It had been awhile since I was down in Noksapyeong station. I like to head down to Craftworks for a beer sometimes. I had the day off and decide to mosey on down to grab a quick burger and then to Craftworks for a quiet afternoon pint. M-Burger was one of the restaurants suggested in Lonely Planet’s Seoul 7th Edition. Lonely Planet described it as a, “mini-diner style burger bar” and should order, “the Juicy Lucy” which is a burger that had cheese sandwiched inside the burger paddies. Honestly, I would concur. M-Burger was fucking awesome. It was cheap and it had tables and chairs outside, which is perfect for people watching on a warm day. Alas, it is no more.
Here is my suggestion for an alternative. Take the subway to Noksapyeong Station (Line 6), it is the one right after Itaewon. Get out at exit 2 and start walking down the hill. On your left side will be the military base. That’s key. Follow down the hill and keep going left. You will see some Kimchi pots. Trust me, they are very visible. Now walk up that street and you have now entered Haebangchon. You will see the trippy, acid-looking multiple colored sign on you rright about 300 meters up the hill. That sign looks like it could grab the inner child of your mind and send it dancing on the surface of the sun. You really can’t miss it. Haebangchon, back in the day, used to be a ghetto. It was poor, destroyed by war, but over the years, it has become a bit of a haven for expats. I first discovered “HBC”, as its known by the locals, around two years ago and every time I venture up there, I discover something new. Jacoby’s is the galactic star, in which other restaurants and bars rotate around.
What separates Jacoby’s from other burger joints in the Itaewon area, is that it is your burger is completely made-to-order. You get to create your own fucking burger; from the bun, to the sauce, to the amount of bacon you want on it (Trust me, a lot of bacon). However, if you are on a schedule, my suggestion would be to wait. The last time I went in there, it took about 20 – 25 minutes to make my burger. I got a plain cheeseburger, with bacon and a side order of garlic fries. If you go on the weekend, be prepared for a solid 40-45 minute wait, even if you can get a table. Beer on tap is your standard Korea swill, but you can get bottled beer if you need one. Now, how much is going to cost me? Okay, so it might be a little more than other joints in Korea, but you are paying for quality. Their burgers are top-notch, and they always satisfy. My total bill came to about 23k WON for a burger, garlic fries and a couple of Pepsis. However, after that, you literally don’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
The atmosphere is pretty chill in the day, but it gets a little busier later in the evening. The place is opened until 2am, so if you are drunk and need a bite to eat, this is probably your best place to go to. Also, you can still get a cold beer to wash it down. The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is known to stop by late at night after concerts, and sometimes are willing to play a little tune.
It was a shame M-Burger shut down. We hardly got a chance to know them, but Jacoby’s has been a staple around HBC for quite some time. All I know is, that if I want a burger like back home, its one of the places I head down to, and its always worth the trip.