seoul Central Mosque located in Itaewon has a website with some helpful articles about life in Korea, while Korea Tourism’s website also has a pamphlet on “Being Muslim in Korea”. I have no idea how accurate these suggestions are, so if you’ve been to any of these locations let us know in the comment section below!

Grocery Stores with Halal Food

Although we haven’t been to this location ourselves, Murree Muslim Food keeps coming up consistently from all the blogs I’ve searched. Here’s the address:

마리무슬림푸드 140-7 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-858

Otherwise, here’s a short list of some of the groceries stores that have Halal food. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start.

– Halal Meat Shop: 732-21, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
– Foreign Food Mart: 137-8, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
– Salam Bakery 살람베이커리 이태원점 732-21 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
– Marhaba Mart: 137-41, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Also, I’ve started to notice in some Home Plus stores a small section for Halal food. We haven’t bought anything from it, but I do distinctly remember walking past it and being surprised!

Ansan

Lastly, we mentioned this place in the video, but we’ll talk about it here a bit more: if you’re traveling outside of Seoul, we recommend visiting the very multicultural Ansan which has it’s own subway station on Line 4 and is aptly named Ansan Station 안산역. Get off Exit 1 and then head towards Ansan Multicultural Village Special Zone 안산다문화마을특구 for all the restaurants and groceries.

They have a good selection of restaurants and groceries from many East Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, and Russia. I took Simon here for his birthday to have delicious Uzbekistan food and we even picked up some hard to find cilantro being sold at the subway station. Itaewon is focused more on North American foreign food, we think, while Ansan rocks for East Asian food altogether.

So that’s it! If you’re Muslim and traveling to Korea, I hope you found this video and post somewhat helpful. Though we couldn’t give you any definitive answers, we did our best to share what research we’ve done on the subject, and hopefully that – at least – may be of use to you. We’d love to open up the comments to conversation otherwise. If you’re Muslim and have been to Korea, how was your experience? Was eating Halal too overwhelmingly challenging? How was your interaction with Korean people? Please share :D

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  1. Hi I’m a new member here ^_^ I don’t have any YT account but i always search about eatyourkimchi videos, it all started by watching Music Mondays to WTF and TLDR ^_^, can i have a question? are there any street foods in Korea? and what types of food are they? cause in my country(Philippines) we have balut, penoy, one day old chick, isaw, and kwek kwek…thank you ^_^

    4 years ago
  2. Really interesting videos guys, kudos for all the research you do. Appreciate the detail you put into the posts too, you really care about us nasties!

    Quick question for you: I found your video about Korea going crazy for the men’s football world cup and was wondering if the same was happening for the women’s football world cup happening now? It’s being hosted by Canada and the next Korea game is (I think) Sunday morning Korean time against Costa Rica.

    Not so quick question for you: Are women’s sports as popular in Korea as men’s?

    4 years ago
  3. liveleak.com/view?i=135_1314585645 black in korea?

    4 years ago
  4. Hello EatyourKimchi!
    What do you know about startups and possible job opportunities relating to the tech, computer and programming industries in South Korea? Also, what are Korea’s general thoughts about women in engineering?

    Thanks and much love from Miami~

    4 years ago
  5. Hey Simon and Martina! I love your videos!

    I’ve always been curious, what are your Korean names? How do foreigners get their Korean names upon arriving to Korea, and how do native Koreans get their english names upon arriving to North America (or elsewhere)?

    Thanks!

    4 years ago
  6. Hi! First of all, my name is Ailee and I have travelled to Korea for 3 months long. I went there with my backpack and alone. hahaha. for me, I have no problem at all searching for the place to eat and have fun. As long as you don’t eat pork or any kind of non-halal meat, then it’s okay already. Koreans love to eat seafood and I really indulged myself with lots of 오징어 (squid) hahaha and 떡 ! nyumnyum!

    My interactions with koreans was also brilliant! to support my stay there, I WWOOFED at Busan and work exchange in Kimchee Guesthouse (If you are visiting their website, don’t forget to mentioned my name okay! hahaha ), in one day, I have lots of 오빠 and 언니. they are so nice and very helpful of me.

    if you are muslim and want to travel to korea, don’t worry, you can go to Itaewon and they provide lots of halal food there. or maybe you can go around the university area because from what I know, my country (Malaysia) send quite a lot of muslim student to study there and since they already spend quite some time there, they must be an expert finding the food that us Muslim are allowed to eat. Don’t worry! Islam is easy!

    P/s: You can look up to Hijab_in_seoul_city in Youtube/instagram/Tumblr to find out more how my friend, Iman live in Korea as an english teacher.

    Iman and I also featured in You Are Here speakers corner ^^

    4 years ago
  7. Right now I’m living in the Republic of Georgia and I’m allergic to honey and ginger. It’s usually not so much of a problem when living in America because I know what to avoid. Living here has been much more difficult. Usually you can just read the back of products and they have a list of ingredients but here since it has to be in Georgian but no one prints packages in Georgian they just stick a giant label over it so I can read the english. So there’s been a few hit and misses for me.

    My husband is diabetic. It’s not too much of a problem here since they don’t eat a lot of really sweet foods. They’ve even added diabetic isles in now even if they might only hold like 10 products.

    Being Muslim here won’t be a huge problem. They sell a lot of halal foods as well a lot of vegetarian foods in markets/stalls. Sit down restaurants might be a bit difficult if you don’t want to go vegetarian but if your not opposed to making your own food you’ll be OK. Also it’s really easy to work with the local butcher since most villages still have a butcher shop and there are mosques here.

    4 years ago
  8. Hi Simon & Martina!

    I stumbled upon your video and blog post about Martina’s EDS. I think I might be able to help you guys on that. I own a genetic technology-based business that partners up with Stanford University School of Medicine, and I think one of my patented genetic-based health solutions can be really useful for Martina. I’ve never dealt with an EDS patient before, but I’ve definitely experienced crazy success stories involving patients from all walks of life and age range with complaints such as years of joint pain, spine problems, genetic/congenital diseases, even stadium 4 cancers.

    You guys said you’ll be going to Bali, correct? I live in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Please make time to see me. I don’t make promises lightly, therefore I shall not bluntly make one. But I have a strong feeling that I can be of help to you guys. I’m really looking forward to your reply. :)

    4 years ago
  9. What do you suggest to those who do self study on Korean and what websites do you suggest for them.

    4 years ago
    • I suggest checking out Talk To Me In Korean. They provide free MP3 lessons with accompanying PDFs. You can also buy books on there If you want to take your learning to the next level.

      4 years ago
  10. Thank you so much for covering this topic. I would like to suggest one more thing to it. Specially about food problems in Korea. In Mart and even in restaurant due to language barrier one is always in doubt of the ingredients in the products. There is no information in any language about ingredients on product other than Korean. If you make a video about that too, it will not solve the problem instantly but it will reach out to many people and may be someone concerned might do something about it.
    I would also like to tell you about Facebook page which helps Muslims in Korea with the ingredients of products available in marts like breads, biscuits, ramen etc. Please include that in your article too.
    https://www.facebook.com/halal.co.kr

    4 years ago
  11. I have a question totally unrelated to this topic, though. Can a non-native speaker of English apply a job as an English teacher in S. Korea? Because I do have a bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a second language AND a master’s degree in English language and linguistics. I am currently considering looking for a teaching job in another country, Korea being one of them. But so far, I heard that they only accept native speakers of English. So, help? Haha!

    4 years ago
  12. I AM SO HAPPY YOU FINALLY GET TO TACKLE THIS TOPIC. I was honestly thought I needed to result to finding vegan food. But I have a question: If you’re the maknae (and you’re muslim) and you go to a hwesik, will they still “pressure” you to take care of their drunkenness eg. taking them home afterwards? Thanks Simon and Martina for this tl;dr!!!!

    4 years ago
  13. I’m Jewish and fairly religious, and eating anywhere without a large Jewish population is always a challenge, especially if you want to eat somewhere with your colleagues/classmates. Orthodox Jews care not just about the ingredients of food, but also the equipment and crockery used to prepare it. Salad served in a dish that once held a pork chop, or that was cut with a knife that was previously used to prepare shellfish (do you use knives to prepare shellfish?) wouldn’t generally be acceptable (although obviously it’s considered preferable to an actual pork chop if you have no other access to food). At Uni my general policy was to just eat stuff I had prepared/sourced myself. I have perfected the art of making a can of coke last through a 3 course meal :P.

    Personally I never found it awkward to not eat at a restaurant, as long as I’m with a bunch of others who are eating. Even going out somewhere one-on-one isn’t too bad, as long as the person has seen you do it before. Some people can’t handle someone at the table not eating, and keep trying to persuade you to eat something, and when you don’t they end up not being able to eat, and you both end up leaving the restaurant hungry. But in general most people don’t bat an eyelid.

    When travelling some Jews try and take all their food with them, and how much you starve basically varies by how long your trip is. I once went to Japan for 3 weeks, eating only food I brought with me in my 20kg backpack, it’s not an experience I’d care to repeat. Finding places to eat as a Jew is now much easier thanks to the internet, as now you can get independent verification of whether a place that calls itself vegan is actually vegan, or just ‘has some vegan options’/ just uses anchovy sauce in this one dish / serves meat on the weekends (that’s happened to me). You’d be amazed at what some people consider vegan.

    There is an organisation that tries to provide Kosher food all over the world (Chabad, you life saver), and apparently there is a branch in Seoul, but generally there are only one or two things available, so not a great plan for a long trip. Travel since AirBnB has also become much easier as you can rent out an entire place and have a kitchen that you don’t have to re-kosher every time you use it.

    I’ve had so many hilarious experiences whilst trying to keep kosher in places with no Jews, it’s almost worth it (but definitely not quite) to arrange something rather than just skip lunch. Once whilst saying a blessing over my food, I had someone ask why I was talking to my food. I was so busy laughing I couldn’t even answer (yes, I am clearly a terrible ambassador of my faith, but it was hilarious). Another time I ate in the common room of the my university department and someone whom I had known for 4 years came in and did a double take. He says “I thought you didn’t eat food,” as apparently the only thing he had gleaned from me having dozens of meals with him was that I only drink things. I had to confirm that I do in fact eat food, and no, I do not subsist entirely on fizzy drinks (to be fair to him, he had a lot of evidence to support his hypothesis).

    Airline food is another super fun experience, you can get a Kosher meal, or a vegetarian meal, but if you are a (religious orthodox) Jewish vegetarian, there is no airline in the world (except Israel’s national airline) that will be able to feed you. Sometimes modern society is hilariously unprepared for Jews, but sometimes modern manufacture is a blessing. I have a friend who was recently sent to Sri Lanka to check the sourcing of the plastic used to wrap some food sold in British supermarkets, so that the food would be able to be certified Kosher. The supermarket had such a well defined production chain that it was able to locate the factory at which the plastic it bought to wrap one of its products was manufactured.

    When it comes to how people treat you, I’ve had questions about my skullcap and tzitzit (“ritual tassels” says Google), but most people don’t comment. The most awkward thing is when someone comes up to you and strikes up a conversation about how they met a Jew once, and thinks that because you are Jewish too you will know them (to be fair, the number of times that I have is unnerving).

    The other awkward thing is when people strike up a conversation and dance around the topic, because it’s hard to know if they are just awkward or you are being bageled (where someone tries to ascertain if you are also Jewish by hinting that they are Jewish (nominally by talking about bagels, a stereotypically Jewish food that most non-Jews don’t consider ‘Jewish’ and thus don’t catch on) in the hopes that you cotton on, and you can play Jewish geography (finding mutual friends)).

    The only people I ever met who consider it weird are people who I meet through research. I’m doing a PhD in a branch of mathematical (is that a word?) logic, which some people consider inimical to having faith (just for the record, it’s not). In general though people in academia will really try and help you out, especially at conferences and such, although a number of times I’ve been served Halal food by someone well meaning, and had to be like “So close, but no cigar.”

    When it comes to people from other cultures, I once shared a flat with a really sweet Thai girl and she was amazingly knowledgeable about Judaism, I have no idea why. I’ve had Muslims shout at me in the street, and when I was in Poland I was spat at, but in England I’ve never had a problem (although that’s partially because when I go to certain places I hide my faith, no need to go looking for trouble). In Japan I got some questions, but everyone was really nice to me. I have had some persistent Christians try to convert me, but in a weird way I think it’s sweet that they care for me so much that they’re willing to put up with me being cranky at them to save my immortal soul.

    When it comes to praying you really have to find somewhere private, if people see you praying, especially if you’re wearing tefillin (“phylacteries” says Google, it didn’t help me either) you immediately become a Muslim with a bomb (I’m not being flippant, people have actually been removed from planes for wearing tefillin and ‘scaring other passengers’).

    In short, outside of major urban areas, food and people can be a problem. Stick to the cities and you’re generally fine if you plan. If you’re willing to plan very carefully nowhere in the world is closed to you (outside of the middle east, and possibly North Korea).

    4 years ago
    • I nodded the whole time as I read through your comment. I can relate to this so much! I’ve had people ask me why I talk to my food as well! xD Luckily, in places like Korea, people do say something like, 잘 먹겠습니다 (I’ll eat well), so it can be explained as an equivalent to that. :)

      If there’s no Kosher food around, are you allowed to eat halal food or is it more strict? Because for us, Kosher is an alternative. Food from any ‘people of the book’, really.

      4 years ago
      • Sadly not, keeping Kosher is, from what I understand, much stricter than Halal. We have tighter restrictions on meat, and also we have restrictions on non-meat products such as milk, vinegar, and on the utensils used in preparation. So basically we can’t eat anything :(. I’m so glad someone else has had this experience, it was surreal for me.

        4 years ago
  14. I have all sorts of food restrictions. There are several things I can’t eat because of health, things I won’t eat because they taste nasty (or I think they do) and I also don’t drink alcohol nor do eat anything cooked with alcohol. The booze is the easiest thing to avoid for me. (although, someone once gave me a bourbon chocolate pecan pie – I almost vomited from the first bite. She never knew how disgusted I was because I find another trash can for my slice and I shared the rest of it) :D
    When I was in Korea, I had a hard time with being a picky eater because the description on the English menu didn’t actually match what I got. I remember getting a BLT – it didn’t say it had mayo (which I don’t eat), so I thought it would be OK. turns out chopped up bacon and mayo were mixed together and then they added olives. I was able to eat part of the bread, L & T. I was feeling sick already because of jet lag (it was the day after I had arrived and I hadn’t eaten yet) & that didn’t help at all. My problem was that I’m used to all of the main elements of a dish to be listed in the menu (usually with verbose text) so the addition of extra ingredients (especially the olives) surprised me, so be careful.
    I stopped buying sandwiches at that shop but they had the best Orangeade!
    I have to watch my sodium intake so I normally avoid soups (which I love).
    One restaurant a lady was surprised I was trying to read the menu, and she said they were only serving two things (it was around 2 pm) both were soups and I said “Soup is too salty.” I was really disappointed because I was very hungry and wanted Korean food not Korean version of American, Italian, XX foods. but she said “Not salty. You add salt” So I got the seollangtang “beef soup”. It was beyond awesome. I didn’t add any salt and the flavor was so incredibly rich and beefy. I miss it so bad.
    I know that the stews are really high is sodium because they are made with kimchi, tofu and various sodium rich ingredients. So I never tried those but the memory of seoollangtang and samgyetang still lingers in my brain.
    Anyway – be careful if you have food restrictions in Korea because the menu may not match up exactly. Also, kimchi isn’t usually vegan, vegetarian, or kosher because it often contains shrimp. I don’t know if it would be halal. (I only know that because I checked it out for my Hindu friends)

    4 years ago
  15. Nice article! I have a question for a TL,DR. I was reading about the MERS outbreak in Korea and it made me curious about how Korea deals with outbreaks like it. I’ve heard that many are blaming it on the “hospital culture” that Korea has that involves communal rooms, patients being cared for by their family, and other stuff that is bad for containing viruses. Have you guys had any hospital experiences and seen this kind of stuff? Are people worrying about the MERS outbreak or is it not that big of a deal? Maybe you’ve already done something like this and I forgot. But if you haven’t it’d be interesting to hear about! Thanks :)

    4 years ago
  16. Hey I would like to know what it is like to travel internationally with a pet. What do you have to do to make sure your furry family member is safe for the flight and how do you tell the air port?

    4 years ago
    • That actually depends on where’re your from and which country you are going to. Because in my country, it’s a little bit strict. There’s a long and I’d say expensive process before you’re able to board the flight with your pet. You’ve got to bring it to the vet for a check up, make sure that it’s not sick or infected by any kinds of disease. If you don’t have the documentation saying that your pet is well and healthy, it wouldn’t be allowed on board. And I think that you’ll need to pay extra for its “ticket” or something like that. And if you’re heading to my country with a pet, you’d need to quarantine it at a local pet clinic until it’s confirmed by the vet that your pet is healthy and able to roam around. Lol. And that usually costs a lot too. So yeah, it really depends on the country.

      4 years ago
  17. Hello :) I have a lot of food allergies so I was a little bit worried when I went to Korea last year. But it was actually quite easy, especially in Seoul. There are usually pictures of the food so you see what you are getting which is very helpful.
    I never asked anyone for help so I don’t know how well a waiter could answer questions, but I guess it depends on the person you ask^^

    4 years ago
  18. Hi~! First of all, thank you EYK for talking about this!!! :D
    Bear with me a little as I’ve experienced quite a lot since I got here (and I’m also very talkative..hah!)

    STAYING IN KOREA (AS A MUSLIM):

    For the past few months, Korea has become the first place that comes to mind when I think of ‘home’. It only took me a day or two to adjust to my new surroundings and after that I felt right at home here. Muslim people may be in the minority here, but oddly enough, I feel that people accept me the way I am even more in Korea than anywhere else.
    I am a Eurasian Muslim female who grew up in England, so my impression of Korea (or rather, Koreans) may be a little different to those who were raised in more ‘Islamic’ countries. However, upon my travels, I’ve seen A LOT- racism, sexism..and in a more positive light: kindness in the most unlikely of places, from people you you might least expect to show you such kindness.

    Honestly..since my arrival in Korea, I have only experienced racism ONCE- but that person just happened to be my ex-boss! He was rude to everyone, so I wouldn’t say that the hate was simply targeted at me BECAUSE of differences in faith, however he did try to provoke me into a fight one time when he got a bit tipsy. That’s about it, really. Everyone else has been so so kind and helpful, so I don’t really think there’s much to worry about. Wherever you go in the world, there’s bad people and good people alike, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    I know some hijab-clad ladies may find it a bit strange to be asked about WHY they cover their hair, but with curiosity comes a chance of a better understanding of the outside world. Every time they ask me a question, I praise the Lord that I’ve been given more opportunities to show people what Muslims are REALLY like. I answer their questions (even the WEIRDEST ones e.g. premarital chastity), in hope that maybe, just maybe, one day there might be less media-provoked hate towards people of my religion. How can we expect to be loved and understood without loving and understanding other people at the same time? :) I kind of think that the fact that many Koreans don’t practice religion only means that you’d be asked a lot MORE questions if you’re a practicing Muslim. Why? Because it has the potential to make an interesting topic of conversation, and most Koreans I’ve come across tell me that I’m the “first Muslim woman they’ve ever met”, so they often take the opportunity to ask any questions that have been lingering in their minds.

    I haven’t at all been ridiculed for my choice of dress, but I guess that could also be partly down to differences in character? If you’re comfortable in your own skin and happy the way you are, shouldn’t you be confident enough to face the world without fear of what others may think of you? I’m Muslim, sure, but I also like cheonggukjang and kimchi…and embarrassing myself at the noraebang! We’re not THAT different, are we? We breathe the same air, live on the same planet.. we’re all just a bunch of cells, placed on this Earth for the same purpose. :P

    Quite a few Koreans I’ve met, both male and female, were so interested in Islam that they even wanted to try on a hijab themselves! If you’d like to be accepted here (even as a foreigner), I’d suggest trying some sort of cultural exchange. If you show an openness and genuine interest towards Korean culture, they might just do the same in return!^^/ I’ve never really been the type to do TOURISTY things- from day 1 I chose to mix with the locals and REALLY expose myself to Korean culture. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t surprised about how accepting people have been towards my chosen lifestyle- the Koreans I’ve met during my stay here even go as far as to search restaurants up on the Internet as we walk down the street looking for food- JUST to make sure they don’t serve alcohol. One friend even checks his watch and reminds me, “it’s time for you to pray”.

    Like in any country (especially Asian countries), negativity often comes from a lack of understanding, so if you’re worried about people accepting you in Korea (Muslim or otherwise)… just HELP them understand! :) Communication is such a beautiful, powerful thing, and the ability to speak another language would allow you to connect with so many more people and break so many barriers. There’s this one Korean proverb that often comes to mind, “안되면 되게하라” (if it doesn’t work, make it work). This can also apply here: if you feel that someone is being to prejudiced towards you, then EDUCATE them. Not in an argumentative way, but actually SHOW them what they fail to see in you. Shower them with so much love that they can’t even TRY to hate you- even if they’ve been listening to all the bs in the media! :P

    When it comes to finding a place to pray..there ARE a few places you can go, but if you’re in an area with no prayer room/mosque nearby (or at least a quiet, clean corner to pray), if it’s not too cold or raining outside, just pray in a park/garden under a tree or something! That’s what I do. People don’t usually react to this (unless you try this in America), but if you’re worried about scaring people, just put up a friendly little sign (in Korean): “I’m talking to God for a few minutes..don’t be scared!” :P Haha!
    There are a few guesthouses out there that cater for Muslim guests, including the newly-opened Eid Guesthouse in Itaewon and BoA Travel House in Hongdae.

    EATING IN KOREA (HALAL/VEGETARIAN):

    Honestly speaking, Muslims who were raised in countries where Muslims are among the minority would not have much difficulty finding food in Korea, as we would already be quite accustomed to looking for food that meets our needs. If in doubt, I’d say just go for vegetarian or seafood options. Of course, Koreans LOVE to eat meat, so you might have to just learn how to request for meat to not be included in the dish you’ve ordered. This may come as a shock to them at first (especially ahjummas who are used to serving gimbap WITH spam inside), but if you want to make things less complicated than they really are, just tell them (in Korean) that you’re vegetarian. :) You’d find it a lot easier to find food if you’re fluent in Korean or can at least read and look out for vital clues such as ‘pork’ in the ingredients. If you’re not fluent, however, I’d suggest asking someone to help you translate a few phrases for you to use while you’re here! ^^ If you’re staying in Korea long enough, it might be an idea for you to take up a Korean class. There are plenty of free classes out there if you can’t afford the Korean language programmes offered at universities! If I’m not mistaken, there’s also a Korean class at the mosque in Itaewon. :)

    Halal options ARE out there (not just in Itaewon) if you know where to look. There’s also an Istanbul Kebab in Hongdae that I used to go to quite often whenever I was craving a meaty snack. Delicious seafood can be found EVERYWHERE, so unless you’re allergic, I’d recommend you opt for the seafood options if you’d like to taste actual KOREAN food (since most halal restaurants in Korea serve foreign dishes and are incidentally more expensive than local restaurants). For vegetarians, there’s also Loving Hut, a vegetarian restaurant franchise. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the food tastes good so it’s still worth it! :) There ARE other options, but you could always just buy your own food to prepare by yourself. I know a few Korean vegetarians and even fruitarians..if they can survive, so can we! If in doubt, ask! If you want to cook your own Halal food, Itaewon has EVERYTHING. Grocery shopping in Korea is ALWAYS fun! ^^/ I think I’ve fattened up quite a few Koreans already..just from introducing them to the -halal- dishes from my country! If you can cook well, you’ll make a lot of friends in Korea because food softens people’s hearts better than anything else can. Food is LOVE.

    You’ll find your options are a lot wider if you broaden your understanding of Korean cuisine. Find out what each and every dish contains- do your own research prior to your trip. But be prepared for any surprises like bits of foreign meat in your veg/seafood dishes. Whatever you’re ordering, if you choose to go to a regular Korean restaurant, ALWAYS specify what you can’t eat.

    KOREAN ATTITUDE TOWARDS NOT EATING PORK/DRINKING ALCOHOL (& OTHER DIFFERENCES):

    Not eating pork or other meat tends to surprise a lot of people, but not to the extent that they’d back away from you. If they do, you’re obviously mixing with the wrong crowd! :P There’s a decent level of respect in Korea, so I’ve found that most people would do their best not to offend me as a Muslim to the point that most would refuse any offers of alcohol in my presence.
    As a female, I’m not at all pressured into drinking (although I would never have given in, anyway). Men tend to be pressured into drinking with their peers a lot more than women, but there’s no reason to accept a glass just because someone asks you to. I have a few Korean male friends who strictly don’t drink, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still bond with their peers. There are plenty of other options out there. I often find that standing strongly by my beliefs builds a higher level of respect from other people in the long run, but that doesn’t mean I should stamp my feet and have a tantrum if somebody else wants to eat or drink something that I can’t have. I can just have something else (and run away from scary drunk people)! Drinking isn’t the only way to bond with people or have fun. If someone seriously believes that, then prove them wrong. :P I did, and quite a few people were surprised about how crazy, fun and cheerful my friends and I are..without alcohol!

    This might sound a bit odd, but I’ve noticed a significant difference in the way I am treated by others as a ‘hijabi’ compared to some of my friends who are Muslim but do not cover their hair. ^^ I’d see it as a good thing because they seem to be more careful about the way they speak to me & treat me as a human being. They’re more cautious about touching me compared to my friends, and I get to see a more reserved, gentlemanly side to Korean guys. :P My strange-looking head covering seems to be serving its purpose well: I am not treated as an object or sexualised when I shouldn’t be, instead I tend to feel that my opinion is valued- and oddly enough, people tend to remember me easily with my hijab on! There’s no need to worry about being accepted!

    I’m not saying that you WON’T experience such problems in Korea, but I hardly did, and I’ve experienced extreme levels of racial/religious discrimination in other countries. Just..be careful. And keep calm. Fighting won’t amount to anything! ^^/

    4 years ago
    • Hi Sophie. I’d read your perspection on this matter and also your beautiful tips and advices. Thank you very much, as a muslim, I’ve been waiting for this kind words. I’m looking foward to read about travelling guide to Korea for muslim in 2017 Hope that you’ll respond to this. 고맙습니다

      3 years ago
    • That is so true! When being asked questions like “What’s that on your head?” or “Why do you have to wear that thing on your head?”, rather than looking at it in negative ways, why don’t we take this opportunity to educate others on Islam. And this does not necessarily mean we are trying to convert them or anything. It is just merely a way to help them better understand our religion. Because, it is very sad for me to say this, lately, people’s views on Islam are mostly negative – with all the terrorist acts and everything. So we should really take this chance to share with them what Islam truly is. If they cannot accept it or disagree with our beliefs then that’s okay. At least, we’ve done our part. Right? Sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree. As long as we respect one another, then we’ll all be fine! :)

      4 years ago
      • Yep! So far the people I’ve come across actually know what a hijab is, they know I have to eat halal food and stuff like that. They do ask a lot of questions, but it usually begins like, “Islam? Ahh~ nice to meet you! Hijab? Wow, so pretty!”
        To be honest, no one can be FORCED into converting to any religion, nor can women really be forced into wearing a hijab (it happens, but doesn’t mean it’s right). But like any religion, there are always individuals who try to force their beliefs on others. I have fond memories of the Jehovah’s witnesses and preachers on the streets of London:
        “JESUS LOVES YOU!”
        Me: *stop in my tracks, fall to the ground and wave my arms about* “ALHAMDULILLAH!!!”

        Yes, it is sad, but it’s also something that was foretold long before we were born. It’s a test for all of us..how should we react? :) I strongly believe that there needs to be more Muslims of all races, shapes and sizes in the media. Not in those crappy news reports, but doing positive things to counter all the negativity. We need more filmmakers, tv hosts, actors, artists and singers (more people like Yuna). People tend to fear what they don’t understand..but by familiarising them through the same media that is trying to pull us apart…we could bring people closer together. How often do you see a hijabi TV host, for example (on a non-religious show)?
        Yes! Mutual respect is very important. We can only do our best! :)

        4 years ago
    • Couple things/questions when reading your comment:
      1. ” the Koreans I’ve met during my stay here even go as far as to search restaurants up on the Internet as we walk down the street looking for food- JUST to make sure they don’t serve alcohol”
      Do you neccessarily have to eat in places that don’t serve alcohol? Is it alright if you go to a restaurant that serves it but you don’t drink it?

      2. “This might sound a bit odd, but I’ve noticed a significant difference in the way I am treated by others as a ‘hijabi’ compared to some of my friends who are Muslim but do not cover their hair. My strange-looking head covering seems to be serving its purpose well: I am not treated as an object or sexualised when I shouldn’t be”
      I get what you are trying to say, but you are also implying that because women who do not wear a hijab are treated more like objects when interacting with men. I strongly disagree with this belief as this isn’t the case or at least shouldn’t be a hasty generalization.

      4 years ago
      • eta: for the first question, I’m curious because I’ve gone out with Muslim friends who go to restaurants that serve alcohol but just don’t drink it.

        4 years ago
        • Just to clarify.. I come from a very mixed-up, multi-faith family (with atheists, too), and I often like to observe our similarities and differences. Even my siblings and I are not of the same religion. I do talk about our differences, but I see it as more of a positive thing than anything else. An observation, like “oh look, a tree!”
          …I don’t hate or look down on the tree, but it’s definitely there. So I’ll just smile and be like, “huh..fancy that.” :)

          4 years ago
        • Hi Mosh! Thanks for the questions~! :D
          1. Nope! We don’t HAVE to go to a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol, we just have to avoid it ourselves. ^^/ But I just find it sweet how some of them do that.

          2. I don’t mean that they are treated as objects per se, but there is a difference, however slight. It’s just something my friends and I noticed from the way we were treated (as we spent a lot of time together). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type who thinks everyone WOULD be treated as mere objects without donning the hijab, but I have seen a difference, and I too have experimented going out with & without a headscarf, so I’ve experienced this for myself. Just take this lightly.. :) When it comes to the hijab…I’d have too much to say about it- it’s impossible to explain in just one paragraph, which is why I’ve been contemplating making a video about it.
          All I’ll say is, although I identify myself as a feminist, I can’t deny what my friend and I have experienced here. It’s not an EXTREME difference, but it’s still there. I don’t think people even realised how differently they treated us, but we did. It’s as simple as that. :) The point I was trying to make was that if any Muslims (or hijabis like me) were worried about this, they would then be reassured. If people are slightly more reserved with us, this makes it easier for us to follow our religion. It’s a bit hard to explain, but some Muslims won’t even shake hands with the opposite sex. For a shy, reserved person (in this case), even being patted on the back or hugged can be a bit frightening sometimes. ^^; Moving or even just visiting a new country can be a bit scary at first, but it’s actually very fun~!

          4 years ago
    • I’m not Muslim but I still read this entire post just cuz it was just so lovely and beautiful :) I love your attitude on life and I’m glad to hear your experiences in korea and around the world! Thanks for sharing!

      4 years ago
      • Hi Tina! ♡
        Thank you..and thanks for taking the time to read my essay-long comment! You’ve made my day~!! hahahaha
        Wherever you go, it’s good to maintain a positive attitude. :D It kind of makes it easier for others to relax around the ‘scary foreigners’ (yes, some people do get a bit frightened to approach us)!
        I remember a group of ahjussis from my old guesthouse saying to my friend and I, “you girls are so bright and bubbly~! We like having you around because you always make us smile!” Haha ^^/

        Have a nice day~! ♡♡♡

        4 years ago
  19. Guys…I’d already considered you super awesome…but now I’d say that you’re SUPER MEGA EXTRA AWESOME for touching this topic!

    I am a Muslim but I’m not that nit-picky about food so I have never had difficulty finding food I can eat in a foreign country. I don’t mind eating at a non-halal restaurant but I’d mostly stick to chicken and beef (and occasional sushi or lamb or seafood) if I’d want to eat meat in a foreign country. As long as I don’t actually put pork into my mouth, it’s good enough for me (I know a lot of Muslims wouldn’t agree with me tho). When I was visiting my bf’s family in Germany, my bf and I were invited to a Gruenkohl lunch and the host was very considerate that he prepared a chunky delicious chicken breast specially for me while everything else was bascically pork. And on Christmas, my bf’s family switched the usual traditional German Christmas pork dish (dunno what it’s called XD) to mindblowing roasted deer (and lots of beef German sausages) just because I was there. And about alcohol, I just always refuse politely if anyone would offer me an alcoholic drink and they would totally understand that I don’t drink. I’d stick to water if need be.

    Did you say Bali for your anniversary? And mi goreng?? Hahahaha. Hope you enjoy part of my country and have a blast! ;)

    4 years ago
  20. Love this video. It’s nice that South Korea is so welcoming to other religions. Are there a bunch of Catholic and Christian churches too?

    4 years ago
  21. I’m so touched by this video! The image of Islam has been destroyed over the last couple of years whenever I meet anyone that’s considered of my religion or doesn’t judge me because of it I can’t help but think that they must be kind and understanding people. So that’s why I want to really thank you guys for making this video it means a lot to me. I actually don’t mind it at all when people ask me anything about my religion or headscarf, to me it means that they want to understand instead of just make a decision that is convenient for them.
    Also I don’t really expect anything from other countries regarding my diet or religion.(The prophet thought us to not burned our hosts (country or a household)). As long as I’m allowed to have a religion I’ll pray at home and eat seafood or anything vegetarian. So that’s not going to be a big problem I imagine. You guys made enough fapfaps with seafood and other halal deliciousness so I can’t wait to experience that. (except for the fermented stingray. I’ll pas on that one) One day KOREA One day I will be at your doorsteps to experience your exoticness… but for now I have a thesis to write…

    4 years ago
  22. Hi! This would be my first time leaving a comment here, ha!

    Anyways, I’m a Muslim and I visited S. Korea for a couple of weeks last December. I have to say that my trip was awesome and I had no trouble finding Halal food at all. The key thing is to do a research beforehand, just like I did. And the KTO website is very useful as they provide a handbook on Islam in Korea – and that includes where you can find Halal restaurants as well as mosques around Korea. I was surprised to find out that there are a lot of mosques not only in Seoul but also in other parts of Korea like Busan, etc. There’s even a small praying praying area (like a surau) at Everland!

    Halal food is everywhere, especially in Seoul. Most of them are, of course, in Itaewon but there are also several Halal restaurants in Myeongdeong. Even if you cannot find a Halal place, you can always resort to seafood. That’s what I did when I was there. Oh, the Pringles there are Halal too! Not sure if that applies to ALL Pringles, though. But the ones I bought at 7/11 are! Because they’re made in Malaysia and there’s a Halal sticker on it so yeah! Some of the canned foods (esp from Australia are Halal too). And Shin Ramyeon has also produced halal ramen but you have to double check! Not all their ramens are halal, only some!

    I wanted to write more but I’m blank atm haha! So I guess that’s about it. I hope this will help you lots who are planning to visit Korea in the near future!

    4 years ago
  23. Hello Simon and Martina! Great video!
    I’m going to Seoul this July to study Cultural Heritage in the Korean Historical Context. Do you have any recommendations on what monuments/museums to visit in Seoul?? Not the big touristy ones, but rather some smaller ones.

    And is there Intangible Heritage in South Korea? For instance here in the Netherlands we have Sinterklaas (a sort of second Christmas), the cheese market in Gouda, the klompendans etc.

    Maybe a idea for an TL;DR ^^

    4 years ago
    • I don’t know if this is touristy or not, but you have to see the Water Clock at the Palace Museum (on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung right by the subway exit). It’s amazing to see what was designed centuries ago.
      Oh and Seoul museum of history > Korean museum of history.
      There are many intangible Heritages in Korea, but many of them would likely be considered touristy.

      4 years ago
  24. I haven’t come across any halal korean bbq restaurant yet or maybe I’m just not aware..will researched more bout it for my next trip and I will check out Ansan too..thank u EYK..love you enjoy ur anniversary!!

    4 years ago
    • Yeah, haven’t come across a halal Korean bbq restaurant either! But they have a halal ttakkgalbi restaurant (Nami Ok) hee

      4 years ago
  25. I’ve been to Korea for 4 times for holidays,it’s not a big deal for me as long as I know what’s wrong and what’s right..btw I’m a Muslim..
    Food is always the main problem everywhere but for me I just don’t take meat,I can take seafood and bread,no worries or I just ate my own food that I bring along..oh and thanks to EYK I ate at the vegan food restaurant from ur fap fap program..but I haven’t come across halal abba

    4 years ago
  26. Hey hey! :)

    I was just in Korea last year (and boy do I miss it A LOT) and surprisingly for me the experience has been a pleasant one. Of course it was impossible for people not to stare because we do stand out with such an attire. But there weren’t any nasty comments or anything like that and the people there received us well! (Except for some angry bus ahjussis who couldn’t stand our indecisive and lost minds)

    We chose to stay in an apartment in Itaewon therefore food wasn’t really an issue. We kept a couple of staple food like bread, egg, sausages and lots of snacks for breakfast mostly, and also in case we get hunger pangs in the middle of the night (which we often do). In Itaewon, there’s quite a number of halal food stores selling halal products so that wasn’t much of a concern for us. We researched a list of halal food places as well beforehand so we’d get to eat while we’re out and about. Here’s two of our faves:

    1. Murree
    The only place with halal korean food. You see, we were really hoping to eat korean food since we’re in Korea and didn’t want to only be limited by turkish/malay food options. So we ate there like multiple times because of the kimchi everything. Really good too!

    2. Yanggood Korean BBQ
    U H M A Z I N G. There’s like korean grill so we ate yummy lamb and the ambience was really nice too! To find the place however, requires heaps of patience and Googlemap.

    I also heard that in Nami Island there’s a restaurant serving halal dosirak (mixed rice in mesh tin, shake and eat!). We didn’t get the chance to go there so we didn’t get to explore that option either! But perhaps for all you people out there, you could give it a try and share with us! In Jeju however, there’s seafood being served island wide so it’s slightly safer to eat once we’ve confirmed that pork or alcohol is not served or used. I’d suggest for all Muslim travellers to prepare the ‘dialogue’ for that to be asked at every food stop, just in case!

    I wish the best for all of ya’ll heading to Korea, have truckloads of fun! ;)

    4 years ago
  27. When I lived in Korea for two years I was vegetarian with a mostly vegan diet. I also didn’t really cook but boy did I learn quick. Haha. I would say the hardest part was wanting to go out and having to prepare in advance where I wanted to eat. For instance if I knew where I wanted to hang out for the day, I would have to look up restaurants around the area before hand. If I didn’t then I would have to wander for hours trying to find somewhere where I could eat.

    I went back for a visit last year this time as a vegan and I mostly ate at Loving Hut but I also ordered pizza without cheese and yachae kimbap.

    Here are my tips for vegans/vegetarians in Korea

    1. Learn the essential Korean phrases and how to say No egg, no cheese, no milk plus NO + the different meats and seafood.

    2.To say I don’t eat meat is not enough because a little bit of ham in your kimbap for them is not meat. The odeng (fish cakes) in the ddeokbokki isn’t meat, the dashida (beef soup stock) in your soup isn’t considered meat. So learn to say is there ____ in _______ as well.

    3. Make Korean friends that understand your dietary needs and that can help you when ordering at a Korean restaurant.

    4. Loving Hut restaurant is your friend! You can also most likely eat at Indian and Italian restaurants.

    5. Bring snacks and a packed lunch if you’ll be gone all day and you don’t know if there will be any food you will be able to eat.

    6.Learn how to order vegetarian Kimbap, vegetarian buchimgae (Korean pancakes) and pizza without cheese in Korean. And when all else fails eat jjeolmyun (cold chewy noodles with mixed vegetables) and vegetarian bibimbap. Just remember to ask for no egg

    4 years ago
  28. Hello simon and martina! Im a muslim from singapore! Last year i had a chance to visit korea and it was superb! Im planning to go again ! I dont think food was a challenge during my stay there! I enjoyed korean food so much!! I tried most of the halal stalls /restaurants and also make do of the non halal ones,just ask for no alcohol/no ham/pork .. And etc.. With the help of my broken korean! And i dont feel discriminated at all, but few of koreans especially the ahjummas;) asked where im from and were quite surprised when i told them tht i am a singaporean, maybe they never thought tht there are muslims in singapore overall, i really really absolutely enjoyed my trip there! I even visited eyk studio but u guys were nt in. ☺️ Btw! Thank you for this video! Totally love it! Well i do love all of ur videos!

    4 years ago
  29. Kookmin University doesn’t even have a kitchen for the students in their dorms (off campus 2/3 don’t). I don’t know how the muslim students here do it ㅠㅠ. I went to eat with muslim students at a chinese restaurant and they found something that was a lot of mushrooms, it seemed. I can’t think of anything available at the school cafeterias. Everything is meat.

    4 years ago
  30. So in the video you linked to /muslim-in-korea not /being-muslim-in-korea oops :)

    4 years ago
    • AH! Stupid WordPress. I made the URL, and it changed it to the title of the URL. Stop fixing me, WordPress!

      4 years ago
  31. I’ve been to Korea several times and there are still occasions when people would stare me up and down especially since I wear a hijab. I’ve learned to ignore the staring but so far, most of my encounters with Koreans have been rather pleasant.

    Ahjusshis particularly like to come up to me for a chat while ahjummas would always give us some free service when we speak Korean with them. Food was particularly challenging to deal with the first time I went to Korea, mainly because I couldn’t find food that met the Halal criteria. It required you to be really creative with what you could eat. But now, food isn’t a problem if you know where to look.

    This blog has been the MOST useful guide for Muslims in Korea especially for food options: http://budgettravel2korea.blogspot.com/?m=1

    I particularly love Nippong Naeppong and Loving Hut!

    4 years ago
  32. Ash

    Also! For vegetarians, vegans, allergy prone individuals, etc. (maybe even halal? I’m not 100% sure about that..)

    There is a food service called Sprout that makes sugar-free, additive-free, gluten-free, plant based whole foods meals, snacks, and desserts. They are NOT a restaurant. They are a pick up service open on Sunday nights in Itaewon. I’ve tried lots of their food and it’s all delicious! You can find them on Facebook under Sprout-Natural Healthy Whole Food Service. Happy healthy eating!

    4 years ago
  33. Oh, awesome topic for a TL;DR! I usually follow a pescetarian diet when in foreign countries where Halal food is hard to come by. I adore seafood though, so I don’t mind. Thanks for gathering all this helpful info, especially when Islam is so uncommon in South Korea. :)

    4 years ago
  34. I went to korea last 2 years….i will comeback again after convince on the MERS issue is under control. As a muslim in a non muslim country…the only thing we consider is the ingredients and gow the food prepare…if it contains pork or have alcohol in it so it is big NO NO actually it also include any sort of meat coz we muslim have a way to kill the animals. So if we want to eat we have to make sure that the stock use is non meat based. In order to achieve this..we will memorize the korean sentences we cannot eat meat. When i was there, i manage to enjoy local foods in local sikdang ….will come back again for their food…

    4 years ago
  35. I was vegetarian before my first visit to Seoul, but went pescatarian and survived just fine.

    I have been tempted by your FAPFAPs though, I might eat some meat upon my next trip there. In Japan I broke my pescatarianism and even at raw chicken. Never thought that would happen! lol! Have you guys tried it?

    http://www.chow.com/uploads/4/2/9/626924_p1190857.jpg

    4 years ago
  36. Ash

    I think instead of calling Koreans “irreligious” it would be more appropriate to say they’re spiritual. You can be spiritual without have a religion.

    Something I’d like to know more about is how the Korean public feel about Muslim women wearing any form of head scarves. I saw a couple women wearing their niqabs and the Koreans walking by did double takes and openly laughed at them. Inside I felt so angry at those people, but I can imagine it was their first encounter seeing women dressed like that. That’s really the only time I’ve seen something like that. There are many Musilm Yonsei students I see and I’ve never detected any disdain from their peers. Just curious if what I saw was totally uncommon or if it happens more often. Breaks my heart to see people’s religions scorned and treated with little respect. :(

    4 years ago
  37. I am a vegetarian but never had too much troubles with it. I think the most trouble was in France, but this was like almost two decades ago. There we had to go into the big city near our campsite and somewhere in this side street in this store that sold all kinds of stuff we found some vegetarian stuff. Until that time we just ate salads and omelets.
    Japan was mostly hard because I wanted to eat with the tour group I was with. But if I had been in an apartment so I could cook for myself or went alone so I could choose my restaurants and be less bothered by it. I just didn’t want to eat alone all the time. So I had to send back some food or pick out the meat. But that is just the difference between cultures and the language barrier.
    But there is this app called HappyCow and you can just look for vegetarian or vegan restaurants or restaurants that are vegetarian friendly. So that makes it a lot easier.

    4 years ago
  38. Well, my experience in Korea when we visited about two years ago was awesome! I’m a born Muslim but not the religious sort, so I was able to enjoy a bunch of culinary delights, however, my boyfriend had a bit of a difficult time adjusting to some things. Seafood is considered halal in Islam, regardless of how it’s prepared so he was pretty much dependent on it (no complaints there either since he loves seafood!). While he doesn’t mind the idea of it being cooked or served in the same dish as non-halal beef or chicken, he’s quite against it if it’s on the same platter as pork. Aside from religion, he says he’s more iffy about pork for health reasons, same applies to consuming alcohol. Can’t really comment on the availability of prayers rooms/mosques as neither of us are religiously diligent >_<;

    We're planning to visit again in October this year. Hope to catch you guys in your cafe! Cheers!

    4 years ago
  39. I’m an international student in Shanghai and there are many many Muslims here, mainly because the north-west of the country is mainly of that religion so all of our canteens have a separate smaller Halal canteen attached to each one.

    Also, not all Buddhist monks are vegetarian! My classmate last semester was a Thai monk and we asked him why he was allowed to eat meat (he said Thai monks are allowed, but Chinese monks are not) and he would often treat our entire class to lunch at a Halal restaurant that was nearby our classroom. The only thing was that he wasn’t allowed to sit with any female classmates, so he always had male classmates on either side of him. I’m not Muslim but this was really interesting – thanks for sharing :)

    4 years ago
  40. TLDR Question! Whats up with the MERS outbreak in Korea? Is it dangerous at the moment and how are the people and government responding to it? I’m planning to go to Korea at the end of this year but hearing about it is making me and my family unsure of whether or not I should go, so I would love to know more about it. THANKS :))

    4 years ago
    • I think you’d be totally fine to come to Korea 6 months from now… I think you’d be fine to come right now. The government has put a lot of people under quarantine, because they were in contact with infected people. But all the infected people were in a hospital ward or floor with the infection so far. The government sent out a big scary emergency alert telling us all to wash our hands, and cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, avoid sick people, and to maybe wear a mask if we feel like it. They’ve closed down a lot of schools that a near hospitals with patients, but many of them have reopened or are planning to reopen by the end of the week.

      I do see a few people wearing masks… maybe a little more than normal, but generally people don’t seem too panicked.

      If you go check out the WHO and CDC info on the MERS virus it’s really not that bad. It’s only very dangerous to you if you have a weakened immune system or underlying health or respiratory problem. Besides that, I was reading some sciency journals and MERS is believed to be less contagious than the flu, and unlike SARS, which targets young and healthy people, the people getting it are either very sick, very old, or very young.

      You shouldn’t worry too much, and don’t let it ruin a potentially lovely trip unless it gets MUCH worse than it is now… highly unlikely. The WHO has sent people into Korea this week, so if you’re worried and want to keep updated, follow what they’re doing, they’ll have good reliable information.

      4 years ago
      • Well that’s good to know! I’m going there in about a month and I have been worrying a little about this MERS outbreak, but it seems like it’s under control! :-)

        4 years ago