Soju, baijiu, and shōchū, East Asian distilled alcoholic beverages
According to Wikipedia, "mass produced [Korean distilled beverage based on rice] soju is similar to Chinese baijiu, a grain liquor, and Shōchū, a Japanese beverage." The online encyclopedia also says that "soju is sometimes mistakenly referred to as cheongju ..., a Korean rice wine similar to [Japanese] sake."
Korean office workers drink a lot of coffee
Male office workers in Korea drink four cups of coffee a day, mostly instant coffee plus some vending machine and canned coffee, as well as brewed coffee and take-out coffee (the last named expensive option being more the favorite of women office workers). For more, see here.
Instant coffee in Greece and South Korea
According to Fresh Cup, July 2007, Greece remains a stronghold of instant coffee in the form of iced coffee. This taste for iced coffee (mixing the instant coffee with water and ice and shaking the combination) is new, maybe fifty years old. Counting all types of coffee, Greece ranks 13th per capita in the world as a coffee consumer. Another trade magazine (Barista, I think), notes that Koreans are fond of instant coffee too, in this case hot and heavily sugared.
Women challenge Korea's corporative drinking culture
As women have become more numerous and important in South Korea's businesses, they have challenged the country's corporative drinking culture. To build solidarity, Korean bosses have required junior executives to join them in frequent nights of drinking: typically, dinner consumed with vodkalike soju, then a visit to a beer hall, and finally whiskey and karaoke singing at a norase bang club. For more, see the New York Times, 10 June 2007 here.
Heavy metals and cocaine have been found in Korean herb medicine in markets. The Korea Times reports.
Korea's 1975 marijuana crisis (blog)
Blog on South Korea's 1975 marijuana crisis and the government's concern over the emerging youth culture. For details, see here.
Korean Male Smokers’ Perceptions of Tobacco Control Policies in the United States (article)
Sun Seog Kim, and Kyoung A. Nam. "Korean Male Smokers’ Perceptions of Tobacco Control Policies in the United States." Public Health Nursing 22, no. 3 (2005): 221-229.
Smoking in Korean movies
Korean movies have an average 5.6 scenes that have someone smoking, according to the National Youth Commission.
The commission examined 40 Korean movies screened last year, and found a total of 225 smoking scenes, equivalent to an average 5.6 scenes per movie.
The Korea Times reports.
What about books about cigarettes?
The average Korean spends more money on alcohol and cigarettes than on books. The Korea Herald reports.
Social History of Coffee Drinking in South Korea (Article)
Bak Sangmee, "Reinventing Korean Food: National Taste and Globalization--From Strange Bitter Concoction to Romantic Necessity: The Social History of Coffee Drinking in South Korea," Korea Journal 45/2 (2005).