The Big Perilla Leaf Debate
And how to understand it
안녕하세요, it’s Ari, your friendly Korean source and your weekend reminder 🎉 I learned that my last newsletter was sent to many of you twice. Substack, an email newsletter service I use let me know that there was an error so they accidentally sent some emails twice or more to subscribers. Sorry for any inconvenience caused 🙏
Today’s newsletter is about a big debate everyone is talking about, a rap lyric from Thunderous by Stray Kids, a spicy meat recipe, and my new Korean exercise book 🥳📕. Let’s start!
🥢 The Big Perilla Leaf Debate
There’s been a fierce debate going on for months now on Korean Internet. It’s called, “The perilla leaf debate” or 깻잎 논쟁. It’s about an imaginary situation in which you're eating with your partner and your friend. One side dish on the table is pickled perilla leaves ☝ (marinated in soy sauce & chili flakes). This Korean dish is notoriously hard to peel one by one and your friend goes to grab a leaf, but two leaves are stuck together. So in this situation, A) is it okay for your partner to use her/his chopsticks to help the friend peel off a leaf, or B) is this going too far?
I bet you heard about this debate especially if you’re a K-Pop fan. A lot of idols are participating in the debate on video call fan-sign events, interviews, and Instagram story Q&As. Korean fans are curious about how idols would answer because it’s a big trend everyone is talking about and it’s a chance to learn about their favorite idol’s attitude in a relationship.
So what’s your pick? A? or B? 🤔 I found an interesting poll about this debate on Twitter answered by 13,841 international ARMYs. As you can see ☝, about 70% of them picked A. I saw many comments saying they don’t know why it’s even a date because they think it’s surely fine for their partner to help their friend peel off a leaf. I also noticed that some international idol members answered the same. NCT’s Mark who’s from Canada recently said, “I was shocked that one can even be bothered by that!”
I believe this debate is trending in the country because it’s divided in half. There are many Koreans who think it’s going too far and I think it’s because of Korean relationship culture. I feel that taking care of or helping someone, especially adults, when eating is often exclusive between a couple or a family here in Korea. So what’s considered as an etiquette in other countries can be taken as flirting here. That must be why some Korean idols including V of BTS firmly answered B.
I thought about this issue and I decided to go for B as well. I don’t think I’ll be really happy to see my boyfriend help my friend peel off a leaf. But more importantly, I don’t think my friend will be happy to get help because she could take it as flirting which is … 🙅🏻♀️🤯
P.S. Let me know your pick in comments!
🎤 Mic Drop- Thunderous by Stray Kids
Mic Drop is a new voicemail where you can send me your Korean speaking or rap. Today’s rap is from Thunderous by Stray Kids. I was listening to the song and I found a freaking good 😇 rap lyric we should practice together,
나무꾼은 어서 돌아가시오 여긴 나무랄 데가 없네
(If you play the above video, it starts at the rap lyric.)
The lyric is translated as “Go back woodcutter, there's nothing to cut here” in the music video. It’s actually a pun using two expressions that sound similar. 나무꾼 means woodcutter and 나무랄 데가 없다 means ‘to be perfect, have nothing to be corrected.’ So in this line, 나무꾼 represents a hater who tries to criticize you or ‘cut’ your self-esteem and you send the hater away saying “You don’t have any business here. I have nothing to be hated or corrected (나무랄 데가 없다).”
Words in this line,
나무랄 데가 없다 V. To be perfect, flawless, have nothing to be corrected
👄 You can practice rapping the above lyric on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other your favorite podcast platforms. Don’t forget to send me your rap 👇 If you send it by Tuesday 11pm EST, your voice will be on the next week’s podcast!
🥵 Jeyuk bokkym
Long time no meat food recipe! Today’s food is jeyuk bokkeum or spicy stir-fried pork. If you love samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), you’ll love this food since it’s samgyeopsal stir-fried with pepper powder, soy sauce and some vegetables. It’s the food that busy Korean workers often have for lunch and one of the frequent school meal side dishes. It goes very well with rice but I bet it goes well with pasta, too. In the cooking video above, it used pork belly but you can replace it with any pork you have. Koreans do that all the time. You can also replace green onion with other vegetables. My recommendation is cabbage 😋
📕 New book) Not Studying Korean, Just Filling in the Blanks
🎉 My second Korean exercise book, Not Studying Korean, Just Filling in the Blanks, finally came out! With this book, you’ll learn some basic grammar and vocabulary including slangs. After that, you’ll solve 60 ‘fill in the blank’ questions about K-Drama, K-Pop, and relationships. It would mean the world to me if you let me know your score after solving questions :D It’s only available in e-book. Check it out!
Thanks for reading! If you liked my newsletter, ❤👇, share, and leave a comment to make my day. Virtual McDonald’s where you can practice how to order in Korean will be closed this week again 🙏 because I still cough ㅠㅠ 🙃 It’ll open as soon as my cough stops. 안녕 👋