Pojangmacha: The Tent Bar in South Korea

A street tent bar is part of Korea’s nightlife. It is so famous that you could see it anywhere in a busy street that usually opens in the late afternoon. You can probably see it in any K drama there is. That tent bar is a special place for people who wants to hang out or simply get rid of stress.

There are two kinds of pojangmacha. One is a big tent that has a couple of tables and chairs, and another one is a wheeled cart that sells a lot of street foods. The tent kind is most of us want to try because you sit, chill and drink with a special someone or a friend. In Korean movies and dramas, it is usually the setting to an emotional scene, or show how close the characters are.

Koreans usually go to Pojangmacha when they want to talk something over or confess something. That’s why in the new Korean drama, the ”Mystic Pop-Up Bar’, a pojangmacha is used to get more customers and share their problems and worries. This can be the same in reality when your friend is down and wants to get something out.

Pojangmacha ( 포장 마차 ) means a “covered wagon” and it usually is covered by orange tent plastics. Its origin is still unclear but it first came to vendors in the mid-1950s. it first started as a wheeled cart and they push it around the streets to sell soju and some street food like a roasted sparrow on a stick. As it evolves through time, the menu expanded to famous Korean food like

Pojangmacha plays a huge role in Korea. It accommodates Korean workers who just got off work to enjoy or at least stress with a refreshing soju drink or just to fill their hungry tummies after a long day of work. It is usually a good option for “i-cha” or second round of drinks. It is rarely the first choice of a get-together because it will set a not so good ambiance and mood. It is also a good place to go if you just want to have a quick drink alone. Some menus include chicken feet, fried vegetables, raw squid, tteokbokki, fish cake, blood sausage, folded eggs, spicy stir-fried pork,and more.

Hanguk Story: Korean Street Food - Pojangmacha (포장마차)

The downsides of this tent bar are mostly they only accept cash. The prices are not so cheap. The impression is when you say street food or market, you will think that they will sell cheaper food. But in a tent bar, the prices are almost as high as any other regular restaurant.

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