Mr. Unclebig — Pride of South Korea

I meant to write this blog yesterday, but Chang-ki dropped by the DnD while I was uploading the pictures, and we ended up discussing a Sunday meetup. Then he noticed some guy sitting a couple tables away had an iPad, which is pretty intriguing since they won’t come out in Korea for three or four more months at least. He just went right on over and asked the guy if he could take a look, and we spent maybe half an hour dicking around the guy’s iPad. True, it does look and function a lot like a really big iPhone, but it is pretty nifty, too. I mean, not $600 worth of nifty, but I’d mess around with someone else’s if it was laying around.

Anyway, I had decided a couple days in advance that Tuesday I’d be taking a bike ride to Mr. Unclebig’s and taking pictures for the blog. You’ll understand when you see the burger, but I justified the trip by biking there. I could’ve easily ridden the bus, but riding a bike around here is fun, when it’s not terrifying. The ride there is almost completely uphill the entire time, so by the time I got there I was sweating pretty badly.

On the way, though, there were some interesting things. First, I found an intersection with no crosswalk, which is pretty rare in South Korea. I needed to cross too, since it was at the bottom of one of the few downhill sections of the trip, and I wasn’t in the mood for backtracking up a long slope. It was a six lane road, and had a grass median about half a block down the street, so I waited for a break in traffic, then pedaled like hell to the median, got another break, and finally made it back onto the sidewalk. I don’t go out of my way to be dangerous (driving here is bad enough as it is), but I’m also not so wimpy that I’d waste time going out of my way just because something is a little risky.

Then, a little further on the ride, I found this gem:

This felt even more amusing after having recently read this blog: http://jasoninkorea.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/not-the-target-audience/, which has a picture of a James Dean bar. This bar promises The Beatles. Live even! Screw the moon, Area 51, or some underground bunker. I’m sure if you look long enough in South Korea you’ll find a bar that Elvis, Tupac and Biggie will all be at.

This is Mr. Unclebig’s. The first time I saw it, I mistakenly thought it was Mr. Unclebi. Anyway, the picture is bad because of a couple circumstances. I was across the street, and traffic was getting in the way. Plus I could tell the women at the window were staring at me as I took the picture, so I felt really uncomfortable, and didn’t take my time like I should’ve.

Once I got inside, where it was pretty crowded, all the Koreans gave me almost shocked looks. They couldn’t believe an American was in Mr. Unclebig’s apparently. The place is run by a middle-aged guy, and sometimes his kid is there to help out. I wanted to take a picture of them in their paper hats, which just looked like big coffee filters sitting on top of their heads, but I was too shy. I just ordered and waited for my food. It always takes awhile there. There’s generally a couple people in there, plus there’s only one guy cooking everything, so it’s not super fast service, but it’s worth the wait.

After perhaps 20 minutes of waiting, this parked itself in front of me:

Actually, the burger came first, but I exercised more will power than you can imagine to wait for the fries for this picture and the sake of completeness.

These fries are among the best I’ve ever had. Actually, the first time I went they were even better. They looked more like tempura battered than what fries normally are. They’re still expertly fried and seasoned though. Plus it comes with combination ketchup and mayonnaise with a little something else in the mayo, which is fantastic.

On to the main attraction:

Oh my god, look at that fucking burger. It’s got a veritable cacophony of flavor. I tried to tell what all goes into a Mr. Unclebig’s bulgogibaican chijubeogeo — grilled meat bacon cheese burger — but it’s nearly impossible to tell outside of the obvious from looking at it. It’s got tons of cabbage, tomato, a slice of sweet pickle, bacon, a slice of cheese, the meat patty, and a slice of fried egg on the bottom. The sauces a little harder to figure out. Mayonnaise and ketchup, for sure. Possibly mustard or a barbeque sauce. Still, there’s something I can’t place about it. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. I’d guess crack, but I don’t think they have that here. Like, at all. Anyway, it’s literally the best burger I’ve ever had. America has nothing on Mr. Unclebig. The man can make the hell out of a burger.

In other news, Monday I went to the language group and worked with Chun-hi. She read from a textbook for a conversational English class, and it was all about how dangerous driving in Korea is. Apparently, South Korea has the worst accident rate of any industrialized country. Around 21 people die a day on Korean roads. The article said that Korean people are just much too impatient and reckless, and nothing the cops do gets people to drive more safely. She said everything is pretty true.

I’ve got a lot more work to do now, too. I’ve been going to work at 9 AM every day this week, which blows. I actually haven’t had much down time either. I’ve been pretty busy revising textbooks. Actually, Monday I only taught my first two classes, and Dave covered the rest while I revised textbooks for four hours straight in a room by myself with no music, just staring at a computer screen.

I’ve also got to make new textbooks entirely. The stories are already written, and mostly revised, but there aren’t any exercises or what not. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it won’t be terribly bad. I can just copy and paste an entire book and then spend a couple hours copying and pasting things from the story to replace all the things that don’t fit. Just a huge pain in the ass and a time waster.

Other than that, work isn’t too bad. The kids have actually been pretty well behaved this week, for the most part. Today I made a couple boys from the last class stay late because they ran out early yesterday. Sometimes, I actually let the kids misbehave, just so I have a reason to punish them. Telling them “no” only goes so far. Eventually,you have to let them do something bad and suffer the consequences.

I’m in the DnD and Julia is here, but being super weird. I think she wants to talk to me, but is shy because I look like I’m busy with my buds in and typing super fast. I haven’t seen her much lately, and when I have she hasn’t seemed herself, so I think once this is done I’ll talk to her and see what’s up.

The only other really funny thing just happened a couple minutes ago. There’s one boy who asks me for money after school every time he sees me, and he’s not even a student of mine. Friday he asked for money and said “saranghaeyo! I love you! I’m gay!” I laughed and asked him how he knew that word, but he just laughed and ran. He came into the DnD while I was sitting here and after he got his doughnut he came over and tried to extort money and my notebook away from me (“That is mine! You steal!”) so I just told him “naga! Get out of here, Gay Boy!” I mean, it’s not super tasteful, but he either didn’t care or just didn’t make the connection. Anyway, he didn’t seem offended. His friends were trying to talk to me in Korean, but I said I didn’t understand. I asked him his name, and it’s something like Kim Jon Hyun. He kept trying to correct my pronunciation, but I wasn’t getting it, and I could tell his friend said something like “It’s okay. Not bad for an American.” When I asked if that’s what he said, they just laughed and left. Must not have been far off.

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2 Responses to “Mr. Unclebig — Pride of South Korea”

  1. They have wireless at your local DnD? Fantastic…I don’t think the one’s I know do, but I’ve never tried either…

    I know of one person who did revisions of textbooks–is it challanging? It sounds like a cool job, yet one that takes up lots of time…you work at a hagwon or ps?

    –I was surprised at the fries you got. At this one place–a blog I wrote called At Home–엣홈 Chonnam’s Best Unknown Restaurant (so not trying to advertise!), the fries were only as big as my thumb and you only got four of them with the smallest side of ketchup ever! So, lucky you! How much was it? If you say 7,000 and said it was that good, then it must be.

    Also–I think Lemon Table has pretty good NY burgers, they taste more like home than BK and Mc’Ds.

  2. Revising textbooks isn’t really hard at all. There aren’t really that many mistakes, and the ones there are are really obvious. Most of it is simple preposition mistakes (“in the tree” not “on the tree”, capitalization or minor puncuation errors. It was actually 7,500 won total. 4,500 won for the burger and another 3,000 for the friends, but it’s totally worth it. I’ve never heard of Lemon Table though.

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