Q: What does the Korean writing at the top of Granny Choe’s kimchi labels say?
A: It says, “Ya! Mashita”
Q: What does that mean?
A: It means something to the effect of, “Hey! Tastes great.”
Q: Mmhmm. Interesting.
A: We see that you are not actually asking another question, but we are on a roll and we sense a touch of sarcasm in your response and are choosing to go on anyway. It’s a Korean saying. In fact, Grandpa Choe says it all the time. And if you watched noodle commercials on Korean television, you’d probably be saying it too.
Q: How exactly would I say it?
A: Just like we’ve spelled it out in English for you above. Haven’t you been paying attention? The “Ya!” part is easy. In “Mashita” the emphasis goes on the first syllable and you should drag that last “a” out a bit for emphasis (because you wouldn’t be saying it unless you really meant it, right?). A pronunciation guide: “Ya! MA-shi-taaa.”
Q: Ya! MA-shi-taaa.
A: Excellent. We also recommend watching this hip-hop music video. The entire song is essentially just a list of Korean foods with the refrain “Mashita, mashita.” It may actually hinder your correct pronunciation since they’re saying it a little funky to fit with the rhythm, but we say it’s well worth it for all the sexy food clips.
Q: Erm. Okay.
A: You sound dubious. Let us assure you that there is nothing better to do in the middle of a long workweek than watch ridiculous videos on YouTube. It’s no “Merengue Dog,” but it is very entertaining, and the song is pretty catchy. We particularly enjoyed 2:12 where one of the rappers starts tossing chim bbang (Korean buns with tasty fillings) to members of the audience. Ya! MA-shi-taaa.