Friday, August 24, 2012

미국 음식 - American Food (Seoul Weekend pt. 4)

저는 벌써 한국에서 일곱주일 동안 살고있는데, 한국음식 아직 좋아해요. 중원대학교의 식당에도 음식을 불평 없이 먹었어요. 그래도, 서울시를 방문할 때 미국 음식을 보고싶는지 마침내 깨달았어요.

You see, I never actively missed food from home. This is partly because I'm very used to Asian food: duck, squid, weird spicy things, mystery soup, mystery meat, and tons of rice. What bugged me most about Jungwon University food was that it was so repetitive, not that it was inedible. So I never complained. And discovering new things from time to time like 짜장면 or 김밥 were all the more exciting.

That said, when eighty Americans were finally set loose in Seoul to eat whatever they could find for two days, I decided that I'd try to find an American diner for Saturday morning brunch. I wasn't craving anything in particular, but I thought it would be nice to see pancakes and scrambled eggs for a change.
Katelyn and Jason at Richard Copycat's in Itaewon.
Richard Copycat's facade, + Starbucks, in Itaewon.

Our plan was to take the subway to Itaewon (이태원), the neighborhood that caters to the international crowd, expatriates, tourists, and the like, and just wander around from there until we found a place that looked good.

Fortunately, after meandering down the length of a long shop-filled street for a while, we found Richard Copycat's, a promising-looking restaurant with a sign that said, "EAT HERE".

In we went!

And oh, was that food glorious. I had an American-style waffle with whipped cream! And hash browns! And fried eggs and breakfast meat, to boot. It was amazing, especially that waffle. And the hash browns. I'd go back just to get another pair of those...
Beautiful waffle with a dollop of whipped cream! They also had French toast, biscuits and gravy, omelettes, and a menu written entirely in English.
So nommable! 맛있네요! What I'm getting at with this post is that, while I was extremely satisfied with my brunch with friends, I realized that I didn't realize how much I'd missed American food until I actually had some. There were those among us who scoffed at the idea of eating American food while in Korea, especially as it was fairly expensive compared to a Korean breakfast (about 13,000원 -- which is like $12 -- and that includes tax... Korean restaurants never charge tax...). But to them I say, some of us needed the comfort food after six weeks of deprivation, and those of us who didn't need it benefited from it anyway.

I think that brunch at Richard Copycat's gave me my fix of American food for at least a few months. I'm not one to crave certain foods often, but I will admit that that meal really lifted my spirits and helped carry me through (an enjoyable but) long and rainy day.
Knife and fork ready to dig into my American brunch! I fleetingly thought of Black Bear Diner... (taken by Cody)
Amber & Elaine at Taco Amigo in Itaewon.

While I'm at it, I have to write about my most memorable meal while in Seoul: Taco Amigo, also in Itaewon! This was on Sunday evening, when I had no concrete plans and just tagged along with Amber and Elaine on their quest to find the best Mexican food (멕시코 음식) in Seoul.

Mexican food isn't American food, of course, but the chimichanga (치미 창가) may have originated in the U.S., and that is what I ordered. I have never actually had one before, so it's kind of funny that my first chimichanga was made by a Canadian who owns a Mexican restaurant in Korea. Nevertheless, it was made to perfection. It was absolutely delicious; I savored every last bite.

Add to that Mexican rice and Chipotle sauce and you have... a meal that literally kept me smiling for hours. (When I burped later that evening and it tasted like a deep-fried burrito, I was happy. TMI?) Also, conversing with Amber and Elaine as we satisfied cravings and downed that food like it was our last was just so wonderful. I won't forget it soon.

Again, the idea that I may have missed Mexican food (and by Mexican I'll admit that I mostly mean Chipotle burritos and horchata) never crossed my mind until after I'd finished and declared that Taco Amigo was the best restaurant in the universe. It's funny what a good meal can do to you, especially after weeks of rice and kimchi. I highly recommend Richard Copycat's and Taco Amigo for the American who is (not on a shoestring budget and) desirous of these kinds of foods that are readily available in the States, and taken for granted, as well.
Taco Amigo's chimichanga meal set: 14,500원 -- about $13. Quite expensive but hey, I'm in South Korea. And it was delicious.
I'll conclude by saying that Seoul really is an international city in terms of the kinds of food you can find. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and other fast food chains are everywhere. There was even an Outback Steakhouse right outside of the subway station exit in Itaewon. I had American brunch, Mexican dinner, and Korean-style hot pot/shabu shabu; my friends and I also ate our way through Gwangjang Market's famous street food (post on that coming soon!). I also heard of my peers' adventures with Indian food, Thai food, and ordering a Subway sandwich (harder than expected). My stomach and I had a great weekend in Seoul. I hope to go back to eat more, soon!
Cheese! Did I mention they had cheese?

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