So today Stephanie posted on her blog Crazy for Kdrama a post titled Gift Ideas for the Kdrama Lover. In it, she suggests gift ideas that would make a kdrama lover happy. Specifically, a kdrama lover living far away from Korean food and other stuff, and that really got me thinking.
Living outside of the US, I used to think how great it would be if we could get DramaFever here too. They’ve got most of the new Korean shows, English subs are fast and good, what’s not to love? So I was always a little disappointed that where I live is a DramaFever-free zone.
So where do I live? In Asia. Singapore, to be exact.
And today, reading Stephanie’s post, I realized that I have got it so good – like, really, SO good – here, as a kdrama lover.
First of all, THE FOOD.
Korean food is so easily available. Korean restaurants are everywhere, serving good, delicious Korean food. This photo is of a meal that I shared with a friend – just the 2 of us! And it was so satisfying.
Even food courts offer Korean food, and some stalls are run by actual Korean ahjummas and ahjusshis who entertain me when I practice my limited Korean on them. I even have a stall that sells very decent kimchi pancake just a 10 minute walk from my doorstep.
Living in a food paradise, it’s easy to take for granted that we have all kinds of food easily available. But for a kdrama lover, it’s pretty special to have access to all kinds of Korean food, and to have the option of having them at low food court prices is such a bonus.
And then there’s Korean foodstuffs in supermarkets.
Korean ramyun is everywhere. In all the major supermarkets and even the mini marts.
Not only do the supermarkets carry ramyun, they also offer other stuff like Korean hot pepper paste, soybean paste and even the individually-packaged cooked rice that we see on our screens all the time. Some supermarkets even have a Korean corner.
And of course, there are also little Korean mini marts scattered among selected malls, where you can even get different kinds of kimchi, not just the cabbage type.
And then there are the BEAUTY PRODUCTS.
Korean beauty products are everywhere too. Personal care stores, pharmacies and beauty shops carry a plethora of Korean brands, and we get full ranges of not just BB creams, but moisturizers, lotions and sheet masks.
There are also more and more standalone stores from Korean brands like Missha, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Skinfood and more. Major departments stores also feature more and more counters by Korean brands. Now we even have Sulwhasoo available.
All this means that a kdrama lover on any budget can get his or her Korean beauty fix. And usually conveniently too.
And then there are the BOX SETS.
There is literally a DVD store in every mall. Sometimes you get several DVD stores in a single mall. And Singapore is full of malls.
The DVD stores are especially prevalent in the suburban malls, which support the residential masses. Most people have a suburban mall minutes away from their doorstep. And there is a DVD store like this one, in practically every one of those malls.
All of these DVD stores stock shelves and shelves of kdrama. Most sets come with good English subs. Some sets come with Chinese subs. Some stores even offer rental options.
See. Even the technology-challenged kdrama lover who doesn’t know how to get his or her drama fix online can easily get their hands on good kdrama.
Finally, there are the K-EVENTS & CONCERTS.
Ok, so I’m not exactly a kpop fangirl. But hey, those idols are crossing over in droves, and a kdrama fangirl quickly becomes able to appreciate the kpop idols in their primary arena where they really shine.
Singapore’s become a popular place for kpop groups to hold their concerts, and we recently had a monster concert last month when SMTOWN Live Tour III came to town. Over 40 Korean pop stars from top K-pop acts like SNSD, SHINee and Super Junior, ALL IN ONE CONCERT??
Any kpop fan’s dream.
And let’s not forget that the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were held in Singapore last year too, and the Hallyu stars all descended on our little island in a dizzying drove.
All the k-fangirls and fanboys went out in stalkery droves. And those who couldn’t go out got to see the whole thing telecast live on local TV.
How’s that for a national effort in supporting k-lovers?
Well. I gotta say, after that long reflection on how good I have it as a kdrama lover here, I am more grateful than ever.
Don’t be jealous.. I feel your pain. Come visit! We’ll go for kimchi pancakes and have a good squee over our favorite k-people 🙂
Wow. I love your blog. Been lurking and reading. And after reading so many articulate and great analysis/articles and reviews… i find out you are from Singapore. That’s where I am from/live. (Not sure why, but i feel really happy about that!)
And thanks so much for your post on Hong Jong Hyun – Kinda liked what you wrote about him and that cpgot me so intrigued that i actually checked him out… and only discovered him when he has gone into the military!
I agree with your vuee that Singapore allows us to check in on all the concerts as they seem to come over often enough. (Not a kpop fan per se, but my students seem to go to kpop concerts with frightening regularity!) And the abundance of korean eateries here let’s me indulge in korean fiod fantasies ever so often!
I just need to sign up and learn the language to really take advantage of the number of korean schools here in Singapore!
Stay safe during this period – the coronavirus and all…
Hi there May!! Big official welcome to the blog! 😀 Thanks for coming out and letting me know you’re here! 🙂 Yay that we’re both from Singapore – hello, fellow +65! 😉 And absolutely yes, we are spoiled for choice here, when it comes to k-goodies! It’s so easy to get some k-skincare, or indulge in some Korean food. 😋 I have to admit that I didn’t acquire a taste for Korean food, until I’d acquired a taste for kdramas! 😆
Wow that my post on Hong Jong Hyun got you to check him out! If you haven’t watched The King Loves, I do recommend it. He’s quite lovely in that, and the role suits him well.
Thanks for your kind thoughts, you stay safe too, and keep your immunity up! ❤
In my city (which is where the state college is located in the state of Georgia in the US) has, I think, only like 3 Korean restaurants in the whole city. It sucks big time. They’re not even just Korean though. They’re “Korean & Japanese Express” places. Means it’s like fast food but not burgers or pizza or something. That and, according to an actual group of Korean/Korean-Americans who attend my school, it’s not good at all. At all. I didn’t like it much either when I tried it after school. It’s kind of overpriced too, for how little you food you get compared to the restaurants I’ve seen in K-Dramas/Varieties. *sob* Georgia’s also kind of notoriously known for never being a stop in most tours either. Even American pop acts don’t come here often. If they do, they go to the capital of the state, which is so far away and has terrible traffic. Apparently Atlanta is like number four in worst traffic in America. OTL Count your blessings, girl, while I go cry (and kind of wish I hadn’t read this. THE FOOD! TT TT).
Aww.. I feel your pain, Hope!! >.< How absolutely heart-wrenching & frustrating it must be, to feel like all your favorite things – food, concerts, & other k-stuff – are out of reach! T.T That must be so hard on you & every other k-loving heart in your city!! I hope you get to plan a holiday to Korea sometime, to get your fill of all things Korean!
In the meantime, it feels like Hallyu is making global inroads all the time! Hopefully this means that sometime soon, more places near you will start to offer Korean food and other items 🙂 Korean stuff wasn't always so widely available here too. It's only been in the last couple of years, when our local TV station started broadcasting kdramas, that the k-wave really became mainstream locally, and Korean everything started popping up everywhere. Hang in there, Hope! Hwaiting! ^^
Hahaha, yeah it does suck sometimes, but, I’m not that obsessive (maybe not obsessive… I guess just not super-glued to my computer and dramas all the time? I like a good bit of American television, too I guess is what I’m saying) over my favorite Idols and actors and such like other fans I’ve found throughout the internet. I’d say they have it much worst. I’m just overdramatic! 🙂 I’m mainly just upset over the food. It looks so good~ TT TT My dad’s also not that into my love of Asia, so… If I DID ever suggest going out to an Asian food place not Hibachi Grill and Steakhouse (or something like that), he’d probably say no. 🙁 It’s so traumatic~ *falls to the floor with a full orchestra playing in the background*
We do have a pretty densely populated Korean area though, a little farther north than me, but this is America we’re talking about and it’s never easy to get anywhere. OTL That’s also how we have the boot-legged Korean channel on our TV (it broadcasts stuff from KBS World *cough hacked cough cough*). Thank you, Korean community up north, thank you! Now I can watch Happy Together with (crappy) English subtitles! Music Bank! Yu Huiyeol’s Sketchbook! And drama specials and stuff if my dad’s not hogging the TV. :/
Thanks for your support though! I find the internet’s asia-loving community is a little better than the actual Korean community at my school. (The girls seem to think they have a better chance with their favorite Idols/actors because they’re Korean and/or speak Korean. They might, but it’s still not nice to rub it in someone’s face that they may or may not ever have a chance with Kim Soo Hyun- uh, I mean, their favorite Idols or actors… you didn’t read that. I don’t have a favorite K-Drama actor, what am I saying? *awkward laugh* XDDD )
LOL! You’re so cute! Do you regularly fall to the floor with a full orchestra playing in the background? I can see how that could get potentially inconvenient, having an orchestra tail you as you live your life, just in case it’s time for their next gig..?? XD I tease, heh.
Yes, the online community is pretty great, and you get to meet lots of cool people who share the same passion, which is one of the things I really appreciate about the dramaverse. Do you like Kim Soo Hyun?? I LOVE HIM! I think he’s awesome! And he was SOO sexy in Moon/Sun, completely blew me away! <3
Just like everyone else, I’m jealous …. >.< ….. the only thing we have here in France is Korean food I guess (thankfully I live in Paris !)
We did have a SMtown last year I think but tickets were sold out in like 10 minutes 0.O ….
I want beauty products !! I try to stock up on them whenever I go to Asia but it's not like I go there every year T.T
Yes, I’ve heard about how quickly those tickets sell out! It’s insane! It sold out super fast in Singapore too, and lots of people were really upset as well >.<
Aw, it's great that you get Korean food where you are! I personally think that makes the most difference, being able to satisfy a Korean food craving after watching a drama! 😀
Hopefully you start to get some beauty products soon! But I guess, at least you can tell yourself in the meantime, that you can stock up on beauty products or even order them online, but you can't do the same for food! If I had to pick just one, I'd choose to be closer to the food, actually! 😉
WOW! So jealous of the delicious food and access to concerts and the box sets ! Go enjoy it double for those of us without access!
I don’t generally do the concerts or the box sets much, but I make up for it by eating a LOT of Korean food! I even have Korean hot pepper paste in my refrigerator so that I can pretend that my Chinese style fried rice is bibimbap 😉
Yes, the food options here are pretty amazing, and I guess it also makes the most difference since we can choose to eat Korean food every single day if we wanted (vs. kpop concerts which just don’t happen everyday).
If only technology allowed us to share food over the web! Then I would be able to send you some Korean BBQ chicken, which is what we were having in the photo that I posted. If you know some techie guys, you should get them to start developing that technology right away 😉
Yep, your post may have made me cry a little bit. I’m crazy jealous! The food, the Kpop, the products, the food, the fan meets, the food! I’m off to pout.