Arcadia University students eating at Seorabol in Philadelphia.
I went out in the cold for Korean barbecue with good company.

Korean Barbeque at 20-Below

I don’t like the cold. I really, really, don’t like the cold. I haven’t always been this way. When I was younger, I would wear one or two layers in the winter and roll around in the snow like a kitten in a pile of catnip. But ever since crossing out of the teenage threshold, I’ve turned away from my old ways a full 180 degrees. The cold sneaks into my bones and lingers long after I’ve gone indoors. I shiver and shake (violently); it is just not fun to be cold anymore. Even typing about it, I feel a chill.

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So imagine me a recent Saturday when the forecast was for a high of 20. Okay, got it? Now imagine me, plus that high of 20, plus a birthday celebration that made me have to go outside. You better believe I wished on a star on Friday for the weather to not be that cold.

The sizzle of meat and the crunch of kimchi while laughing and drinking with friends can make you forget even the coldest of days.

But, of course, stars don’t have ears and it was still painfully cold. So I ask you. What is the best way to spend a day in which your tears could potentially freeze on your face? In bed? With bae? With Netflix? Without responsibilities? For me, it’s at karaoke and Korean barbeque.

Whether I am in Seoul, South Korea, or in Philadelphia, karaoke always seems to warm the soul and raise spirits, no matter how cold it is. So I was particularly excited to see that this karaoke place was so close to campus! Just a 10- or 15-minute ride by car, a little ways past H-Mart on Cheltenham Avenue. This place is hidden away in a parking lot with a Korean restaurant in the same building. And with an eclectic mix of people and songs being sung at max volume in this warm room, I (almost) forgot about the deadly freezing temperatures outside. But the a frigid blast of reality hit again as we departed and headed to the second part of this birthday bash, dinner at Seorabol at 5734 Old 2nd St.

Arcadia University students singing karaoke.

Singing the cold away at karaoke.

Looking at all of my posts, I think I’ve talked too much about Korean barbeque, 100 percent. So I’ll try to keep the descriptions of delicious cuts of pork belly, shots of soju, and plates of side dishes to a minimum, for all of our sakes. Instead, I’ll reflect on an aspect of Korean culture that always seems to come out very clearly over a tabletop grill—connecting with each other over a shared meal. The sizzle of meat and the crunch of kimchi while laughing and drinking with friends can make you forget even the coldest of days. Being in the good company of friends makes it all bearable.

That said, I never, ever, ever, want it to be that cold again, as long as I live.