SolStock/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) — It’s a slice of life you can really sink your teeth into.
The pizzeria featured in the ground-breaking South Korean movie “Parasite” — which brought home the best picture and director Oscars among others — is suddenly so popular that it ran out of dough the other day.
As South Korea celebrates director Bong Joon Ho’s four Academy Awards–best picture, best screenplay, best international feature film and best director–business for the pizzeria, a Seoul supermarket and the makers of instant noodles is booming.
“Sales have more than doubled,” Eom Hangil, owner of Sky Pizza, told ABC News. She spoke in a whisper because her voice was hoarse from talking to more than 30 journalists over two days. “My pizzeria has not been so popular, you know.”
That’s changed, and Eom is both delighted and surprised at movie fans and reporters showing up at her store. “As you can see, this neighborhood is a redevelopment zone. Director Bong said it was a perfect location for his film.”
Bong Joon Ho’s film is about two families–one very rich, the other very poor–whose worlds converge when the poorer family, the Kims, maneuver their way into the lives of the wealthy Parks. The Kim family folds pizza boxes for this pizzeria, and later the mother and children are portrayed eating pizza here as they scheme to kick out the housemaid working for the Parks.
“I came to eat pizza and also feel the atmosphere of the movie, but the place is so popular they are out of dough. I have to wait four more hours,” Ha Kyeongsu, a tourist, told ABC News. “It took an hour and a half for me to come here. I came all the way for the ‘Parasite’ movie.”
Movie fans have begun paying homage to other site locations in the movie such as the mom and pop store supermarket and the long-dilapidated steps in an underdeveloped neighborhood of western Seoul, Ahyeon-dong. The tiny Pig Rice Supermarket is where the son of the Kim family drinks with a friend who offers him a tutoring job for the Parks’ daughter.
“I want to thank Director Bong. Who knew he would bring such joy? My store is now famous around the world,” Lee Jeongshik, the 77–year-old owner, told ABC News, while a handful of tourists took pictures in front of his store. “So many customers now, a lot of young people. They take pictures inside and outside. Reporters have been coming here from far away like Canada, Spain, Japan and the U.S.,” he said.
“This is a world historic event [for our nation] and [I] wanted to check out this place to commemorate director Bong Joon Ho winning the Oscar,” Lee Jongseung, who came on his motorbike, told ABC News. Lee says he will share the course with his motorbike club.
“Each location has a symbolic meaning in the movie. It’s great the locations are approachable,” college student Yoon Seunghyun explained while visiting the landmarks to take pictures.
But the most viral, attention-grabbing element from “Parasite” is a local late-night snack translated into “ramdon” in English subtitles. The affluent Mrs. Park calls her just-hired housemaid to prepare chapaguri so that the kids could have it as soon as they arrive home from a camping trip cancelled due to heavy rain. “Ramdon” for the Parks turns out to be a mix of two instant noodles topped with top-grade seared sirloin steak strips, a perfect metaphor for how a rich family would consume a popular commoners’ dish.
Nongshim, the maker of those two instant noodle brands, Chapagetti and Neoguri, has seen sales surge 60% in the past few days compared with the week before the Academy Awards. The company introduced a chapaguri recipe video on YouTube with subtitles in 11 languages for the global audience.
YouTubers are introducing recipes for ramdon, or chapaguri with fancy sirloin steak garnished as the protagonists do in the film.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) were quick to jump on the bandwagon with plans to design a ‘Parasite’ Familiarization Tour of the filming sites guided by “film specialists.” The course map is already uploaded at Seoul’s Tourism Website. Additional sites will be added to the tour from Bong’s other movies, such as “The Host,” “Memories of Murder,” “Okja,” and “Barking Dogs Never Bite.”
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