Summertime in Seoul means one thing to a lot of people: baseball season.
by Rachelle a.k.a. "Roach"
Korean baseball is a relatively new phenomenon to the country, but like many things, the Koreans have ran with it, made it their own, and made it fantastic. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy a baseball game in Seoul. You only need to be a fan of cheap outdoor entertainment, delicious snacks, and dancing along to choreographed cheers with 27,000 of your closest friends. Need more info? Check out this guide to a baseball game in Korea! Where To Go: Jamsil Stadium, right in Gangnam, where you can cheer on one of Seoul’s three hometown teams: the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins, and the Nexen Heroes. Or, if you're traveling, you could check out Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan! (Pictured above.) It's been home to the Lotte Giants since 1985. It's considered the mecca of Korean baseball.
What To Eat: Food is a different animal at a Korean baseball game. It's not just hotdogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks -- in Korea, you feast while watching a game!
Pizza. Sure, pizza is found at American ballgames, too. But Korean pizza is crazy. Like, "Who the heck thought of putting this on a pizza?!" crazy. On top of classic toppings, Korean pizzas can also include bulgogi, sweet potato, seafood, chicken, and all sorts of veggies. It's always an interesting slice!
Chimaek. This is the Korean lingo for the pairing of fried chicken (that’s where the chi comes from) and beer, or maekju. (Hence the maek.). Fried chicken doesn’t have a long history in Korea, but in its short time as a go-to late night snack, chefs have tweaked fried chicken formulas and made it thoroughly Korean and thoroughly delicious. And what goes better with a drumstick than a cold beer? Grab a cheap can of Cass or Hite at the game and enjoy.
Other cheap snacks. This is not the land of $7 beers and $26 hot dogs. Every snack from shrimp chips to ramyeun are on sale – at completely normal, uninflated prices – at small convenience stores located throughout the stadium. It’s a delicious supply and demand miracle! Or, anything you want! Want to know the best part about eating at Korean baseball games? You can bring in any food you want. Pack up your American peanuts, a homemade treat, or some kimbap from your local vendor before you go. KFC reigns supreme as Jamsil Stadium’s fried chicken provider, but if that doesn’t quite do it for you, get a takeout bucket from your favorite Seoul chicken joint and enjoy it during the game! Or, like some of our Team SnackFever members, bring along some bossam (steamed pork) or jokbahl (pig feet cooked with soy sauce). As you can tell, we love to eat here at SnackFever! 😋 Bossam (above) and johkbal (below). What To Do: Cheer! No, really. You’re going to feel really out of place if you don’t. Korean stadium chants put The Wave to shame. Most games will feature cheer captains leading the crowd from each team’s dugout. They are HIGHLY energetic, deeply committed cheer masters that ignite their side of the crowd. Get some almost alarmingly loud inflatable clappers, try to catch on to the dances, and when in doubt, just yell “Home Run!”
Check out the first pitches. For real, though. Koreans don't take first pitches lightly. And you might even catch an idol or two at the game, too!
Where you at, boys? 😉 What To Spend: Nothing! Okay, maybe not nothing, but Korean baseball games are way more affordable than you’ll find in the U.S. With tickets as low as about $10, affordable snacks and drinks, and priceless entertainment values, this is about as much of a bang for your won as you’ll ever get. Got any more tips about having a blast at a baseball game in Seoul? Let us know in the comments! ~~ Rachelle, also known as "Roach" among her friends, is a freelance writer based in NYC. She loves trying to cook Korean food but then giving up and heading to Flushing for the good stuff. You can check out more of her work at stuffroachknows.com.