January 27th, 2014
02:30 PM ET
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The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked - even overwhelmed.

He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: "Ecstasy."

Much like what Twinkies are to Americans, South Korea's Choco Pies - two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, sandwiching a rubbery layer of marshmallow cream - are ubiquitous, cost less than 50 cents and are full of empty calories.

But on the other side of the Korean border, the snacks are viewed as exotic, highly prized treats, selling on North Korea's black markets for as much as $10, according to analysts. Their rising popularity in the north reveals an unexpected common ground between the two Koreas, despite their fractious relationship - a shared sweet tooth.
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October 9th, 2013
11:00 AM ET
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Seoul's ever-shifting restaurant and bar scene is dependent on the fickle nature of Korean eaters.

This makes the capital a dangerous place to attempt new ideas, yet one that also forces restaurateurs and bar owners to embrace innovation and change.

A dozen noteworthy arrivals have opened in the past year and a half. They're listed here in alphabetical order.
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Filed under: Korea • Korean • Restaurants


July 22nd, 2013
12:15 AM ET
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I'm sitting in a tiny, open-air seafood restaurant in Yeonhwari fishing village in Busan, South Korea, waiting for my breakfast.

In the distance, on the rocky shore, a local haenyeo ("sea woman") is picking through her morning's catch.

"She's late," says a fellow patron when she notices me staring. "All the other haenyeo have already finished their diving and delivered their catch."
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Filed under: Korea • Korean • Restaurants • Travel


In Seoul subways, ditch the cart and grocery shop by phone
January 11th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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Phones do everything in South Korea.

On a recent reporting trip to the country, I made a point of asking people about interesting ways they use their smartphones.

Some answers weren't too shocking. Lots of people know Koreans use their phones to make purchases (that's a new-ish idea here in the U.S., and one that Google is pushing) and in place of public-transit tickets.

Cab drivers in Seoul give you weird looks if you try to pay with a credit card instead of with a tap of your phone.

But one answer surprised me:

People now use their phones to buy groceries in the subway.

Read "In Seoul, a virtual grocery store in the subway" on CNN's What's Next blog.

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Filed under: Bite • Culture • Korea • Travel


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