When will I ever learn?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

South Korea is known (with varying degrees of fondness) by many expats as "the land of not-quite-right." American culture has had a large influence on Koreans, but they tend to put their own spin on things, like food. You would think that after many disappointments, I would learn not to get my hopes up, but apparently I'm still...


easily deceived or duped
(for example, see picture at left)

Fool me once: Baked Potato w/ "sour cream"

A new restaurant called "Joys" (part of a Korean chain) opened in Sokcho the first time we were here. They had baked potatoes on the menu with what looked like sour cream. Not so much. Try sweetened whipped cream. So I scraped that off and asked for butter. The waitress brought me honey butter, since that's what they serve with bread.

Fool me twice: Nachos

Mexican food just has not caught on here. Taco Bell is one of the only American major fast-food chains that has not set up franchises in South Korea. So I really should have known better than to order nachos and quesadillas at "Miller Time," a bar in Sokcho's restaurant district.

The quesadillas were passing good, but they contained no cheese. That's right; they were just dillas. The nachos, which were picture-perfectly arranged, were topped with cheese, honey-mustard sauce (same color as the cheese), sliced jalapenos, corn, probably some other random vegetables, and maraschino cherries. (Apparently, someone had seen a picture of nachos with diced tomatoes on top and thought they were cherries.) They were inedible.

Fool me three times, I'm just an idiot: clam chowder

Our friend Kelsey showed us a flier for a little place called "Edelweiss" down the beach a ways. According to the limited amount of English on the flier (and the pictures), they serve clam chowder (in a real bowl with three slices of crisp garlic bread on the side) and sell "real chocolate" and have some sort of "Sound of Music" theme.

Since we rented a car for the weekend and were driving back up the coast with friends, we decided to stop there for a light supper. The place is tiny, think small gift shop with one table and a mini-kitchen, but the proprietor said he had clam chowder and showed us a large take-out paper bowl when we asked what size the chowder was. We thought it was a decent deal (for Korea) at W6,000 (about $6 at normal exchange rates), so all five of us ordered bowls.

I was mostly supervising Liam so that he didn't break any of the souvenirs for sale. But our friends were able to see that he was opening cans of Campbell's clam chowder, and not even the chunky kind that we have to order from Costco in Seoul, but the original concentrated kind that we can buy for about W2,500 per can at the local grocery store. He heated it in the microwave, with less milk than normal, but didn't stir it very well. The large paper bowls he had shown us were only half-full of soup, which was served with semi-sweet crackers and a sliced dill pickle (which is hard to find in Korea). Oh, and he put on the soundtrack from "The Sound of Music" while we ate. Now, that's atmosphere.

It was edible, but definitely not worth the price. But, then, why did I expect anything else?


2 Responses to “When will I ever learn?”
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I laughed out loud for like ten minutes reading your post! I remember Joys!!!! Delightful.

ewww dats just straight up nasty! and the man is a great example of a ghetto korean! haha...

I can't believe they would serve "nachos" like that!!!!! I would have totally said something! =P

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