“It is the Americans who have managed to crown minced beef as hamburger, and to send it round the world.”
On this quiet post-Christmas Saturday afternoon, we were invited out with a couple of expat friends to what may be our new favorite activity: BYOB bowling. There was only one response to a BYOB activity: who ISN’T coming with us?
Rockin’ the bowling shoes at Dongulsan bowling alley in Dong-gu.
If you know us well, you know we enjoyed BYOB bingo back in Houston, and now we’ve got another American “sport” to combine with adult beverages. Or, if you’re me, another “sport” at which to perform terribly. J just happened to have been in a bowling club in his younger years, and his family has a bit of experience in the bowling league realm. That, combined with his natural talent for any recreational sport that involves tossing, meant I would most certainly lose no matter how well I played.
If I break 100 someday, I’ll have a party. You’ll be invited.
I don’t know which order to put the first, second or third best parts of this place: the ability to bring your own beer, the fact that it is only 1,000 won for shoe rental and 3,000 per game, or the fact that it’s less than a 5 minute walk from our apartment. If you’re looking for something to do in Ulsan, this is just the thing for a casual night out with some friends. If anything, you can go just to enjoy the Korean men wearing matching purple bowling shirts with gold glitter, along with custom bowling wrist braces (gloves?) that looked like they were at one point held hostage by a 5-year-old with a large Hello Kitty sticker collection.
Naturally, bowling (and drinking while bowling) works up an appetite, so we headed out for a hearty American-style dinner at a place I’ve been meaning to try, “I’m Burger”, near Ilsan Beach. I was excited to see how a Korean establishment could whip up a classic American dish.
I’m Burger menu, complete with classic American goodness.
We walked in the small but empty restaurant, and had no trouble with choices; J chose the “Oz burger” which included bacon, and I chose the original – cheese, pickles, onions and tomato. We also asked for an order of plain “I’m potato”, which turned out to be a mixed basket of potato wedges and shoestring French fries. Now I’m wondering what the chili cheese version would have been like…
J noshing on his bacon-y burger. He says it was good, but refused to call it great.
We eagerly awaited our burgers – a friend had told us he loved their “10 dollar burger”. J so kindly attempted to wait for my burger to arrive before digging into his. However, after about 10 minutes, we realized they weren’t bringing anything else out following our I’m potatoes (which were tasty). The cook had left the kitchen, and we were just plain confused. They seemed to understand our order correctly, and our receipt even had all three items listed. Hmmm…
When we mentioned it to the guy behind the counter, he seemed a little confused, discussed it with the chef, and then came out to ask for my credit card to “re-pay”. In hindsight, we think this may have meant for a refund, but he did say “no” when we asked about “pay twice?” or “discount?”. So we’re really not sure what happened there. All I know is that between placing my order and receiving my burger, I waited a patient 30 minutes. Not so great for a small place with only 6 customers at the time, and it was just the two of us when we first placed our order. Still, they were apologetic, so I am convinced it was an honest mistake.
Me and my yummy 30-minute burger.
So, I’ll say that overall the experience was just okay. The burger tasted pretty good and I would still recommend the food for others that are looking for a good bite in the Ilsan Beach area. Just don’t expect McDonald’s speedy service. Oh, wait, I waited 20 minutes for our “to-go” breakfast there last week. As with all things expat, just don’t be in a rush.