15 March 2008

the seoul cost of living

the horror!

something terrible has happened.

on my walk home from hongdae i stopped into a kimbap jib (small restaurant selling, among other things, rolls of kimbap) to pick up a couple of rolls in lieu of a proper lunch. walking around seoul while popping 2 piece-bites into my mouth and being somewhat self-conscious of my walking-while-eating-obviously-foreigner behavior, is integral to my korean experience. but the sign at this establishment said that an all-veggie roll was 1300 won - 300 more than i was willing to pay. so, i exited in a huff and walked past another vendor, one of the ubiquitous and cheap kimbap heaven (김밥천국) franchises. guess what? 1500 won!

the unmistakable sign of a price increase.

and while the corner joint near kbs was still selling 1000 won rolls as of thursday, it seems that inflation is striking the once-sacrosanct symbol of cheap korean eats. no longer will two crisp 1000 won notes buy me a few hours of hunger alleviation. pretty soon, i may have to start... cooking.

cheap thrill no more.

with this precious symbol of food thrift destroyed, all that talk of seoul being such an expensive city is starting to resonate with me. according to mercer human resource consulting's definitive annual cost of living survey, seoul was the world's 3rd most expensive place for expats to live in 2007 (down from #2 in 2006). the top slots went to moscow and london, with tokyo and hong kong rounding out the top five. the most expensive us city was new york, at #15. the survey covers 143 cities and measures the comparative cost of 200+ items in each location, including food, housing, transport, household goods and entertainment.

i'm moving to malaysia.

2 comments:

jung wei said...

and i shall see you in my home country lol
hope you're doing well in seoul.
san diego has been great, still adjusting to certain aspects of life here, but I love it here. hope to talk to you soon

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