At 7am a family of four ramen pots sit gazing out towards the river. It’s been a long night but now, all packed up and ready to go, they are waiting for their ride to take them home.
The peak season for spring blossom viewing came to an end in Yeouido with live music and entertainment. Over the past week the riverside has been packed with visitors socialising, taking selfies underneath the falling petals, and of course eating and drinking … But every morning the Hangang has had a serious hangover, with the aftermath of the night before strewn along the riverside. But by 7am the cleanup is already well underway.
These weren’t the only ramen pots left on the riverside. This pot had no one to keep him company, except for two sets of chopsticks left standing in the uneaten noodles.
A stream of plastic bags and empty soju, coke, and tea bottles runs down to the river, while flyers from local delivery restaurants lie strewn on the steps on the riverbank.
This happens every year when big events are held. With so many people gathered by the river in the evening, some say it’s simply too hard to find a bin.
So what did the visitors who came to the river in the evening eat? I will investigate through the medium of leftover rubbish.
On the grass near the convenience stores along the river, ramen seems to have been a popular choice. The convenience stores supply hot water for the noodles. But by the time these noodles were ready to eat the customers had changed their minds about being hungry…
CONVENIENCE STORE GHOSTS
Looks like this group of four suddenly realised that they were going to miss the last train home and they had to hurry leaving their noodle trays on the table outside the convenience store. The proprietor has stuck a sign on the table with written directions as well as a large arrow pointing to the nearest bin. 😕
Korean food is all about sharing, especially at festivals. And one popular choice for a communal snack is tteok-boki. Mr Kim loves tteok-boki. Chewy rice cakes in the shape of miniature sausages served in a mildly spicy red chilli sauce. (Hmm. To me it’s just ok.) But there must have been a tteok-boki truck up on the road nearby because it was tteok-boki city in some areas of the river!
These visitors left the scene in a hurry too. As the picnic is left just as it was, we can see that the ‘table’ used was a cardboard box that once contained packets of instant ramen. There are at least 4 sets of chopsticks around and paper cups, some still filled with water.
TTEOK-BOKI WITH COCKTAIL STICKS
This solitary bowl was left on a bench. Judging by the two cocktail sticks (used to pick up the rice cakes) there were two people, perhaps a young romantic couple but not too nervous to eat – there are no leftovers here.
TTEOK-BOKI WITH CORN ON THE COB
The colours in this picture look more like autumn than spring. Again all the rice cake has been eaten – and a corn on the cob has been very diligently nibbled too.
TTEOK-BOKI WITH BLOSSOM
Two cocktail sticks remain but this couple was not so hungry. Perhaps they had already had dinner but felt compelled to join the other visitors in a snack. A sprig of blossom plucked from a nearby tree garnishes the dish.
FRIED CHICKEN & LONELY DAIKON RADISH
Evidence suggests that the local chicken and pizza delivery services did a roaring trade during the festival. The delivery men arrive on scooters and aren’t allowed to drive into the riverside park so you have to go to one of the entrances to pick up your food. Fried chicken always comes with a side dish of cubed white radish. Cubes of radish that look like sugar cubes lie forlonly in the grass.
It’s not a festival without beondegi – boiled silkworm pupae. You can smell this stall a mile off as the silkworms are boiled in a large pot. But this pot of silkworms has been abandoned on the riverside.
Clearing up is a big job but there are plenty of workers to do it and in a couple of hours the riverside will be free from rubbish for another day.
Oops, missed a bit…