Even a ghost looks better on a full stomach.

Hi. I am not sure if you heard about what I would label as "Chickengate". Basically, a big shopping chain in Korea decided to sell fried chicken at a fraction of the market price. A lot of small franchises got angry as this disrupted their business significantly. That company had to close the sale of cheap chicken after nine days. I am sure those people who were willing to stand in a queue for hours to eat cheap chicken are very disappointed. This obsessiveness over food reminded me of this proverb.

Even a ghost looks better on a full stomach.
먹고 죽은 귀신은 때깔도 좋다.

먹고, moggo, after eaten
죽은, jugun, dead
귀신은, guisinun, ghost + suffix
때깔도, ddaeggaldo, even skin complexion
좋다, jota, good

먹고 죽은 귀신은 때깔도 좋다.
moggo jugun quisinun ddaeggaldo jota.

If someone is about to die from hunger then sees someone else's food, he would say this and eat even if he gets punished from stealing. He/She dies either way. So, this expression is useful when you want to eat something regardless consequences or when eating is the number one priority.

때깔 usually means beautiful colors of fabrics. I don't think young people use this word very often.

Obviously, this expression was created when we were really poor and when there wasn't enough to eat at all. Which is not the case any more. While watching how Chickengate unfolded, what caught my attention and surprised me was how cheap the raw chickens were. For example, here is the price of chicken in the US. How is this possible? It is simple. The chickens are paying the price by being bred in inhumane condition of factory farms.

You are what you eat. Think about it. :)


  1. I was making 양념치킨 at home when I heard about them selling those cheap chickens. Theres no way small business can compete with that, so Im glad they stopped selling them.
    The economy sucks, so cheap stuff is hard to resist, but we need to think about WHY its so cheap…

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Yes, we really need to think about it. Once I heard someone saying that meat is actually the cheapest option to eat these days. That didn't sound right to me. :(


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