Sunday, October 28, 2018

first meal on Korean soil

I guess that, if you're flying with Air France, you have to use Incheon Airport's Terminal 2 for your departures and arrivals. Just as when I departed two weeks ago, I arrived at ICN's Terminal 2 this morning at about 6:40 a.m.; by the time I got off the plane and through passport control (it was a long damn line), it was 7:37 a.m., and I was both tired and hungry. As I worked my way downstairs to the exit, something caught my eye: a reflection of a restaurant sign I hadn't expected to see: Shake Shack! While I'd had fun eating homemade French food for two weeks, my body was telling me it was time to stuff my gullet with some nasty, rib-sticking Amurrican fast food, and since I had never done Shake Shack before, I thought this would be the moment to pop that particular cherry.

So I went down to the restaurant, which was, incredibly, open for business and actually serving burgers before 8 a.m. Unfortunately, the chain didn't have the "smokehouse" burger I wanted, so I ordered the standard double burger, plus a side of fries (I didn't see any "set" menus on offer; everything had to be ordered à la carte) and a large Coke (thus beginning the reintroduction of my kidneys to my old, sugary diet. I'm sure my kidneys love me for this).

I forgot to order a side of Shack Sauce, but I think I know what that tastes like because, as you'll recall, I've actually made Shack Sauce before.

Here's what I got when they buzzed me to tell me my order was ready:

That's a pretty small burger for ten dollars—and by "ten dollars," I mean just the burger, not the fries and not the drink. So how was it? Well, it might have been better with some Shack Sauce, but I can say the burger went down easy: it was plenty juicy, and it was a legit smash burger (i.e., the patty was smashed by a spatula—or something spatula-like—and very quickly seared on a super-hot griddle). Aside from that, though, the burger was nothing spectacular, and I doubt I'd ever go back to Shake Shack again. The branch located in Gangnam apparently continues to enjoy long lines, but this experience has taught me that Shake Shack isn't worth esteeming as a pilgrimage site. Oh, and the crinkle-cut fries took me back to my childhood, but not in a good way: they felt somehow infantilizing.


John Mac said...

Welcome home!

I see you missed good Korean food while you were gone...

Kevin Kim said...


Although in all seriousness, I did get homesick when I watched this Chinese-American dude do a noodle tour through South Korea. I saw that video in the midst of an especially hungry moment, and I suddenly didn't want French food.