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Pojang-macha (outdoor drinking tent)
A pojang-macha (outdoor drinking tent) isn’t like your typical pub. These drinking tents can usually be found popping-up alongside roads around 7 p.m., or so. People can enjoy the outdoor drinking environment until around 2~4 in the morning.

In Korea, the pojang-macha is the place for common folk and "salarymen" to go to relieve the stresses of life. The culture of the pojang-macha can be traced back to the 1970s. It was during this time that Korea began to experience its economic development. Citizens often put their country and companies first, thus often working long, hard hours. The pojang-macha became a place for coworkers to go and wind down after a long day's work.
(Soju is the commoner's drink of choice in Korea.)

Even on today's television dramas, you can see everyday people trying to relieve pent-up anger, crying, consoling friends, or even the main characters will find themselves alone trying to drink away their sorrows all at a pojang-macha.

Why not forget about the summer heat and head towards a pojang-macha, where you can enjoy some soju and escape the noisy streets?

1. A soup is served up as a general side dish with alcohol!
Every pojang-macha is different, but usually some kind of light soup is given on the house. (Dried squid and peanuts are found to suit beer quite well, whereas a nice hot odeng (fish cake) soup is a perfect match for Soju.)
2. Delicacies you can only taste at a Pojang-macha.
[Stir-fried chicken gizzards]
This dish is certainly always on the menu at a Pojang-macha. It has a chewy texture, but is light at the same time.
[Stir-fried boneless chicken feet]
This dish first involves the removal of the bones of the chicken feet, allowing you to savor the meat that has been boiled in soy sauce with a variety of spices. While this dish is often found at a pojang-macha, it is almost never found at regular restaurants. If you want to try this tasty dish, you must be sure to stop by a pojang-macha.
3. A delicious noodle-soup is a must-have!
You can't go to a pojang-macha without eating this food! Even people who don't want to drink alcohol often come here looking for a bite to eat. Being that there aren't really any 24-hour restaurants, people often stop by a pojang-macha just after midnight hoping to fill there late night cravings.
(Presently there are 24-hour convenience stores where people regularly eat ramyeon [spicy noodle soup] at all hours of the night.)
4. Other things to eat
Raw fish, chrysalis, grilled croaker, dried side dishes (peanuts, squid, fish), Korean style pancakes, fresh-water octopus, seafood mixed with bean sprouts and seasoning, etc.

Required etiquette when drinking alcohol in Korea.

1. Do not pour alcohol into a cup that is not completely empty. If you haven’t finished all of the alcohol in your cup, you should politely refuse. Once a cup is empty it is then customary to fill it.

2. When someone is pouring you liquor, it is polite to hold the cup. If the person serving you is older, you should hold the cup with two hands when you receive the liquor. Likewise, if you are serving alcohol to someone older than you, you should use two hands when pouring. When dining amongst friends, one hand may be used.

3. When you are drinking with those whom are older than you, it is best to turn your head away when drinking.

Visiting Korea on business, 4 men from Canada decided to stop by a pojang-macha. Kevin Feeny, Nick Stark and two other Consulting engineers are working with the Canadian Embassy. T2K interviewed these men, along with the director of a Korean construction company and 2 other workers, one night at a pojang-macha.

T2K : Is this your fist time to a pojang-macha? How do you like it?
→ Yes, it’s our first time to visit a pojang-macha. Canada also has some outdoor pubs. People especially like to visit them during the summer.

T2K: Do you like Korea’s soju? How the taste?
→ We really enjoy drinking soju. We have already finished one bottle.

T2K: What kind of side dishes are you eating?
→ We are eating such foods as: chrysalis, raw carrots, peanuts, and a noodle soup. The chrysalis is especially tasty and the carrots go really well with soju.

T2K: Have you had many chances to eat Korean food and if so, how was the taste?
→ We have eaten galbi before. We especially enjoyed the side dish: sliced and seasoned cabbage salad. The grilled garlic was also quite delicious. Our Korean business associates told us that garlic is a useful tool in SARS prevention.

- A pojang-macha DOES NOT take credit cards. Only cash!
- One of the biggest drawbacks to the pojang-macha is that they do not have bathrooms. You can ask the owner of the pojang-macha to direct you to the closest public bathroom.
- Prices: 1 bottle of soju: 2,500 won, stir-fried chicken gizzards: 8,000 won stir-fried boneless chicken feet : 8,000 won, noodle soup: 4,000 won
* Prices may vary at each pojang-macha. Additionally, the side dishes typically cost around 8,000 won ~ 12,000 won.)
Date 04/13/2004

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