What makes a trip memorable for you? Participating in local events? Learning to cook local food? Or picking up a few words from the foreign language? For me, it is making friends with the locals and tasting home-cooked food. We had the perfect opportunity to ate at a Korean’s home this summer. After the meal, we put on the beautiful hanbok and chatted about what it is like to live in Korea. Do we know the host beforehand? Nope. Then, how did that happen?It is Anispoon that brought us together. Anispoon is a platform that connects foreigners to the daily life of the host country through home cooked meals. It gives foreign visitors the chance to feel the real Korea by tasting Korean food, experiencing Korean culture and making Korean friends through the platform!
Prior to our trip, I learned about this platform, which at that time showcased about 20 Korean hosts who participated in the program to share home meals with foreign visitors. Each host was distinct – they were located in different parts of the country, spoke different languages (English/Chinese/Japanese), cooked different meals, provided different activities for the guests, and priced differently. I read through each of their bios and feedback from previous guests, then found one that particularly caught my eye – Super Grandma, a 72-year-old lady, fluent in English, living near Seocho Station in Seoul. Furthermore, based on the feedback, she was comfortable with technology and was fast in replying emails! (No wonder she is a super grandma!)
After confirming the host was a good match for us, we selected the date, time, # of people, and proceeded with payment via PayPal. The prices ranged from USD$30~$50 per person. Within 48 hours, we received the confirmation email with the contact info of the host and notes on etiquette tips.
The host was also informed about the reservation; however, we were expected to confirm the time and place with her via emails or phone prior to the meeting day.
When the day arrived, we met Super Grandma, Mary at Seocho station. She then brought us to her apartment where she had a table of Korean food waiting for us. Mary treated us like her own grandchildren, watching us enjoy the 4 Korean dishes she prepared, including japchae (‘sir-fried sweet potato starch noodles’), sigeumchi namul (‘spinach salad’), ganjang gejang (‘raw crabs marinated in soy sauce’), and mul-kimchi (‘water kimchi’).
We had a wonderful evening exchanging travel experiences and life stories. After the meal, Mary took out hanbok (‘traditional Korean dress’) for me to try on 🙂 (It’s a pity that there was man’s hanbok for Kev to try on. It’s okay, he was happy being my photographer :P)
Two hours flew by quickly, it was time to say goodbye. Mary offered to take us around the city on our next trip to Korea 🙂 Great food and great company. What an enjoyable experience for us! Thank you, Anispoon, for adding a personal touch to our Korea trip.