Full Moon Crepe Cafe

Full Moon Crêpe Café: Order-it-Forward Eatery.

Celebrating Korean Thanksgiving in a more (radically) shared way and to activate a traditional market arcade, the Tongin Market Project in downtown Seoul and I realized a pancake shop in September 2011 that promoted random acts of kindness.

Full Moon Crepe Cafe

Inspired by the Pay-it-Forward movement we invited guests to share and enjoy their food in an unusual way. Each curious visitor was served what the previous person has ordered. In a spirit of indiscriminate sharing, guests were only able to place an order for the person following them and not themselves. order-it-forward

The Crêpe Café presented for two full days a buffet with a wide range of savory and sweet option for pancake fillings. All ingredients were sourced at the Tongin Market to integrate neighboring stores in the project. Savory toppings were based on Red Pepper Gojuchang paste, several Miso Bean Pastes, Kimchi and Mayonnaise that gets covered with veggies or tofu. The sweet fillings built upon Red Bean Paste, Chocolate Sauce, Yoghurt and Canned Milk to be garnished with fruits and nuts. Staffers from the Tongin Market Project did an excellent job in explaining the rules and concept of “ordering-it-forward”, guided guests through the menu options and helped them to fill in the order cards.

R U L E S :
1. Buy something at the market and get a voucher for a free crêpe.
2. Treat the NEXT person with a pancake topping of your choice!
3. Enjoy the order you get — even if it's not your taste.
4. Tell the person who ordered your crêpe how it tasted.

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After some initial surprise and confusion, most guests adjusted quickly. Most embraced the surprise of letting go of the total control we are so used to when exerting as customers. Many of the hungry visitors shared a hearty chat or good laugh with total strangers at the same table. Some of the guests got really daring with their orders and asked for rather unusual or opulent pancake toppings that contained a little bit of everything. Respectively people on the receiving end were equally appreciatively excited — or shockingly surprised... Since the eater and the person in charge of the pancake order sat at the same table it encouraged immediate feedback and hence a mutual responsibility for each others taste buds and wellbeing.

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If nothing else, Full Moon Crêpe Café led its clientele to taste something new, that they might not normally have ordered. The "horn-of-unexpected-plenty" was intentionally opened up as a delightful surprise for the next lucky customer... Juri Jung, who worked as host and pancake chef at Crêpe Café observed the following: "While working at this food-related project I could reflect about the way how people effect each other. Crêpe Café made me reconsider what 'interaction' means".


T H A N K · Y O U !
Full Moon Crêpe Café came to life per invitation of Yoon HyunOk and was made possible with the support of Tongin Market Project. I am grateful for the forthcoming support of the Tongin Market Project's team members, namely Lee HyunHee and Kang HwaSoo. My gratitude also goes to my fearless interpreters Lim JiMin and Jang Juri — who already worked on the
The Taste of Hands kimchi buffet. We were also happy to receive the generous support (and food donations) from many neighboring merchants and shop owners. Thanks, Johannes Heidingsfelder for lending a hand in the pancake baking, and merci beaucoup to Titus Spree for introducing me to Yoon HyunOk.

Tongin Market Project
Tongin Market Project is a cultural initiative which recognizes and activates the traditional market (arcade) as a unique asset of everyday culture. With the financial backing from the city of Seoul, Tongin Market Project provides educational programs for merchants and visitors (like weekly gymnastic training for shop owners, educational children tours, Complaints Choir, etc.), facilitates collaborations with art students and promote the market with a community-oriented, monthly newspaper. All in an effort to interest a broader spectrum of the public into the market and to strengthen the market as a place of quality manufacturing and social exchanges on a human scale. Culture planner Yoon HyunOk puts it this way: "Traditional markets may not have the selection of supermarkets, but they do have stories to tell." Tongin Market is located in Jongno District, central Seoul, and is home to 74 stores for more than 6 decades.

Chuseok, Full Moon & Pancakes...
Full Moon Pancake
As one of Korea's major holidays, Chuseok is the day of thanking the ancestors for the year's harvest and sharing its abundance with family and friends. Chuseok can be traced back to ancient pagan practices closely related to full moon which was seen as rare, monthly event that lights up the dark of the night. Hence, important festivities take place on the days of the largest moon. Coincidentally, the opening day of Full Moon Crêpe Café took place on a full moon on September 12, 2011.