Happy Chuseok week!
I hope everyone is enjoying their Chuseok, getting some rest and enjoying some great food! Today we decided to head down to one of our favorite parts of Seoul called Haebangchon, which is a sub neighborhood of Itaewon. This part of town has really flourished in the last couple of years to become one of Seoul’s pockets of culinary delights. We originally went to have lunch at The Hungry Dog, sadly it was closed for the holidays. However, we discovered this little beauty and were not disappointed.
When I refer to “The Three Wise Men”, I’m talking about HBC’s three burger gladiators that are in 100 meters of proximity to each other: Jacoby’s, Burgermine and The Hanz Burger. Jacoby’s reigned as king for a long time, but alas, Hans Burger may have usurped them.
How to get there:
HBC is not connected by subway, so you need to do a little walking. Head out exit 2 from Noksapyeong Station (Line 6) and stay on the side of the road with that friendly building with all the barbed wire (USA! USA!) and keep walking down the hill until you see the kimchi pots on your left. Keep veering left pass the kimchi pots and walk up the hill for about 250 meters. On your right you will see The Hanz Burger, and right next to it, Burgermine. It is also right across the street from Phillies Pub.
If I had to describe the atmosphere it would casual and a touch of rustic. You sit on chairs, which remind me of old wooden chairs they used to have in small town libraries. They compliment the bucolic wooden tables nicely. It’s as though they decided to convert a log cabin into a burger restaurant. You can also sit outside on the patio to enjoy your cooked cow meat. The restaurant was calm and comforting, perfect for a nice Saturday afternoon.
The server who took our order was really nice. When I ordered food from the counter, she surprisingly engaged in some small talk. That is one aspect I miss about home, just striking up small talk with people. I really respect Koreans who try to speak English to provide better customer service. The water station (like oh so many in Seoul) was self serve, and the food was prepared just the way we ordered it. It was a really relaxed and friendly dining experience.
Food and Drink:
I decided to order The Hanz Burger (10000KRW) and a side of onion rings with a Coke. The wife and spawn ordered the Chicken Pesto Sandwich. The Hanz Burger came out first and consisted of lettuce, tomato, beef, a mildly peppery sauce which had just enough flavor and finally, a Korean signature in all burger establishments, a big fucking fried egg right on top. One aspect of the burger that I really appreciated was how nicely it was constructed. Often burgers come to your table looking like they were stacked by a toddler. However, The Hanz Burger was constructed with care, and that is something that is appreciated when one must continue on with the day, and not have a ketchup stain on their cheek. The beef was cooked well done, but still juicy enough. The egg was cooked over medium and the sauce had enough kick for flavor but not enough to distract the tastebuds from the burger itself.
The Chicken Pesto Sandwich was well done and came without peppers. As my wife continues her pregnancy, we are discovering that the little one doesn’t really care for spicy food (Sorry about the whole being born in Korea thing little buddy). Normally, the sandwich is supposed to come on a square ciabatta bun, however, they were out and it was constructed on a round one inside. No problem. Like the burger, the sandwich looked as though it was constructed with care. The chicken and pesto were balanced nicely, without any pesto dripping over the sides. The lettuce and tomato were both really fresh and crispy, something that goes unnoticed in a good sandwich.
Finally, the onion rings (8000KRW). Those onions needed to be tested for PEDs. They could possibly be the Barry Bonds of onions. Although they were good and plentiful, they did lack batter. The little batter they had was underwhelming, without much seasoning. However, the freshness of the onions did make up for the lack of batter. I miss Harvey’s onion rings (only Canadians will know this restaurant) where there is like a shrivel of onion covered in a sea of batter and deep fried.
The whole meal, including a Coke, ended up costing 34000KRW. We were both full on our way out to explore the city, but not too stuffed that we needed to have a nap. There was definitely quality in the ingredients, including the veggies on the burger and sandwich. For the quality of the food, not necessarily quantity, I found this to be good value, and I would definitely return. Two of the three wise men down, now only Burgermine left.
Who Should go to The Hanz Burger: Are you looking for a place to eat without feeling like you are about to suffer cardiac arrest? Check out Hanz Burger. Also a nice place to sit and watch the lovely characters of HBC.
Who Should avoid The Hanz Burger: Cheaper, faster options are out there, but as they say, “You get what you pay for.”
Now your moment of HBC zen….