Sunday, May 13, 2012

KOREAN CULTURE: Korea’s Incredibly Customer-Friendly Delivery Service (1)

24/7:  Korea Delivers Anywhere, Anytime!

Last night, my family (not me) just happened to have a fried chicken craving close to midnight.  They went, “If we were in Korea right now, we could have it delivered.”  Yes, it’s so true.  In Korea, anything, especially foods, is delivered right into your hand wherever you are, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the wink of an eye, without costing you another penny.  In Korea, dry cleaners deliver, marts deliver, groceries deliver, restaurants deliver, and in fact, it's easier to name those who don't.  And they deliver even to the beach where you’re sunbathing, to your school, to your picnic site, or even to your sea angling site.  Literally.  That’s why in Korea, even McDonald’s delivers.

If the noodles you order are to be served in hot soup but are not meant to be soggy and swollen, then they even bring a portable gas burner, a pot, spoons & chopsticks, and bowls because in Korea, hot foods gotta be delivered hot, and cold foods cold.  If it’s impossible, then they bring their kitchen to youI’m not kidding.  It’s so common in Korea.  It’s nothing like the American way of ordering food: For example, in the US, you place a takeout order, pick up noodles and soup separately packed in plastic containers, and come home to eat soggy, swollen noodles in lukewarm soup. 

Of course, it has a downside.  Since the lightning fast delivery is a key to maintain the quality of food they deliver, Korean delivery guys are on motorcycles as they are considered more efficient to overcome traffic congestion and faster to reach planned delivery destinations than any other means of transportation. But they are also more dangerous - there have been a number of accidents in which delivery guys died.  On December 12, 2010, a 24-year-old (Korean age) Pizza Hut delivery guy died in motorcycle-taxi crash; and two other Pizza Hut delivery guys died in motorcycle-car crash in the same year.  On February 13, 2011, a 19-year-old Domino’s Pizza delivery guy died in motorcycle-bus crash, which caused a heated debate over the general safety of delivery-bike riders as motorcycles have a higher risk of being hit by another vehicle and also over the pedestrians at risk from being hit by delivery-bikes.  This debate led to the cancellation of Domino’s Pizza’s 20-year-old delivery policy since 1990: “We deliver in 30 minutes or we give you 2,000 won (about 2 US dollars) back; if we don’t deliver in 45 minutes, you’ll get it free.” 

Koreans have called themselves Baedal Minjok (배달민족, 倍達民族) in which Baedal (배달, 倍達) means “the land of light,” and the word originated from the Ancient Korean word Balkdal (밝달, “the mountain of light”).  Combined, the phrase Baedal Minjok means “the people of the land of light.”  Since Baedal (배달, 倍達) is homonymous with Baedal (배달, 配達, “delivery”) and Korea’s delivery service is so heavenly, Koreans jokingly call themselves Baedal Minjok (배달민족, 配達民族) that translates to “the people of delivery.”  When it comes to delivery service, Koreans have the tenacious “fighting” spirit, as shown in the 1998 Korean wireless network commercial:

But please remember:  the above commercial is no exaggeration.  As follows are experimental videos illustrating how far Koreans really deliver; they were never staged, but 100% real.  In the first clip, a man placed two orders of Jjajangmyeon (짜장면, "Korean noodles with  black bean sauce") and an order of Tangsuyuk (탕수육, "Sweet and sour pork") to be delivered to Seongsandaegyo (성산대교, "Seongsandaegyo Bridge"), one of the bridges over Hangang (한강, "The Han River") located in Seoul. At 01:00, a Chinese food delivery man eventually showed up, riding a motorcycle, to complete his mission.

In the second clip, the same man placed an order of Jjajangmyeon to be delivered to the bus he was on.  He said, "Hand it to me when the bus I'm now on stops at the bus stop nearest to your restaurant."  When a delivery-bike rider's first attempt to deliver failed at 01:21, he tenaciously tailgated the bus his customer was on and eventually accomplished his mission at 01:50.  Frankly, it's quite annoying to watch the clip as it looks toooooooo dangerous and I feel awfully sorry for this poor delivery man.

When my sister came to visit me from Korea some years ago, she was surprised, actually shocked, to know we can’t get orders delivered from such sites as Amazon or eBay in a day or two unless we pay the extra charges.  In some cases, Koreans place an order on line in the morning and they get it in their hands the same day in the afternoon in Korea.  Korea’s heavenly delivery service! - no wonder it’s been chosen by CNN as one of 50 reasons why Seoul is the world’s greatest city.


  1. That explains why my orders from eBay sellers located in South Korea ALWAYS ship the next day, if not the same day. Quite interesting!

  2. Elom, aren't most of the ebay sellers speedy shippers though? Well, maybe I'm wrong 'cause my ebay experiences are quite limited. ;)

  3. You know , you are right. I have only had a few bad experiences :)

  4. All restaurants and hotels should have online shopping and food door delivery facility. Find more discussion regarding this at

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Nice post. Thanks for sharing and providing information about your services.
    Online Food Delivery in Lucknow


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