Quirky Korean Restaurants Signs

Korean pig inviting you in to the restaurant to eat

When you’ve stayed in a place long enough sometimes you forget the associated quirks and charms that were once fresh in your mind upon initially arriving.  This is certainly the case I have in terms of my relationship with Korea.  I’ve spent several years in Korea and it has now become more like my adopted home than a place I travel  to or visit.  I never noticed this more than when I started going out with Audrey earlier this spring.  She often marvelled at random events – Korean ladies wearing high heels while hiking mountains; motorbikes on sidewalks; distinguished businessmen intoxicated & passed out on park benches at ungodly hours – that just felt normal to me at this point in time.  Feeling somewhat discouraged that I’ve become somewhat of a jaded hack, I set my mind to find something quirky about Korea that I hadn’t noticed before.  As slithered out of my Korean apartment and wandered the streets of Anseong late at night little did I know the answer was right in front of me:  Korean restaurant signs.

Koreans in general are very much a carnivorous lot.  If it runs, swims, creeps or crawls it’s likely game to be deep fried or barbecued.  I’ve tried the tamer pork and chicken dishes and tantalized my taste-buds sampling items such as eel, squid and octopus at a Korean barbecue; however, there is something that unites all of these animals that extends well beyond taste or flavour.  They’re all inviting you in to eat them:  “Hey you!  I taste delicious.  Come eat me.  Slrrrrruuuuuurrrrrppppppp.”  I’ve travelled to over thirty countries and never before have I seen cute cartoon rendered versions of animals licking their lips in pure ecstasy over the fact you’ll be coming in to chow down on them.  It’s all very Korean.  The following is a gallery of some animals that are competing with one another for being crowned the title of being ‘the most delicious.’

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A cute octopus beckons you to come in and eat it.

A thumbs up from this cow is a sign it’s ready for you to chow down on it.

Check out these three amigos!  We’re delicious!

Porky pig is grinning from ear to ear inviting you to come on in!

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  1. says: Kevin

    Great article about funny Korean signs! Perhaps the only thing funnier than when Asian folks design advertisements and signs is when they write ads and signs in ENGLISH. Here in Thailand, there’s no shortage of funny signs written in English. “Do not stand on toilet!”

  2. says: Turtle

    Ha ha ha… how could you ever eat another animals after seeing them pose like that. They’ve got such big cute eyes… you’re just a murderer, that’s what you are!

  3. says: Dawn

    These are great! I find it especially curious that some of the animals are wearing clothes. Do you know what the pig is supposed to be holding in his sack?

  4. says: Andrew

    I like funny signs too. I saw some dancing fruit outside of a market in Barcelona this summer.

    It is almost a shame not to know what is written. I can only imagine what words would go with such pictures.

  5. So funny. I saw hilarious signs in China as well. Do Koreans have as stupid TV advertisements as in China? I mean we think it’s stupid (girls doing funny faces, jumping like crazy and boys looking like gays), but for Chinese it’s fun. How about in Korea?

  6. These are great and certainly puts the fun into eating. The beginning of your post is so true. I’ve spent extended periods in a number of countries and the things that you first find bemusing quickly turn into normality. Sometimes we need a new friend or visitor to help us rediscover the things that made us love the city/country in the first place.

  7. Hi Samuel! Thank you for visiting my site (Japanese Cheesecake post)! I’m so happy that I found you site… so many fun and interesting posts here! I really wish that I have your life, traveling everywhere… so jealous! I’ve come to the US and ended up staying…and I haven’t had the chance to visit other countries! Korea has a lot of similar things in Japan but I’m not too familiar with it, so I find your posts very interesting!

  8. says: Margaret

    I’d definitely eat at the restaurant with the octopus sign — there’s something about the way it licks it lips that says “this meal will be delicious!”

  9. says: Mark Wiens

    They all sold me, I’m ready to eat all of them! I was amazed by not only the cartoon characters, but also the insanely delicious food photos plastered on all restaurant windows – they must have an army of food photographers in Korea!

  10. I always wondered why the heck they use cartoons to advertise everything?! It is an odd, quirky Asian “thing.” Do you happen to know why they do this, Sam? That would be a great cultural blog post 😉

    – Maria Alexandra

  11. says: Emily McGee

    Fun fact: Kenyan women also hike while wearing high heels. What the…? Love the cartoon meats begging to be eaten. It’s a far cry from Chik-Fil-A in the U.S. Their mascot is a cow trying to get people to eat the chicken!

  12. says: Angela

    Funny indeed, not very inviting though.. Strange, the food might even be divine inside, but cartoons are not really my favorite restaurant signs. I’ve seen some in China too, I actually went to one and the food was excellent, but a friend brought me, I didn’t go spontaneously..

  13. Hysterical! Kind of reminded me of the Chick-Fil-A ads we have here in the US, only the COW is telling the audience to eat the chicken…so the marketing is done quite differently!:-) Thanks for sharing!

  14. says: Maria

    Samuel, in my home state there’s a BBQ joint called, “Mr. BBQ.” It’s mascot is a dancing pig with top hat and cane. They’re jingle? “Eat Mr. BBQ it’s good for you, Eat Mr. BBQ it’s fun to chew.” In the state I now reside in there’s, “The County Line” (no where near the actual county boundary but… *insert shrug here*) and their signage includes three little pink neon pigs playing leap frog. It’s not “just” Korea/Koreans.

  15. says: Juliann

    The funniest part about these signs is that they work! That smiling octopus with chopsticks beckons me like nobody’s business– and I don’t even like octopus!