Meeting old friends in Itaewon

Itaewon is like Roppongi, minus everything nice. (I bet only Ken will get that joke.)

I’ve been to Itaewon a total of 5 times since I have been in Korea.  That’s 1.25 times per year.  I kind of hate Itaewon, even though it’s the only place to get decent western food.  By decent, I mean, not Korean version.  Western style restaurants owned by Koreans tend to be .. how should I say… disgusting totally inauthentic.  Well, when I say inauthentic, I mean… just wrong. There’s always too much or not enough sauce, the wrong kind of cheese… and pickles.

Koreans like to eat Kimchi with every meal, so I guess they need something comparable when they eat foreign food. But kimchi is too “Korean” for the atmosphere of a foreign restaurant. So you’ll find sweet pickles with every kind of western restaurant imaginable. Ever heard of Fettuccine Alfredo with a side of sweet pickles? Neither has the rest of the world. Pickles are just as inauthentic as kimchi would be, so they might as well just serve kimchi.. I mean, who are we kidding?
The restaurants aren’t catering to Western customers. They are catering to Korean customers.

While that’s true, why is it that whenever any Korean finds him or herself in the U.S. and eats western food there, they always seem to like it better than whatever the Korean version is? Korean customers would be better served if the food people are purporting to serve was actually made to taste like what it should taste like. I know I can’t really talk, because I like places like Olive Garden and Taco Bell, but I definitely like authentic Italian food and Mexican food better.

So what I am saying is that American bastardizations of Western food are better than Korean bastardizations of Western food. Haha.

Not my picture... but this is a common site in Itaewon. Now imagine multiplying it by 30. That's about 100 meters of Itaewon.

Anywho, back to why I hate Itaewon..

Well, I don’t really have a reason to hate it anymore, I guess. It’s just that the only reason I’d think to go there is if there is some gathering of friends there, or if I need to get my fix of some non-Korean food.

But Itaewon is basically.. the Ghetto. The worst kind of expats go there regularly and the worst kind of Koreans go there to be around those expats. They have sections of Itaewon called “hooker hill”, “homo hill”, “tranny alley” and one can only imagine what goes on there. I’ve been to tranny alley actually, and saw a tranny show. That was fun actually, but I think people who frequent most of these places go there for the sex trade. I’ve never been done anything with the sex trade other than see some strip shows (In the US and in Japan) when I was younger.

Anyway it was good to see all my friends at least.


15 Responses to “Meeting old friends in Itaewon”

  1. lol at the roppongi reference 😀
    ah i heard a lot about itaewon, so i made sure to stay clear of it when i visited korea, just as i make sure to stay away from roppongi here in tokyo.

    are korean versions of western food worse than japanese versions ? i dont mind TOO much, but i cant stand japanese versions of chinese foods, those are REALLY bad, to the point i refuse to eat in a chinese restaurant owned by japanese LOL. yokohama chuukagai is the only place i will go for chinese foods here ^^

    • Yea I guess I should explain it for those who don’t get it. Roppongi is also the Ghetto of Tokyo with the worst kinds of people going there regularly, however, the buildings are at least nice. And there’s a shopping mall there that is reportedly awesome.

      So Roppongi is like…. some poop on your foot. Itaewon on the other hand is Seoul’s butthole.

  2. I’m glad I missed Itaewon…. I guess? lol

  3. yep. roppongi hills and tokyo midtown are nice malls, and as said a lot of nice buildings in roppongi.

    rencently there is a big effort to push roppongi away from the seedy image it has, and to try make it like an alternate version of ginza… ha good luck, a LOT of work has to be done… namely remove all the nigerian touts who shout “hey saaaahh come to my bar” lol.

    but with some luck hopefully it can all be fixed up. i mean roppongi is definetly not a dangerous place, but its just annoying i guess.

    • They need an alternative seedy district for gaijin to go to if that’s what they want to do.

      I recommend choosing whatever part of Tokyo is already slum and centrally located. So that’s basically.. ah… well Roppongi is the only place that fits the bill.

  4. I read your blog regularly but i normally do not leave comment so do not feel that you have only 3 readers.

  5. Sadly, most foods are overpriced..

  6. to you it might be a gross ghetto but to a gay korean it seems it has a reputation as a haven. that’s what I’ve heard anyway, I’ve never been to korea..

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