Five months have passed and I’ve found myself working in Ulsan again. The weather in Ulsan is relatively temperate compared to the rest of the Korean peninsula. While it may not be known for extremes, the city experienced a record-setting heat wave when I was here in the summer. Now, during the height of winter, it is experiencing record-setting cold temperatures. Awesome.
During that hot summer, I had an extreme adventure attempting to find a burger – arriving at Benchwarmers outside of business hours, arriving at an empty storefront as IT Burgers upped sticks just two weeks before – prior to getting my beef on at The Golden Eagles. During this cold winter, I hoped to avoid such an adventure by going to a restaurant I had personally seen during the summer: Lico Burger. I confirmed its location with a friend who is originally from Ulsan and four of us headed out the door.
We stepped off the 401 bus in Samsandong just 100 meters from where the red awning from my memory should have been hanging, but it wasn’t in sight. I hoped that maybe the awning is only up during the summer or maybe there is a new one of a different color. We walked to the corner where I remembered the restaurant being located, but it wasn’t in sight. We circled the block finding all of the landmarks I recalled, which pointed us to the same corner we had been standing at before. A quick call to my Ulsan-native friend confirmed we were in the right place. A quick step inside the mobile phone store on the corner confirmed that we were standing inside the former Lico Burger, which had closed two months ago and SK Telecom moved in. Sigh.
Cold, hungry, and without a back-up burger plan, we walked across the street to a bistro that I had seen previously. We checked the menu for a burger and found this…
…a delightful Konglish typo, which immediately confirmed that this was the right place for us to eat. Who wouldn’t want a “buger” with various “other ingredients”? I immediately placed my order for a buger (W13000, about $11.70). The price seemed a bit steep but we were pleased to learn that the beverage of our choice was included in the price.
When the server returned with our drinks he brought a small bowl of pumpkin soup for each of us as an appetizer – also included in the price but not mentioned in the menu. The soup was delicious; very flavorful with just a touch of sweetness and a bit of savoriness. I had barely licked my bowl clean when the burger arrived.
Admittedly, it was difficult to focus on the burger with the verdant pile of fresh greens on the plate, as Western-style salads are unusual in Korea. But I take my Hamblogging responsibilities seriously and managed to pick up an unwieldy burger half. The burger stood very tall with an entire second salad, cheese, fried egg, and four sauces accompanying the beef patty. Unable to unhinge my jaw, I gave it a light squeeze in an attempt to compact its height into a more mouth friendly dimension, which resulted in the jettisoning of a number of sauce-lubricated veggies.
The four sauces – mayonnaise, ketchup, chili sauce, and a house sauce – resulted in a sweet flavor for the burger. The patty had a lightly peppered taste, which contrasted nicely but was unable to balance the overall sweetness of the sauces. The texture of the patty was much better than the patty available at The Golden Eagles, as it was not as finely ground. It wasn’t coarse, but it wasn’t minced either. The cabbage, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce were fresh and overabundant. Fortunately, half of them fell out making the burger more manageable for a short time. Unfortunately, the moisture from the veggies (and the quantity of sauces) resulted in Bottom Bun Blowout, making the burger less manageable for the rest of the time. The salt of the fried egg added a savory touch but the cheese went by unnoticed.
The menu did not lie as the buger delivered “several layers of other ingredients” but those items relegated the beef patty to second fiddle. As messy as it was to eat, it was still delicious and worth the adventure.
Samsan-dong 1479-7, Floor 2
Ulsan, Republic of Korea
+82 (0)52 260-0020