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3 Sausage Sandwich
Photo by Anna Waigand

Anna and I have spent many of our free days picking a side street near our apartment and wandering down it to see where it goes. This semi-frequently ends with us stopping by the zoo in Children’s Grand Park, but we usually make a good discovery along the way too.

This last weekend we decided to take the slowly curving street behind the CGV movie theater. We passed a couple places advertising take out in English, which we hadn’t seen before. Then we passed a large school campus as tons of high school kids were on their lunch break and flooding into the streets to grab some food. Just outside the entrance to the school was small sandwich shop.

Sandwich Stand
Photo by Anna Waigand

They had maybe two seats inside the place, but a window on the sidewalk where you could order standing up. An old smiling couple stared at us waiting for our order, but all they had were a couple pictures of sandwiches and then lots of Korean. We didn’t recognize any of the pictures, but just decided to point to two and hope for the best.

Nom nom.
Photo by Andre Francisco

Both of the sandwiches we ordered had a lot in common. They were on white bread (nearly the only thing available in Korea) with a mild Korean cole slaw, a drizzle of a dark sweet sauce, American cheese (what I would give for some cheddar!), pickles and a flattened layer of cooked egg. All of these ingredients led to a full and complicated sandwich. The cole slaw and pickles gave them a nice crunch, and I liked the sauce, but the egg seemed unnecessary. I’d really love to find a cheap sandwich on some nice bread, though I would settle for just wheat.

"Burger" Sandwich
Photo by Anna Waigand

Our first sandwich was kind of like a burger but with and extra slice of the over processed ham available in many Korean grocery stores. The patty was thin and not terribly flavorful, but it was a passable substitute for a burger in a country of few sandwiches.

The bulk of the other sandwich was from three different kinds of thinly sliced sausage. They were dyed green, yellow and orange. The only one with a distinctive flavor was the yellow sausage which had a great curry taste. I’ve seen a lot of strangely colored sausages in the cold cases of the grocery stores, but I haven’t ventured to buy any of them yet. But after tasting the curry sausage I think I’m going to go try and find it in our neighborhood Home Plus Express. The combination of the three artificial colors didn’t make the sandwich look to appealing, but it tasted pretty good.

The sandwiches were unfamiliar and complicated in their textures and flavors, but they made for a great and cheap lunch, and I think I’ll be back.

As always, look for more photos on Flickr.

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Photo by Anna Waigand

My sophomore year in college I took a class that required interviewing strangers on the street in January in Chicago. It was so cold my pen would freeze. During winter in Chicago, no one wants to stay outside longer to talk to some student.

Luckily, I had a refuge from the cold weather and cold shoulders: the corner Popeye’s. For the unaccustomed, Popeye’s is the better and more southern version of KFC. They bill themselves as authentic Louisiana cooking with fried chicken, red beans and rice, cole slaw, mashed potatoes with Cajun gravy and some wonderful biscuits. They serve some good chicken, and I find their biscuits with honey so irresistible that I can barely pass a Popeye’s without stopping in for one regardless of how hungry I am.

All this goes to say that when I saw a Popeye’s sign Sunday while walking through Children’s Grand Park under a drizzly gray sky I was ecstatic and suddenly hungry.

Koreans are pretty into fried chicken. In our two days here we’ve seen a half dozen fried chicken places all with a fleet of delivery motor scooters outside, but we have yet to stop in.

The Popeye’s in Children’s Grand Park is located inside the amusement park and is connected to another food counter serving traditional Korean food. Popeye’s in the U.S. have metal racks behind the counter filled with fried chicken divided into spicy and regular. Here the racks were there, but there wasn’t a single piece of chicken. There was no one behind the counter, but someone appeared as I walked up.


Photo by Andre Francisco

Even though I was excited to taste some fried chicken from home, I was disappointed by the menu changes. All of the side dishes were replaced with French fries, and their standout biscuits were missing – a grave error. There was a small menu in Korean that I couldn’t read next to the combo pictures, but if they had the traditional sides or biscuits, they would have come with the combos instead of French fries. The menu had some new items, mainly hamburgers, which were clearly more about Popeye’s being from America than Louisiana.

P1020106
Photo by Anna Waigand

I ordered the two piece meal with a drink and fries for 7,900 won, an alright price for amusement park food, but pretty expensive for Seoul. Since they didn’t have any chicken ready they told me it would be 10 minutes for my food, even though there was only one other couple in the place.

The chicken
Photo by Anna Waigand

A couple minutes later I got my chicken fresh out of the fryer. The crust had a great golden brown color and was just as tasty as in the states. The flesh was wonderfully juicy, but it didn’t stop the skin from being loudly crunchy. The fries were under seasoned, but well cooked. I wasn’t asked what kind of drink I wanted, but they decided to give me Coke – a good guess.

Wet wipes - smart
Photo by Anna Waigand

Unlike in the US, they included some Popeye’s brand wet-wipes, which is something I think every Popeye’s should adopt. Their chicken is best enjoyed messy.

I missed the spicy option and the packets of hot sauce, but the taste was a great reminder of home. It’s a great hidden gem in the expanse of Children’s Grand Park for anyone craving some American fast food. To find it take Line 7 to the Children’s Grand Park station then grab a map from the information building just inside the gates. The amusement park is on the opposite side of the park, and there are signs for the Popeye’s outside the amusement park.

To see more pictures from this adventure check out the Flickr set.

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