Western

An illustration of a bowl and chopsticks.

Western

Indulging in western favorites while biking in Korea.

Travel around the world. I guarantee you’ll spot the famous golden arches in every major city. For good or bad, sugar, fat, and gluten are the lifestyle brand of the west. And Korea has bought in.

If you’re looking for steaming pasta, old fashioned McBurger, or a cheesy pie check out these new and familiar names stand in Korea.

Casual restaurants are a mark of disposable income. No wonder they took off as Korea’s middle class rose.

Just like home, these family-friendly eateries share a similar format: sixty-plus menu items. Americanized Italian food. Lots of soda. Think, Olive Garden in overdrive.

Raracost is a prime example. Their menu is a laminated tome filled with variations on the three Ps. Pizza. Pasta. Pilaf. Some (hamburger) steak rounds out the menu for meat lovers.

Ordering

Grabbing a plate at Raracost is quick and efficient. When you sit down, you’ll receive a notepad and a cup. Find a menu item. Write down down its number on the pad.

Head over to the soda fountain to fill your bottomless cup. A few minutes later, voila! A steaming plate of sauce and carbs drops on your table.

Variations on a Theme 

Plenty of restaurants compete for the casual dining niche in Korea. Some domestic. Some International. Here are a few.

Pancakes, waffles or English breakfasts are a rare sight in Korea. A brunch restaurant in Korea usually translates to overpriced burgers and sandwiches.

If you’re looking for a quick breakfast, seek out a Paris Baguette, or a Tous Les Jours. These ubiquitous bakery chains offer cream filled delights, ready-made sandwiches, and hot coffee.

Pizza is a global superstar. From kids to grandmas, it’s got billion of likes and re-eats.

Korea contains multitudes. They have cheap bights. They have decadent behemoths that rival Chicago’s deep dish. You might even find an artisan pizzerias in the big cities.

Budget Eateries

Pizza School to Pizza Etang are budget friendly chains. You’ll find them rounding out corner blocks near schools and supermarkets. Cheap and cheesy, they offer rapid response to anyone from kids to singles, no questions asked.

Keep in mind, Korea isn’t a dairy producing powerhouse. Cheap pie equals cheap cheese and more.

Western Classics

If you poke your head inside a Korean Domino’s Pizza or Pizza Hut, you might feel a little sticker shock. ₩35,900 for a pizza?! This ain’t momma’s pizza. It’s a premium pie. 

What’s a premium pie? Take Dominos’ Cheese Cake Black Tiger. Imgaine, oversized black tiger prawns. Whipped cheese. Sun-dried tomatoes. Bacon! Horseradish sauce!! Yes, horseradish sauce on pizza. Don’t feel shame for using a fork.

More tame entrants into the canon include a potato pizza, bacon cheddar, and bulgogi. But, even these come engorged with salad dressing drizzle and hefty potato wedges.

Discounts

If you’re on a budget, there are deals to be found. Domino’s gives weekday 30-40% discounts for take-out orders. Also, look out for Pizza Hut’s 1+1 deals. That is: buy a pie, get a pie free.

It’s late. You’re hungry. You take out your phone. Scroll through the listings. What’s still open? Nothing.

Wait! There’s one.

But, they’ve betrayed you in the past. They begged you to come back. They said they’ve changed. They’re healthier now.

But, you grew out of it. Diet therapy made you a new, a better person. You’re moving on.

But, you have needs. And they have the goods.

You turn your back so no one can see your phone. You check out their menu. Salads. Chicken burgers. Triple stacked beef paddies with melted cheese!

Alright. Just this once. For old times sake.

A picture of Lotteria.
Lotteria is Korea's answer to McDonald's. You can find burgers, fries, and more.

Many of the brands have their core menu intact in Korea. McDonald’s still has the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder (not Royal) with Cheese. Burger King serves up its Whopper. KFC has fried chicken, as is tradition.

You’ll also spot some new entrants. Every quick bite joint serves some version of a burger slathered BBQ sauce. They all call it the bulgogi burger. You’ll also find shrimp burgers made from, well, ground-up shrimp. And, McDonald’s Shanghai Burger is just a re-branded spicy chicken sandwich.

There are quality burger chains to be found. Flapjack Pantry burgers come with a price. But, they’re ingredients and presentation is a little more grown up.

Korean

You'll learn the basiscs of what, where, and more importantly, how to eat Korean.

Fast Casual

From Chinese take-out to Korean picnic food, we'll break down quick bites for bikers.

Western

From Coca-Cola to burgers, we'll explain all the ins and outs of comfort food from the west.

Convenience Stores

Lunchboxes and meat-on-a-stick. What can't you find along the 24/7 aisles of 7-Eleven and beyond.

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