in Kitchen

1000 won (96 cents) of lettuce


I walked through the traditional market today, to get lettuce for a lettuce-and-chicken dinner. It’s nice; lettuce here is already separated into leaves for salad purposes. Or something.

I walked through the entire market, carefully side-eyeing everyone’s produce, because I’m crazy like that.

Some of the sellers looked suspect. Who am I supposed to go for, anyway? The hunched-over old men and women who grow stuff on their rooftops? Or the shops that look like they have a massive farm or two or more? The pollution and chemicals really do make me think twice here.

In the end, I decided, FUCK IT! Went for a little old lady’s stall that’s in the walkway heading to my apartment. Why her? FUCK IT, who cares. I want lettuce.

I asked for 천원 (1000 won / chon won) of lettuce, which is about 97 cents. She looked at me and commented, “조금?” (so little / chogeum?) and I was kind of embarrassed while I confirmed it. HEY, so what if I’m single and I eat alone!? There’s no shame!

Anyway, I was standing there, watching in silent horror (can’t speak enough Korean). She was clearly packing away an entire head’s worth of lettuce. And also tossing in quite a few pieces of mustard greens, chard, and, uh, some other stuff….. I don’t know my vegetables.

“천원이에요?” I asked, in my shitty Korean. It’s 1000 won? Chon won i-eyo?

Yep, it was. It’s massive and I’m going to have to plow through this quickly. It’s delicious and I’m learning my vegetables. Maybe.

I should ask for 500 won instead, but that seems like a lousy move. That’s 50 cents and it’s in coins. Somehow, I’m pretty sure anyone who buys less than 1000 won (~$1) from a market vendor is seen as a bit nuts.