Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Lunch in São Paulo's Little Korea

I recently travelled to South Korea and, knowing little about what I should expect, I was pleasantly suprised by what I found there. So much so that I now hunt down Korean restaurants wherever I happen to be.

Lucky then, that Brazil has the largest Korean population in Latin America and that cosmopolitan São Paulo is home to most of them. Back in the day emigration was encouraged to reduce unemployment and population growth in South Korea. This population has been boosted by some less official arrivals from the porous border with neighbouring Paraguay peaking somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000, 90% of which were in São Paulo. This has since dropped due to the South Korean economic "miracle" and the "reverse migration" phenomenon it produced.

Still there are 3 neighbourhoods in São Paulo with significant Korean population: Bom Retiro which is shared by many other immigrants and is home to the Korean embassy, Aclimação a middle to upperclass area and Bras, famous locally for its cheap clothes (it's no coincidence that most Koreans work in the textile business, one of South Korea's trademark industries)

Here are some pictures from my lunch last month on the back streets of the Bom Retiro district:

A typical Korean meal in Bom Retiro, São Paulo

Spicy sashimi salad

Hard to order tea if you don't speak Korean!

I still have to hit up on Bras and Aclimação which I've heard has some superb restaurants. To be continued...

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