South Korea’s Up-And-Coming Trendy Café Culture
While Asian cuisine is well known and extremely popular around the world, many westerners have yet to catch onto the wide range of Asian desserts. This could partly be a result of the sometimes interesting smells, flavors, and textures we are not used to and also the massive portion sizes in many Asian restaurants, leaving no room left in our stomachs.
Westerners have not yet grasped the world of Asian desserts, but they are not fully alone. Korean men have traditionally shied away from most sugary treats, preferring to relax and socialize with alcohol instead, usually beer and the popular soju.
But times seem to be changing, and many young Korean men can now be found frequenting the country’s upmarket cafés with friends as well as their significant others.
In one year alone, Paris Baguette, Korea’s leading bakery chain, has seen a 20 percent increase in desserts purchased by men. The biggest rise has been attributed to the variety of cakes, macaroons, and ice cream flavors available.
The chain, which has over 3,250 locations in South Korea and stores in Paris, America, Singapore, China, and Vietnam, owes the recent growth to changing stereotypes. They believe that men will continue to look for other ways to relax after a difficult day of work, meeting with colleagues and socializing with friends outside of the bars and clubs.
Some medical experts believe that the change is not related to the shift in cultural ideas. Rather, they believe it is associated with the increased western influence and reliance on sugar in large quantities. It seems that sugar can often be more addictive than cocaine.
This sugar addiction is likely the reason why more than 80 percent of Korean men say that they chose to eat dessert after a meal, even when full and the reason why Korean men in cafés are no longer a strange sight.