Hwamyeong: Latte King
For a while I've been considering writing about specific places in Hwamyeong-dong - the neighbourhood in Buk-gu in which I live. I wasn't entirely sure if anyone would be interested because Hwamyeong is really far out of the way. That said, I've noticed that there are a number of new spots opening up (mostly because I can't help but stop when I see an iced Americano being advertised for the equivalent of a loonie [that's a buck for you non-Canadians]).
You may remember my post on some of the local spots as well as Monster Craft Brewing, which is still my favourite spot to go for Chimek in Busan (get the Monster Craft Chicken with garlic sauce and tomatoes with the cabbage salad and share it with a friend! They don't do curry Sundays anymore, sadly). As Hwamyeong goes through a period of change and, dare I say, rejuvenation with the addition of Velocity Fitness Busan and the Paris Baguette that's right on the main drag (take-away salads for the win!), I'd like to take you on a little journey through my own personal experiences to help you make the most of your time in the Hwammer.
In today's post in a series I will quite simply call "Hwamyeong", I'm going to share a little bit about Latte King (beside Ediya Coffee and around the corner from Eco-Gym) which opened today. I'm not 100% sure about these coffee cups I noticed right in the entry, but the rest of the decor was pretty cool. It would be a great date spot if you're looking to get to know someone and have a good chat. After a quick Google search I noticed that there are several franchises in and around Busan, so I should probably cut them some slack on their opening day in fair Hwamyeong.
Having seen the new location yesterday on the way home from the gym in the morning, I decided to take my weary self for a sandwich after this evening's gym adventure. I had gotten in a pretty good workout tonight. Seeing as Koreans seem to dislike rain much more than say...an alumnus of a University in one of Canada's rainiest cities, the gym was fairly empty. After a good amount of cardio and some heavier weights was ready for a tasty dinner containing more carbs than I might normally consume this late in the day (or...at all).
I took a look at the menu and everything seemed pretty standard. The cheapest sandwich is less than $4 which was a pretty big draw to start. They let me know (in English) that it was KRW 2,000 (about $2) more to add fries and a drink to my sandwich order. With this post in mind (the only reason, of course) I decided to opt for the thick and fat-looking fries and an iced Americano with my Bulgalbi Cheese Steak Sandwich. I can't remember the last time I had a really proper french fry, and these looked too good to pass up.
I took my food to-go and was really looking forward to getting home, streaming some crime dramas, and vegging out with some delicious eats. I became jaded about Latte King the moment I popped open the take out bag and realised they gave me all of 5 fries. I mean sure, I shouldn't be eating fries, but come on guys you gave me enough chipotle dressing that you really could have given me at least half a proper order of fries. I was disappointed. The fries were perfectly seasoned on the outside but the potato just kind of broken in the middle.
The sandwich looked disappointing but actually packed a punch. I'm always on the hunt for something loaded with veggies, and my sandwich had lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickles, and olives (I usually dislike olives on most things but these worked). With all those veggies and the cheese overpowering the sandwich (couldn't tell you what kind of cheese - it tasted whipped. Weird, but decent) I could barely taste the meat, which was disappointing again. The bun, however, was the perfect combination of crispy and flaky on the outside and soft and squishy on the inside.
I would definitely check out this place again, just not after a big workout when I'm hungry. This would be a good take-out spot to grab some nosh and head to the CU when you know a couple of hours in you'll have a monster Cheese Bokki craving.
Have you tried Latte King in Busan? What did you think (...and more importantly: what did you order?). Leave your tips in the comments!