At the moment, I eat out pretty much all the time. It works out cheaper that way and it’s also quite a bit tastier than my own efforts with local ingredients. I am by no means giving up on becoming a culinary king of Korean cuisine; but at the moment I just can’t make the rice like the guys at the bibimbap places can, let alone the actual main dishes.
So I’ve had plenty of opportunities to write another ‘Massida!’ recently; it’s just that when I sit down to eat I tend to forget that I need to take photos! Before I know it I’m halfway through a delicious meal, ruing my innate singlemindedness when it comes to eating.
Well, on Saturday I managed to stave off my appetite long enough to take some snaps. I was nursing a slight hangover and in that state I tend to reach (somewhat shamefully) for a McDonalds. So I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and head for South Korea’s McDonalds alternative: Lotteria.
Lotteria is owned by Lotte: a company that makes Tesco look like the local greengrocer, in terms of their sprawling share of the Korean domestic market. They are involved in finance, food products, amusement parks, cinemas, hotels, housing, oil – they even own two sports teams. Anyway, Lotteria is their fast-food chain, and it is essentially McDonalds by a different name; even down to the colour scheme of their logo.
This is Lotteria Yongin, although there is a Lotteria in Dunjeon too. Like McDonalds, Lotteria also offers a locally influenced menu (the Bulgogi Burger is quite sensational) and, much like most restaurants in Korea, offers home delivery. The mind boggles to think what would happen if McDonalds and most restaurants introduced home delivery in the UK, but that’s what you’ve got in Korea. The sight of a heavily clad delivery man on a scooter laden with food zooming to his next destination is a very common one indeed.
Anyway, back to the meal: I went with the Giant Double Burger, resisting the charms of the ‘Hanwoo Lady Burger‘. I was given a waiting buzzer (for want of the technical term) and sat down to await the call.
It’s really common to get given these in Korea, especially when waiting for a coffee. If you’ve not encountered these things, they’re basically bits of plastic that flash and vibrate when your order is ready, so you go to the counter to pick it up. As usual in Korea, any opportunity to use technology is hungrily snapped up.
Speaking of snapping things up, check out this beaut:
This tasted more or less exactly how it looks: ok and mass produced. The tomato on the burger deserves a special mention, as it had the distinction of tasting vaguely real. The beef patties were probably superior to those of McDonalds, although that’s hardly an accolade. The fries were hot and not too salty, which was a bonus. The bread dissolved into the mash of chemicals in my mouth and to evaluate the bread would be a bit like evaluating the taste of the fizz in the coca cola I drank. Bread’s not South Korea’s strong point in any case.
As good as anything McDonalds ever produce: it wasn’t disappointing, I didn’t feel violently ill afterwards and it was actually reasonably filling. So Lotteria and the Giant Double Burger get a whopping 4/10.