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Western Food

A guide to finding western food while biking in Korea.

Tired of Korean food? Sometimes Koreans are too. While biking, you will cross the famous golden arches or an Italian-inspired restaurant. Inside, comfort food from your homeland awaits.

Check out our map to discover burgers, pasta, or cheese pizza treasures.

The (American) Italians

Casual dining restaurants proliferated when disposable income came to town. No wonder they took off as Korea’s middle class rose.

Just like home, these family-friendly eateries share a similar format: sixty-plus menu items. Lots of soda. And Americanized Italian food. Think Olive Garden in overdrive.

Raracost is a prime example. Their menu is a laminated tome filled with variations on the three Ps. Pizza. Pasta. And pilaf.

You can also find salads, and something labeled steak. Don’t expect prime rib, though. Think a thick hamburger patty with steak garnishes.

Ordering

Raracost designed their ordering for efficiency. As you’re seated, you’ll receive a notepad and cup.

Peruse the menu. See something you like? Write the number next to the menu item on the notepad.

Now take your cup and head to the soda fountain. Don’t worry about filling it to the top. It’s bottomless.

A few minutes later, presto! A steaming plate of sauce and carbs drops on your table.

Variations on a Theme

Plenty of restaurants compete for the casual dining niche in Korea. Some domestic. Some International. Here are a few.

*Click on the Korean name. They link to Kakao Maps. Just zoom into your location to find restaurants near you.

Breakfast from the West
A picture of a Paris Baguette (파리바게뜨) in Korea.
Want a quick breakfast? Chain bakeries like Paris Baguette (파리바게뜨) offer a quick meal. Inside, find break, coffee, and more.

Pancakes, waffles or English breakfasts are a rare sight in Korea. “Brunch” restaurants in Korea serve overpriced burgers and sandwiches.

If you want a quick breakfast, seek a Paris Baguette (파리바게뜨) or a Tous Les Jours (뚜레쥬르). These ubiquitous bakery chains offer cream filled delights, ready-made sandwiches, and hot coffee.

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Pizza’s star shines bright worldwide. From kids to grandmas, it’s got billions of likes and re-eats.

Korea has many pie shops. There’re cheap bites. Some chains bake decadent behemoths that rival Chicago’s deep dish. In trendy neighborhoods, you can stumble upon artisan pizzerias.

*Click on the Korean name. They link to Kakao Maps. Just zoom into your location to find restaurants near you.

Budget Eateries

Pizza School (피자스쿨을) and Pizza Etang (피자에땅) are budget friendly chains. You’ll find them perched on city blocks near schools and supermarkets.

Cheap and cheesy, they offer rapid response takeout. Their sauce drenched pies satisfies singles and families alike.

Remember, the world doesn’t know Korea for its dairy cows. Cheaper pies equal cheaper cheese.

Western Classics

Poke your head inside a Korean Domino’s Pizza (도미노피자) or Pizza Hut (피자헛). You might feel sticker shock. ₩35,900 ($30) for a pizza?! This ain’t mama’s pizza. It’s a luxury pie. 

Luxury pie? Take Domino’s Cheese Cake Black Tiger. Whipped cheese forms the base. On top they spread oversized black tiger prawns and sun-dried tomatoes. And bacon. And horseradish sauce. Yes, horseradish sauce on pizza. Use a fork. No shame.

More tame entrants into the Korean pizza canon include a bacon cheddar, and bulgogi. The potato pizza arrives engorged with salad dressing drizzle and hefty potato wedges.

Discounts

Looking for a discount? On weekdays, Domino’s sometimes offers 30-40% discounts on takeout orders. Also, look out for Pizza Hut’s 1+1 deals. Buy a pie, get a pie free.

Fast Food Haven

Late night. You’re hungry. You scroll through your phone. What’s open? Nothing.

Wait! There’s one.

But they betrayed your diet. They hid their calories from you. Now they say they’ve changed. They sell salads now.

No. You grew out of it. Years of diet therapy made you a better person. You moved on.

You have needs, though. And they know how to satisfy.

You turn away. No one can see your screen. You flick through their menu. Salads. Chicken burgers. Triple stacked beef patties with melted cheese!

Alright. Just this once. For old times sake.

*Click on the Korean name. They link to Kakao Maps. Just zoom into your location to find restaurants near you.

A picture of Lotteria.
Lotteria is Korea’s answer to McDonald’s. You can find burgers, fries, and more.

Many western brands kept their core menu intact. McDonald’s delivers the same old Big Mac and Quarter Pounder (not Royal) with Cheese. Burger King dished up the classic Whopper. KFC fries chicken, as is tradition.

However, Korean’s celebrate a unique taste and culture. So expect some new entrants.

Every quick bite joint serves some version of a burger slathered BBQ sauce. It’s called the bulgogi burger, named after Korea’s famous fire meat.

Most fast-food restaurants add a shrimp burger to their menus. Like chicken and beef patties, they’re made from — well — ground up shrimp.

American Chain Gang

The American invasion doesn’t stop with McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King. In every city, you can also find Baskin Robbins (배스킨라빈스) and Dunkin’ Donuts (던킨도너츠). Like much of the world, Starbucks (스타벅스) holds court in every neighborhood.

Present but rare, you spot a Taco Bell (타코벨) and Popeyes Chicken (파파이스). You might even glimpse a or two in Shake Shack (쉐이크쉑) Seoul.

A pile of fried chicken and potato wedges.
A pile of fried chicken and potato wedges are popular drinking companions in Korea.

Lotteria and Lotteria and Mom’s Touch are homegrown fast-food restaurants.

From menu, to format, to color scheme, Lotteria reminds one of McDonalds. Their core offerings include burger, fries, and coke.

Mom’s Touch begins and ends with chicken. Plates of fried and sauce slathered chicken. Cheese chicken burgers. Jalapeno chicken burgers. Garlic chicken burgers. To fill out the fast food pyramid, they threw in some fries and a bulgogi burger.