Ask an Espanol

Belated happy new year to everyone! The Korean traveled to Spain in the first two weeks of the new year. More serious blogging will resume in the coming days. In the meantime, based on his trip, here are some questions that the Korean would have liked to pose to a hypothetical "Ask an Espanol" blog.

1.  Dear Espanol,

During his trip to Spain, the Korean greatly enjoyed bacalao, which is semi-dried cod. But the Korean had thought that Atlantic Cod is on the verge of extinction due to overfishing. Is bacalao in Spain made of Atlantic Cod? Is there any awareness in Spain about the sustainability of cod?

2.  Dear Espanol,

What do espanoles think about Francisco Franco generally? Is there any part of Spain or Spaniards who think positively of Franco? On a similar note, what do Spaniards think about the current king? In particular, what do people make of Juan Carlos's previous association with the Franco dictatorship? How strong is the "republican" movement (i.e. desire to do away with monarchy)?

3.  Dear Espanol,

One theory explaining the sorry state of Korean beer -- which is mostly watery and tasteless -- is that it is pointless to develop beer with strong flavor as beer usually accompanies food. The Korean had thought this theory was crock, until he had a fairly broad overview of Spanish beers, which were also mostly watery and tasteless. Do you think the Spanish habit of having tapas with drinks contributed to Spain's watery beer? Or is there any other reason?

4.  Dear Espanol,

The Korean had a wonderful time in Granada, a city renowned for its tapas culture. Remarkably, when one orders a drink in Granada, a free tapa comes along. But drinks in Granada were no more expensive than the rest of Spain, or rest of the developed world for that matter. And the tapas in Granada were just as tasty as any tapa in Spain. How does this work economically in Granada? Conversely, if this works so well in Granada, why is this wonderful custom not more widespread in Spain?

5.  Dear Espanol,

How are Spaniards dealing with the current economic crisis? Korea came out of its own wrenching economic crisis in 1997 as a completely changed society -- it became more individualist, materialist and survivalist. Do you feel any change in the national character of Spain as it is undergoing the economic crisis?

6.  Dear Espanol,

Why is Japanese food so popular in Madrid? Although the Korean's view is quite limited as he was only in the tourist-friendly area, he must have seen more Japanese restaurants per unit area in Madrid than any other country except Japan itself. But this trend appears to be limited to Madrid -- the Korean did not notice the same frequency of Japanese restaurants in other large Spanish cities, such as Barcelona or Seville. 

7.  Dear Espanol,

Do Spaniards feel any particular kinship with the Spanish-speaking South America?

-EDIT- One more that the Korean forgot to add...

8.  Dear Espanol,

The Korean heard that there is an increased number of Chinese immigrants to Spain, who are getting into small businesses that are more mainstream, such as a tapas restaurant. The Korean did in fact see quite a few Asians running small businesses in Madrid and Barcelona. Compared to the general attitude toward immigrants, how are Spaniards feeling about the immigrants from Asia, if there is any feeling developed yet?

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If you think you have the answer to any of the questions above, feel free to chime in.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at