Central Seoul 2, Non-Korean Eats

CLOSED M Burger: New Burger Joint in Itaewon

Written and Photographed by Troy Zitzelberger

M Burger Itaewon

For weeks now I have been searching for a real burger. I have been looking for something juicy and delicious instead of these bland overly sauced burgers that lack bite.  When a new burger joint opens I am always a bit critical, but on a stroll on a glorious Seoul afternoon I stumbled upon M-Burger. It is located where the old Fat Panda Chinese takeout place used to be.  Now you may be wondering; what does the M stand for? Massive, monstrous, mars, miscellaneous, mamacita, or perhaps mashisoyo: honestly, I have no idea.

M Burger Itaewon

But however you decide to spin it, the burger that I ate was all of those things and more gently placed in a bun: with two wooden spikes holding it together. After sitting down on the veranda, we were greeted by the owner Michael, a kind and ambitious LA native. His menu is creative and exciting. I was particularly drawn to the Juicy Luicy: a burger stuffed with cheese in the center. He also has a BE (Bacon and Egg Burger), Spicy Jalapeno, the “Real Deal Bulgogi Burger, and a Turkey Burger. He said that the BE (bacon and egg) burger is their number one seller and that their version of the Bulgogi burger is more unique than you’ll find anywhere else in Seoul.

However, he recommended the Juicy Luicy (₩11,000) and my mind was made up. Those who haven’t seen Travel Channel in the US, the Juicy Luicy is fashioned by placing a lump of cheese between two patties, molding them together around it, and placing that bad boy on the grill. This creates the world’s most epic cheeseburger: The JL was justifiably named, it was possibly the juiciest burger I have ever eaten and done just the way I like it: a little pink in the middle of each patty. Now at first sight it appeared to be all bun, which in my book is always a no-no. My philosophy is ‘the more meat the merrier’. However, once I grabbed the bun it all proved to have been an optical illusion and I had been pleasantly fooled. My next surprise was that the massive patty was topped with caramelized onions, which added a subtle sweetness that nicely complemented the greasy burger, and with just a hint of mayo. After first bite I decided what the M stands for, Mashisoyo Burger… and delicious it was. I recommend you give them a shot. They have a lunch special from 11-2pm for only 9,000 won.

M Burger
Seoul, Yongsan-gu Itaewon 2-dong 532-bonji
서울 용산구 이태원2동 532번지

M Burger can located down the hill and across the street from subway line 3, Noksapyong station exit 2.

Troy Zitzelsberger originally hails from Michigan but has lived in Chicago, New York City, Germany, and now Seoul. He is working as an actor (really, no joke) in Korea and he humbly calls himself, “an unofficial food critic.” You can find out more about Troy here.

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Central Seoul 2, Korean Eats

The Battle for Kebap Supremacy by Troy Zitzelsberger

Written and Photographed by Troy Zitzelsberger
Mr. Kebab
This first time I had doner kebab was, oddly enough, in Berlin.  The large Turkish immigration brought with it what can be considered a new take on fast food.  These swift roll up’s, consisting of either chicken or lamb and various vegetables are a quick, affordable meal.  Meat and vegetables, sounds simple enough, but what makes this sustenance unique is the sauce.  Either a white yoghurt based sauce or a spicy red sauce (for those that can handle the heat.)  To my surprise, there are numerous kebab joints lining the streets of Itaewon.   I have taken it upon myself to try each and every one to find out which is truly, the Kebab Raja.

First stop, Mr. Kebab.  Lured in one late night after pool league with my Turkish friend to ensure there would be no language barrier when I attempted to order extra meat, I approached the counter reminiscent of times past.  After my friend order for me, which I’m glad he did since it led to some authentic soup, I was ready to dine.  

Mr. Kebab Kebab

I, being a fan of the spicier things in life, went for the extra hot sauce.  My first byte was a clean piece of lamb which, in all honesty, tasted quite similar to the typical kebab joint.  Being the gargantuan fan of lamb, I was hoping for something unique.  Next I tried the chicken, which was juicy and tender.  Then came the vegetables which where fresh and the rice which was plentiful, possibly too plentiful.  I am a fan of about 60% meat, 30% veggies, and 10% rice, these ratios where not present on my platter but for the mere price of 8,500 won I couldn’t complain. Now the spicy sauce was the highlight of my meal, it wasn’t as spicy as I usually like but it contained just the proper amount of sweetness to make it a great combination.  

Overall, Mr. Kebab was good and I would recommend it, but the Raja is out there.  The search continues…

Will the real Mr. Kebap please stand up
Mr. Kebab can be found at exit 9 at the Itaewon stop on the 6 line.

Mr. Kebab
127-2 Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
South Korea


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Troy Zitzelsberger originally hails from Michigan but has lived in Chicago, New York City, Germany, and now Seoul. He is working as an actor (really, no joke) in Korea and he humbly calls himself, “an unofficial food critic.” You can find out more about Troy here.

If you are interested in contributing to Seouleats.com contact Daniel Gray at seouleats at gmail dot com

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Central Seoul 2, Non-Korean Eats

Review: Brunch at Chef Meili’s

Brunch at Chef Meili’s

Chef Meili’s in Itaewon is a well known Austrian Delicatessen. I used to stop by quite often for the artisan sausages. The other day, I was with a friend and I wanted to find a place for brunch that had good coffee. We got to Chef Meili’s around 11am and they were just starting up for the day. We were the first customers there and we sat on their patio. The restaurant was nice and clean and the weather was perfect for sitting on the porch.

The brunch menu is not the most extensive- they have European fare here. You can get eggs or an omelet with sausage, bacon, or ham. The typical breakfast comes with bread and a coffee or tea.

I got the eggs with sausage (14,500 won). The sausages were great and the eggs were perfectly cooked. The cappuccino I got was nice as well.

Overall, it was a good meal. Now service could be much better. Although polite, the server didn’t seem to understand English well and when I repeated it in Korean, he acknowledged it, but didn’t follow through. We didn’t get butter for our bread and the coffee took 15 minutes to arrive. I guess they aren’t serious about brunch.

Chef Meili’s for Brunch: 2 stars (Good food, lackadaisical service)

Chef Meili’s
Telephone: 794-7024
Location: Next to Gecko’s Terrace, across from the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Days: Closed Mondays

Brunch at Chef Meili’s
Cafes/Bars, Central Seoul 2, Korean Eats

Seafood tteokbokki at Beodulgol in Itaewon’s bottom

Seafood Tteokbokki at Beodulgol

Rating 3 Stars: Recommended (Great atmosphere, inventive touches on familiar food, understanding service).

Last week was another sensational food week. I was able to meet the fabulous food writer Marina O’Loughlin and her husband David and we spent the next few days eating our way through Seoul. Marina, who is a twitterholic (follow her at http://twitter.com/#!/MarinaMetro), was a wonderful person to dine with and by the time we got to Beodulgol, I had an understanding of what she and her husband liked to eat. They liked the local, the raw, the real cuisine that you can only get if you know the land. Of course, I didn’t just go to hole in the wall places, but I think this place was a big hit with them.

Beodulgol, is a local hangout that is well known for their seafood. The shellfish outside the restaurant are well taken care of us and it shows in the food they cook. Their most famous dish is Seafood Rice Cake (Haemul tteokbokki). The noodles are made of rice so they have that bouncy texture (some of the places use flour noodles and they just taste spongy). You’ll also find many clams, octopus, mussels, and fish cakes in the spicy yet flavorful sauce. It was so flavorful that David, got a bowl of it and ate it like soup! Their presentation of the food is quite good as well. The sliced, white egg on the red sauce is an excellent contrast.

David, really wanted to try some spicy octopus, so we got an order of spicy baby octopus (Maeun Jukkumi).  This stuff was very hot because of the red chili flakes, but it was easily cooled down by mixing it with the white noodles and a refreshing beer. This dish had flavor, but mostly hot- I would only recommend it for those that are in the mood for something very spicy.

Beodulgol has all of the touches that make it a great local place. I know that it is a franchise, but if they can replicate what they did at this at other locations, then I think it will be very successful.

Beodulgol Yeeyagi
Korean Dining Bar
Directions: Go out Itaewon Station Exit 4 and make a U-turn and make a right. At the first street at Chef Meili’s make a right and walk to the bottom of the hill. You’ll see a tent outside.

Seafood tteokbokki at beodulgol in Itaewon bottom with 

Cafes/Bars, Central Seoul 2

Chocolate Fondant Cake from Cup and Bowl

Chocolate Fondant Cake

Last Saturday I headed over to one of my favorite cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee and have a piece of chocolate fondant cake. Cup and Bowl can make a decent cup of coffee and their pastries have a refined, homey style with a flash of creativity. It was a good cake and a great way to start out my day.

Cup and Bowl
Across and up the hill from Itaewon’s McDonalds

Chocolate Fondant Cake from Cup and Bowl