Peppers dry in the early autumn sun (September 2000).
(Please read this before you copy our photos or text.)

The distinguishing characteristic of Korean food is that it's HOT. They use red pepper in nearly everything, so just about everybody grows it, either for home use or for sale.

Red peppers need to be dried before they're used. When you live in an apartment with just a little garden space, where can you spread them out to dry? You set them out where you can find space, and then you count on the good manners and patience of your fellow Koreans.

Can you imagine doing this in the US? On a public sidewalk? Kids (and adults!) would come along and kick and stomp your peppers. The police would arrest you for obstructing a public sidewalk. If you were raising them for sale, within hours the health department would be on you about contamination.

Koreans just step around them. The law doesn't make a fuss. It's no big deal. What does that say about their culture versus ours?

By the way, the business above isn't a market or a restaurant. It's a hairstyling salon.

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