When I was thinking about first applying to teach English in Korea, I made a list of all the amazing things Korea had to offer, and of course food was on top of that list. I did not realise, however, that some of my favourites would be from a fast foot type place or Orange place as they are called here in Korea, (by us foreigners at least).
Orange places are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week & serve some of the tastiest foods I have sampled in Korea so far – even better they are a fraction of the price of other ‘western’ fast-food chains. But their portions and even taste is far superior.
(My local Orange place in Daegu - so good)
Because my working hours while teaching English are 4pm - 10pm most days, this orange place is very convenient for my co-workers and I to grab some food after work, however, this place is so good that I find myself coming here even on weekends. From the outside, it does not look like your typical fast food joint, however, given the fact that you have your food on your table or to-go (which ever you prefer) within 5 minutes makes this FAST FOOD.
(On the inside they are very ordinary, however there is Aircon & fans which keep it cool and toilet factlities. This is one of several 'orange places in my neighbourhood)
When I first came here, I had no clue what was on the menu, so for the first couple of weeks I pointed to the pictures and hoped for the best, and then when I got something good I would take a picture on my phone - so that I could get it again... (I still do this as I have not quite mastered reading Korean in the 2 months that I have been here).
(You can see the cooks making all the food in this place and the smells are incredible)
From topokki to kimbaps to Ramin (noodles) to soups this place has some mouth watering food. No matter what you order you are given a side dish of kimchi, radish and a chicken broth, also some soy sauce / vinager for dipping. And they are always kean to give you re-fills... Their Kimchi is so good, I always take seconds (Sometimes even thirds) And best of all It's rare to pay over $5 for a main and side dish, with most mains costing around $2 - $4 (AMAZING VALUE). Even if you order to take-out they throw in some radish or side dish in the bag.
This is topokki, it consists of noodles, rice cakes, fish cakes, vegetables, and is served in a delicious spicy tomato based sauce.. Soo good, I orderd a chamchi (Tuna) kimbap. When I first tried to eat this with chop sticks, it was messy! now I'm a pro... almost! cost around $4.70 for Tuna kimbap and topokki.
I ordered this one night having been downtown, I was so hungry that I ordered Korean dumplings, these come fried or steamed, and some spicy rice too, this was and still is one of the most tastiest things I’ve tried in Korea so far, again this was so cheap - for everything is cost less than $5
This is a Kimbap, you can get several kinds; from tuna to veg to spicy and non-spicy. these are a great snack and only cost $1.10 or there abouts and they taste so good!
There are many dishes that these Korean fast food type places offer, and I cannot wait to try more, so far I have had amazing meals from them & for very cheap prices, and unlike other fast food chains, when you get a meal from these places you're eating REAL food, which fills you up & doesn’t have 1000's of calories (unless you're getting the fried dumplings of course!)
There is another type of Korean fast food worth mentioning also, while you are teaching English in Korea; you should most certainly sample some of the amazing street food. Here in Daegu the street food is more of an open window type place, where you queue up take what you want and pay for it. Usually the colour stick denotes how much you pay. You can take as little or as much as you want, and it is a really quick and confinement way of snacking.
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling and having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He has always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; John felt nervous before his departure, but now that he is in Korea he loves every minute of it. For more information follow his blog.