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Kimchi still SHINee’s No.1 after taste of Barcelona

Boy band releases travel book on Spanish city

As drivers of K-pop fever abroad, SHINee had long regarded hotel room service as the “best foreign food.” That’s all they ever got a chance to eat overseas thanks to their tight touring schedules.

After taking “a real trip” to Barcelona as travel authors and tasting the dishes on offer outside their hotel rooms, three of the group say they are now qualified to reveal their favorite food of all time.

“Kimchi still rules over all other food. It tastes good and goes well with everything, like magic,” Onew, the leader and eldest member of the five-member boy group, said in a press conference this week.

Onew, Key and Taemin together released a travel book, “SHINee in Barcelona,” this month, each sharing their impressions of the sunny Spanish city.

The book is the first by a group with SM Entertainment, the biggest entertainment company in Korea. Making their 2008 debut with “Girl, You’re So Pretty,” the group has been leading the K-pop craze across Asia and Europe, marking consecutive hits with “Juliette,” “Lucifer” and “Ring Ding Dong.”
SHINee members (from left) Taemin, Key and Onew pose for a photograph during the press conference for their travel book “SHINee in Barcelona,” Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
SHINee members (from left) Taemin, Key and Onew pose for a photograph during the press conference for their travel book “SHINee in Barcelona,” Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

“Although we have been to many different countries now, this was our first real trip. I was happy that we could actually eat in restaurants outside the hotel,” said Taemin.

Key said he bought many outfits he plans to try out on stage.

“Barcelona seemed like heaven for trendsetters. There were so many little shops filled with items you can’t find in Korea,” said Key.

SHINee, all in their early 20s or late teens, are considered fashion icons after their hairstyles and clean-cut on-stage attire started the so-called “SHINee Trend” in Japan.

“Key wouldn’t let us rest. He wanted to check out practically every clothing and accessories shop we could find,” Onew said.

Publisher Woongjin Living House had aimed to create a book with more focus on Barcelona than SHINee, head of the firm Park Sun-young said. SM Entertainment approached the publishing house with the travel book idea and SHINee decided on Barcelona, finding a link between the group’s name and the sunny image of the Spanish city.

“I was curious what these young idol group members think and feel when they travel around the world,” she said. “We wanted to make a book that serves as a real travel guide for people wanting to visit Barcelona, not just a book containing pretty pictures.”

The 328-page book reveals different sides of the three band members: While the eldest Onew, 22, shows interest in cooking the Spanish dish paella, the youngest Taemin, 18, is happy to learn swimming and skateboarding in a country where few recognize him. Key, 20, reveals an artistic side, introducing his favorite shops and streets filled with Basquiat-esque graffiti.

“Barcelona is an amazing city that you have to visit at least once in your life. I hope readers enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed writing it,” said Onew.

By Shin Hae-in (
Korea Herald Youtube