You spent your day in Seoul walking and eating and shopping. You want to rest your gams, but still want to do something special. No way are you ready to go back to your hotel room, but what is there to do?

Fear not, I am here to help.

Go see a show. In particular, go see Cookin’ Nanta.

Talented percussionists + chopping food. Who would’ve thought? The country of South Korea, that’s who. South Korea never fails to surprise me with its quirks and cultural oddities.

Some of the things that I’ve experienced in this Asian nation, like cotton candy beer and mayonnaise on pizza, make me say “huh?”

One thing they got right is the food centered rock musical, Cookin’ Nanta.

I read small blurbs about this show in different guide books, saw it highlighted on things to do in Korea, but I didn’t know much. I saw a deal on Facebook for an end of summer 20% off and purchased tickets on a whim.

Great decision.

Quick Synopsis:

Three Reasons to Go See Nanta In Korea

photo by la_minai via Flickr

The show combines traditional Korean Samulnori Rhythm in a modern musical story. There are three chefs working at a restaurant. The owner of the restaurant comes in and tells them they must have all this food done by 6:00 – one hour away! He also introduces his goofy nephew who he wants to help cook. In one hour they must get all the cooking done. Not only do they get it done; they manage to get in fights, dance, flirt, and bang lots of pots and pans.

There is no talking (except for a few quick sayings in Korean and English). The whole story is told from the banging of kitchen utensils, sound effects, and movements. There is also a little magic, dancing, acrobatics and audience participation.


Reason #1 – This Show Will Please Just About Everyone (Unless You Are a Grumpy Gramps)

Three Reasons to Go See Nanta in Korea

photo by Julio Martinez via Flickr

I can confidently say that this show is more than just a musical production for theater-loving-folk. Chris and I have vastly different opinions on what makes a good show, and I thought he would be fast asleep within minutes. I was wrong! The music, the comedy, the audience engagement kept us both entertained. At one point I looked over and Chris was drumming along with the performers!

There was such a huge array of people in the theater: School field trip of kids, a group of business folk from America, Korean families. Since it is all non verbal, everyone, no matter what language they speak, enjoys the over the top movements and sound effects.

Reason #2  – You Will Laugh Out Loud. Really.

Go See Nanta in Seoul

photo by 문화체육관광 부 via Flickr

The show is funny. Actually funny. Fart jokes? Check. Physical comedy? Check. At one point one of the actors gets stuck in a trash can and spends five minutes going through multiple audience members attempting to get out. The props they use to tell the story, the big actions, and animated expressions make it a laugh out loud show.

Reason #3You Will Be Amazed By the Talent of the Performers

Go See Nanta in Seoul

photo by 문화체육관광 부 via Flickr

On top of the comedy and music, the performers amazed us with their talent. They were clearly trained percussionists who were able to dance, yell and chop vegetables while making great music with knives. At the end they put on a trippy drumming show with actual drums and drumsticks.

Since the show runs three times a day, everyday of the week, there are multiple ‘teams’ of performers. Each show has a different colored team. I love this ideas as it keeps the performers rested and on top of their game.

The Deets

How Much is it Going to Cost Me?

Tickets range from 40,000 – 70,000 depending on your seat. BUT There are always deals and coupons for a show; you will most likely never pay full price.

Where is it?

There are two venues in Seoul – Myeongdong Theater and Chungjeongno Theater. There is also a venue in Jeju.

When Can I See it?

Two shows on Monday-Friday & Sundays – 5PM & 8PM

Three shows on Saturday – 2PM, 5PM & 8PM

How Long is it?

100 minutes

Get all the information at their website.
Have you seen Nanta? What did you think?