Man Food: Korea's Obsession With "Stamina" Eats

Cordyceps Sinesis, also known as Yarsagumba
is Nepal's emphatic answer to Viagra
Korea, in some instances, has double standards in a sense that the country's roots are based on Confucian, closed, hermit-style, highly cultural, highly "shh! shhh!" culture, while its citizens have now progressed, prospered and embraced neo-cultures that were, in a sense, quite foreign to them. Like how the westerners like to call it, Korea has been in a process of "Westernization." This in turn has brought in concrete conflict on how people think on the inside and how they behave on the outside; it almost feels like the new generation has a step towards being completely "modernized"  (as west says) and on step on trying to retain the culture. 

The neo-values that they are constantly exposed to in media and through external exposure (visits, homestays; thanks to their awesome passports, Koreans travel a lot) and what they have learnt being embedded in the society are contradicting in many ways. This has led to confusion on how people, in general, should have an attitude towards an aspect of basic need that people here seldom in public touch on; sex.

Interestingly, everywhere you go, at every restaurant you bite on a toxic, delightful mix of grilled meat, garlic and an assortment of banchans that you dig your steely chopsticks into, you hear the word “stamina,” “good for night,” or even being blatantly called “Man’s food,” while giving you that sly “Ah” smile. In the beginning it was hard to understand the underlying meaning of what those phrases or word meant. But in the end, some common sense in me prevailed, and I realized “of course they meant sex.” How obvious could they not be?

And when I mention everywhere, it really is everywhere. Head to Busan, they will probably treat eel the same way one would treat Viagra. Head south from Seoul to the shores near Seoraksan, and you will find plenty of penis looking mushrooms that are supposed to bring “health and happiness.” Take the cook who cooks Boshingtang, dog soup found here in Seoul, he/she will have been really proud that he/she’s doing society a service.


So why this obsession with food that are bound to spice up your sex life? Is sex that bad? Don’t know. Can’t explain and it’s beyond my level of understanding. But when a 20-something-year-old needs reminding to take something that boosts his energy level so that he may perform where ever it might be, well, he already has a problem then. What happens when he hits his 40s?

Read more [HERE] and a report [HERE].

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