Hello to everyone and welcome to another scrumptious edition of Mastication Monologues! Today I was kind of a fatty with how many things I tried, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll never eat at this place again since I don’t like to eat a lot of fast food very often. The place I’m talking about is Lotteria. Living in South Korea, it seems that three retail companies run/own everything: Lotte, HomePlus, and E-Mart. When I say own everything, their names are even on residential apartment buildings. Talk about corporate branding run amok but just another little quirk of living in a different place. Anyway, corporate omnipresence aside, I felt the need to try Lotteria since I never heard of it, and it seemed to be Korea’s answer to McDonalds.
It looked pretty much the same like any fancy McDonalds, but I saw some interesting options like squid rings and red crab bites However, I don’t even eat Filet O’Fishes back at home, so there was no way I was going to be eating seafood here. I ended up ordering the vegetable rice bulgogi burger and the shake shake chicken. Oddly, they ended up giving me a Hanwoo Lady burger too for some reason, so I wasn’t going to argue with extra food since I’m pretty sure I’ve lost weight here with all of my radish, seaweed, and fermented cabbage ingestion. Plus, the burgers are smaller here than in the States, naturally.
I started with the Hanwoo burger that consisted of Hanwoo beef and rice cake mixed into one patty with peppers, gochujang (red pepper sauce), mayo, and lettuce on top. To start off, the patty was kind of bizarre. I could taste the succulent beef, but I was oddly grossed out by the rice cake since it added a rubbery texture that offset the great beef. I enjoyed the condiments too since it added a slightly spicy, Korean twist on an already interesting burger. Once I got over that first mini-course, I tried the vegetable rice bulgogi burger. This really threw me for a loop as I saw that the buns were actually made of steamed rice and dotted with corn, seaweed, and carrots. Even though you would think eating a burger with rice for buns would be an absolute mess, it surprised me greatly at its versatility. The rice, mayo, and bulgogi all came together perfectly like three drunk Korean businessmen at a noraebang (karaoke room). It was something that looked completely ridiculous and excessive (especially with the mayo that I scraped off), but it wasn’t too bad overall. The final act in this three-part gastronomic play was the shake shake chicken
. It was basically the Korean fast food version of Shake and Bake. I put the “Mexican chili” powder in the bag and shook away. What I ended up with was small pieces of succulent chicken with what seemed like a cumin based chili powder. I was just glad it wasn’t overly salty like ramen chili powder or Cajun powder they use on Five Guys fries. Overall, I was pleased that I tried Lotteria because it led to me finding a mountain bridge in my neighborhood during a brisk walk after eating. Who says fast food is solely a bad thing?