Salt. Where would we be without it? It improves the flavor of everything; even sweet foods get tastier with the addition of a few grains of salt. But most doctors say that when it comes to salt, there can be too much of a good thing.

The people of Korea don’t seem to have caught on to that message yet. The average Korean reportedly takes in some 13.4 grams of sodium per day. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this: The recommended daily limit set by the World Health Organization is only 5 grams!


The folks at South Korea’s Rural Development Administration felt that something needed to be done about this dietary imbalance, and they went to work on the problem. Their proposed solution costs about 20 bucks and fits right in your pocket.

The innovative new weapon in the war on salt is a thermometer-sized gadget that tests the salinity of your food. Just dip its tip into a bowl of soup, wait three seconds, and a little numerical display will tell you whether you’re pushing your luck healthwise by eating the meal you’ve just been served.

It remains to be seen whether the general public will go for it. Among other things, the RDA doesn’t say what you’re supposed to do if your prospective lunch exceeds the advisable threshold. The potential for arguments between waitresses and customers trying to send back their food seems huge.

And by the way: It’s considered very rude to lick it clean.




DanBing has lived in one Asian country and traveled in various others, engaging in activities that ranged from teaching English to playing Irish music to researching articles to marrying. The best part was usually the food, though the marriage hasn’t been too bad either. But of all his many accomplishments he is perhaps proudest of his close–extremely close–association with the person who wrote The Devil’s Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (