방짜유기

In 2012, we went to a really nice restaurant in old 송도 to celebrate my husband’s birthday with formal traditional Korean food.  We had our own room and servers would quietly come in and out to bring us all of the courses like we were kings. It felt like we were in one of those restaurants that rich people go to in Korean dramas to make back door deals or seal nefarious political/business alliances or blackmail each other or congratulate each other on the successful execution of diabolical plans. You know what I’m talking about, right?

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ANYWAY.

Our chopstick and spoons were made of brass.  Really heavy, well-made, and simple. And ever since that meal, I started noticing other nice restaurants with brass bowls or utensils, and I’ve longed for brassware of my own.  They’re so beautiful and so deliciously heavy (I have a thing for heavy flatware).  After spending several years fantasizing about owning some, I recently decided to see if I could get my hands on a set, and immediately started crying because IT IS SO EXPENSIVE.
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I found two person set of bowls, 접시 and eating utensils for about $1,400 on Ebay. Oh, that price seems outrageous to you? How about $700 for a single setting? No?  Then how about just some chopsticks and spoons? NOPE. $70 for 수저? Pfffft. You can “buy now” a set of spoon and chopsticks for about $40. That is still so insane so I looked on G-Market and found one person 수저 for 20,000원. Still pricy. Le sigh.

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Obviously this 방짜유기 is cheaper to buy in Korea, but as I found from my G-Market searches, they’re still quite pricey there too. Traditionally they were used to set the royal table, and in 1983 were named an “Important Intangible Cultural Asset” — so it’s an artesianal, traditional art and of course it’s going to cost a lot.  If I ever become disgustingly wealthy, the first thing I’m going to do is buy myself a whole ton of Korean brassware.  But for now, I’ve adjusted my expectations and have settled on finding some decent bronze-colored chopsticks and spoons instead.

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