As we spend many hours in the nearby PC bangs, we get hungry. And for a growing teenagers like the most of us populating the scene, we need to eat all the time.
It started off with simple, cheap snacks like dried squid, dried corn and stuffs like that with soda-pop vending machines. Later on, they stacked instant cup noodles (and Koreans definitely love their cup noodles) and prepared hot water. It only costed us maybe a buck or two, so the hungry teenagers could easily pay out of their pocket money. Oh man, and the smell… when someone has a noodle in that completely sealed space, that inviting smell would quickly fill the square and gradually another follower would go grab another package, soon filling up with more active cup noodles with the sound of slurping here and there.
It’s funny how human habit never changes — The other day, my colleagues and I went to a PC bang in Tokyo, the one of the finger-countably few in Japan, and as soon as we sat down we were having our first slurp of cup ramen noodles. (And thank god, they had the collection right!) It’s like any other things: Burgers with french fries and coke, Yakitori with nama-biru, Samgyobsal with diet-coke (what? ..Ok, Soju), and PC bangs with cup ramen.
Now my days were the 90s~00s. Fast forwarding to nowadays, I think the food & beverage service in PC bangs got much much better than my days. My research hasn’t been terribly updated since back then, but I could easily find places where they serve actual ramen (not the cup noodle type but cooked with a proper pot and stuff) and even proper “food” (i.e., gimbop, ddokpokgi, etc.) and proper drinks (i.e., cappuccino, latte, etc.), all not needing to order face-to-face but just a few clicks on your monitor screen. A few minutes later, you will have an absolutely nutritiously-balanced meal brought to your seat, sometimes even by a beautiful staff.
Another option back then was to order delivery from outside. As you know, South Korea is a kingdom of delivery foods (at least it used to be), most popular ones are Korean-Chinese style food like jjajangmyon, jjampong and fried rice; and fried chicken. These delivery guys will go anywhere in Korea. I remember there used to be this TV commercial parodying the Korean delivery guy mentality that went really popular for awhile — Ironically, the commercial itself was not some restaurant franchise but a telecom service.
Anyway, so going to a PC bang was actually a piece a cake for them. Honestly if I remember correctly I haven’t tried myself ordering, perhaps I didn’t have enough guts to try, and I haven’t seen anybody ordering fried chicken in the scene either. But I’ve seen many many jjajangmyon orderers around.
And you know, there is something very fulfilling when you have jjajangmyon. (You’ll know what I mean if you are Korean or have fallen in love with this thing before.) Just imagine you’re playing your favorite game with your buddies while eating one of your favorite dishes. Pure happiness. Time flies.