A bibimbap misunderstanding

The funniest story of the month goes to the Korea Times for “Bibimbap Controversy Was Caused by ‘Misunderstanding'”

The “misunderstanding” started when Kuroda Katsuhiro, Seoul bureau chief of the Japanese daily paper Sankei Shimbun, called bibimbap “Yang Du Gu Yuk” (羊頭狗肉). The best part is the literal translation.  According to the Times “Yang Du Gu Yuk” literally means: “to hang a lamb’s head outside the shop to lure customers, but actually sells a dog meat.” The Times compares it to the English expression “crying wine, and selling vinegar.”

But of course Katsuhiro is backpedaling on his rather harsh statement after receiving death threats from enraged Koreans. “When I heard that Korea wanted to promote bibimbap globally, I just gave my own opinion about it in an honest manner as a foreigner who has lived in Korea for 30 years. But the Korean society is unwilling to accept it,” Katsuhiro said.

In all honesty Katsuhiro is wrong.  In my opinion bibimbap is the most foreigner-friendly of all Korean dishes and it’s really good.

So, what lesson can we learn from this?  Talking negatively about Korean food to Koreans, is equivalent to insulting a stranger’s mother.  Best to smile and nod approval, or at least not be so harsh.


  1. Dena says:

    I found your blog a few days ago, and I love it! My husband and I are in the process of adopting a baby from Korea. We've become very interested in Korean culture, customs, news, etc. Looking forward to reading more!


  2. crossfield says:

    비빔밥 is my FAVORITE! Shame on the man for his nasty comments. He is just uneducated! Ha! Love your blog.


  3. Whit says:

    Thanks for reading Dena and crossfield. We love to write about our adopted home country and we LOVE to eat 비빔밥! Good luck with the adoption process and keep reading!


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