Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuttle Eats Tacos

... and burritos and similarly Mexican-like foods at the newly-opened Taco Bell in Itaewon.

Despite the cautionary tales of 45 minute lines of people waiting to place their order, I bravely ventured forth with my trusty Yong-in training roomie Max to give Korean fast food Tex-Mex style a whirl.

It was, in a word, Tex-Mex-errific! I know that's not a word, but what I mean is, it was exactly like Taco Bell back home. Which is cheap. And awesome in its own way. The number two combo, consisting of a beef burrito, a beef taco supreme and a drink was 4,500 W. Worth every freaking won, too.

Max got something called a spicy chicken crunchwrap supreme for 3,300 W--he liked it just fine, as you can see:

And I'm pleased to note the horror stories of lines wrapping round the block are no longer true, now that the early-adopters have got their fill. It was packed, for sure, but there were tons of employees working like little Kor-Mex bees to get your order out to you with only a few minutes' wait. Below is a pic of the line outside, as seen from the second floor dining area (there is a third floor as well) at 7:15. Below that is a pic of the second floor dining area, at 7:16:

According to the sign, it'll be open until 11 PM on weekdays, 2 AM on weekends. I'm betting they will lengthen those hours once they realize the expat jones for what they got. Yes, I did get a couple of extra tacos of various kinds, just in case it was really good and we wanted them. It was, and we did.

Those in the know are aware that Taco Bell is one of the YUM brands, the world's largest fast food conglomerate--spun off from Pepsico in the 1990s. KFC is their pioneer brand, in the sense they tread into unknown foreign lands first (well, usually following Pepsi beverage products)--as they did in Korea, setting up shop here in about 1984. Burger King and Pizza Hut followed, with great success, but an earlier attempt to establish Taco Bell failed.

Folks back home may wonder why I'm blathering on about Taco Bell, but I do have an answer: Mexican food is hard to come by here, and after my experience with On the Border, I won't be back there again. I love Korean food, of course, but not for every single meal! Having another favored option is big news in these parts! Rejoice with me, and pass the hot sauce packets. Even if the riddles are in Korean.

UPDATE: Visit the comments for this post to see a nice list of Mexican-style restaurants in Seoul provided by a reader!


조안나 said...


JIW said...

Joy enjoyed Tuttle eating tacos.

Don't forget about Dos Tacos...they are pretty good.

Tuttle said...

Never been to Dos Tacos.

Anonymous said...

Folks back home may wonder why I'm blathering on about Taco Bell, but I do have an answer: Mexican food is hard to come by here, and after my experience with On the Border, I won't be back there again.

While the entry of a major American fast food franchise into the Korean market may be newsworthy, the statement that "Mexican food is hard to come by here" is downright laughable. If Taco Bell is the best you can do, you have clearly failed in your quest for Mexican food in Korea.

Besides Taco Bell, a quick web search turns up the following...

On The Border (4 locations in Seoul)

Dos Tacos (8 locations in Seoul)

Taco Chili Chili (2 locations in Seoul)

Tomatillo (2 locations in Seoul)

Casa Loca (Yeouido)

Chois Tacos (Sinchon)

King Taco (Apgujeong)

O Taco (Hannam-dong)

Casa Maya (Hongdae)

Seung Taco (Hongdae)

Margarita Splash (Hongdae)

Julio (Gangnam)

Taco Rico (Gangnam)

The Tacos (Gangnam)

Taco Factory (Gwanghwamun)

Cunga Conga (Myeongdong)

Taco Amigo (Itaewon)

Panchos (Itaewon)

La Merce (Bundang)

And probably many more.

Tuttle said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous (!) I'm sure you're right, but I've only seen the Tomatillo's--I like it, but it's a long ways from me and quite expensive.

Still, it's nice to have such a substabtial list of Mexican-style restaurants right here on my blog!

JIW said...

I believe you are in the Gangnam area. Before you get to the Kyobo Tower there is a building which has the Dos Tacos. It is in an alley way that is past an Apple electronics store.

I recommend a full on nacho plate and their chicken tacos. Pretty good. Also they have a variety of burritos that are nice. Some people don't like em because they use cabbage for stuffing, but I find it to have a nice taste.

I would say Taco Bell is a great addition to the plethora of Burger fast food places and will be nice to see it pick up and grow elsewhere. (Not really a fan of Itaewon).

Tanner Brown said...

There's also, in Steve's unflushed toilet, a sort of chewed up carne asada....wait, that's not Mexican food!

JIW said...

Featured on another post in....

dun dun dun