No, not quality. quantity. There is a serious void in the stomachs of Koreans. That void is water.
I drink a boatload of water. Realistically I drink probably three liters of water a day on average. Oh and 3.8 liters to a gallon there, people. Most doctors recommend that at least 2 liters be consumed daily to simply replace the lost fluids by normal functions such as excretion, respiration, and perspiration. But if you consume about 2 liters of water in a day, then you’re probably doing fine by most - and probably more than most.
Most being Koreans. Koreans straight up do not drink water at meals. It’s amazing. I go to fill people’s water cups and they haven’t even touched it. Mind you that we’re eating Korean food which is not exactly I.B.S. friendly - many traditional dishes are downright fiery while the rest of simply hot and a few are mild. No matter - my Korean buddies don’t crave fluids the same way that I do. Is it because I’m from Texas and it gets nasty hot here? Maybe, but so does Korea. Is it because I’m listening to doctor’s orders? Partially - but then again, I naturally want to drink lots of fluids at my meal. Is it because they are drinking different fluids instead if water? Well, sort of. 보리차 is a staple at Korean tables but they aren’t exactly downing it. Soda is served in skinny little cans and is quite rare at most restaurants as a main source of fluids.
So why aren’t Koreans shriveling up and dying from dehydration? Who knows? Maybe it’s the huge amounts of fruit consumed - we’re talking daily 수박 intake. 90% of the fruit’s content is water while the rest is downright a crime not to eat - Have you not tried Korean watermelon yet? Missing out.
Maybe it’s the fluid found in the soups, stews, and broths. Come to think of it, I do eat every last possible ounce of fluid in any 찌개 I eat and certainly in every bowl of 떡라맨 - don’t you know it’s sacrilegious to not eat the broth?
Perhaps Koreans know what’s the deal after all. Maybe they just got lucky…
Regardless, the serving cups for water are typically just that - a fluid cup. One cup. Like a measuring cup. What am I supposed to do with that? I feel like a fatty when I have to get two cups just to make it where I can sit down for the majority of the meal instead of always getting up for me. My secret? Sitting in the table right next to the water cooler. Arms distance away is an oasis untapped by the locals. Water. I am here. Wait for me.
Come to think of it, my Korean friends are always asking me if the food is too hot - assuming that since I am a foreigner, I’m eating Korean food, I’m drinking lots of water, I’m sweating like a duck that I must be tolerating the food to save face. Not true! This food is frakin great and I’m enjoying a nice refreshing shot-glass size cup of water in an attempt to cleanse my palate. I appreciate the concern, but I’m plenty rude enough to not eat the food served to me - okay so I’m not that rude - but I am eating Korean food out of choice - not out of obligation. Maybe you’re the one who needs to cool down? Here, have some water.