[I started this post about a month ago! So it’s basically irrelevant now… welcome to my life!]
See also Cheeseburgers not tacos
So it turns out selling burgers on the streets of Seoul is a fucking pain in the ass! The first two weeks of my burger adventure were absolute hell… at the end of my first day of operation I was seriously thinking holy shit what have I gotten myself into. We were cranking out some great burgers when we were able to park, but I learned pretty fast that parking a food truck in any area of Seoul not called Itaewon is nearly impossible.
Instead of bitching about every one of my truck-related ordeals in excruciating detail (and there were many) I’ll just give a quick rundown of some of the major ones over my first few weeks on the job:
- First day: got yelled at by some old hag who owns a bread store in the building that we parked in front of… even though her storefront was at least 100 yards away from us, on the other side of the damn building
- Second day: got permission to sell at lunchtime next to a hotel, permission revoked 3 days later for no apparent reason
- Sold burgers at night in Kangnam near Ben’s apartment (again, not in front of any restaurants or burger joints), was great until our third day there when some asshole called the cops on us twice and got us banned from selling anywhere in Kangnam ever again
- Parked in Apgujeong, right after setting up we were told we’d have to leave 15 minutes later
(btw I’m writing this post on the truck and just now some fat Korean guy appeared out of nowhere, leaned over like he was about to puke all over my grill, then fell sideways onto the sidewalk where he’s currently blowing chunks)
So eventually I figured out that Itaewon is the only place I can park this truck. (For those not in the know, Itaewon is Foreigner Central, as in the streets are filled with white people)
So as it turns out, Itaewon seems to be the only place where food trucks are tolerated… there are food tents all over Seoul, but if you’ve got wheels under you then you’re more or less fucked unless you’re in Itaewon where the cops tolerate our presence and illegal parking from about 9 pm to 6 am.
And that’s why I’m back on the taco wagon! Selling burgers to Korean people is genius, but in Itaewon it’s just kinda stupid since there are 500 bars selling burgers, not to mention McDonald’s, Burger King, Kraze Burger, and another burger truck that comes out on the weekends, and all this is happening on one stretch of road about 1/2 mile long.
So far it’s still pretty tough because it’s like fucking antarctica out here (especially during the night shift which is when I operate now), but when we do get customers the reception is always pretty good since non-Koreanized Mexican food is hard to come by in this town. Right now the menu is chicken tacos, steak tacos, french fries, and nacho cheese fries, and within the next month or so I’ll be concocting something to compete directly with all these assholes selling “kebabs” which are basically a skinny Middle Eastern version of a burrito.