Move over burgers, there’s a new dish in town

In an ever-changing food world, Korea’s sandwich market has been relatively slow to grow, especially compared to its close cousin, the burger.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, the local hamburger market recorded 2.8 trillion won ($2.27 million) in 2018, while the local sandwich market was around 550 billion won last year. same year.

The fastest growing type of sandwich in the market is the convenience store type, with a market share of 19.4%. Other common places to sell sandwiches are franchises like Subway and Starbucks, which tend to price their options under 8,000 won.

Some local delis are working to improve the public’s perception of the dish through upscale “American-style” sandwiches with homemade touches and fresh ingredients.

The Korea JoongAng Daily visited three sandwich restaurants that claim to sell high-end New York-style sandwiches in Seoul.


Lenwich Sandwich at Lenwich in Yeouido, Western Seoul [LEE JIAN]

With 20 stores in the United States, Lenwich opened its first overseas branch in Korea last week.

Its restaurant in Yeouido, in western Seoul, offers the same offerings as its branches in the United States.

According to Lenwich Group founder and chairman Lenny Chu, the restaurant takes great pride in its fresh ingredients and on-site cooking process.

The ingredients for the hot sandwiches are cooked to order on a flat grill in the restaurant’s open kitchen.

The signature Lenwich sandwich (13,500 won) features thin pieces of pastrami, corned beef, melted Swiss cheese and sauerkraut between chunks of brown ciabatta.

Her homemade chimichurri sauce and Cuban mojo sauce help spice things up halfway through snacking on a pretty heavy sub.

Although the restaurant initially advertised its brand as a “customizable” sandwich shop, the unexpectedly long lines from day one appear to have made it difficult to pull off the plan. However, customers can request take-out of particular ingredients such as cilantro when ordering.

Wheat & Meat

Pastrami Queens Sandwich at Wheat and Meat in Gangnam District, South Seoul [LEE JIAN]

Pastrami Queens Sandwich at Wheat and Meat in Gangnam District, South Seoul [LEE JIAN]

“Feel the real America,” read the caption of Wheat & Meat’s Instagram posts.

Also pushing the image of an authentic American sandwich, Wheat & Meat opened in late January this year in the Gangnam district, south of Seoul.

With loaves of bread and desserts lined up along the counter for sale, the restaurant looks like a real delicatessen.

Next to the counter is an open kitchen where sandwiches are made to order.

Its signature menu, the Pastrami Queens sandwich, is priced at 14,000 won. Yet, even on a Monday before noon, the storefront was already lined with people waiting for dinner as delivery people drove in and out of the store dragging orders of packaged sandwiches on their motorbikes. Inside, on almost every table in the restaurant, was a very full sub of shiny red pastrami.

The crowds may be a result of the lingering opening frenzy, but the deli is striving to gain a permanent place among locals through artisanal menus that are all “crafted from scratch.”

According to Wheat & Meat, the deli smokes and brines its pastrami for about 100 hours.

He also bakes his fresh sourdough bread and baguettes for his sandwiches at the store every morning.

Goatt Deli

Old-fashioned pastrami sandwich at Goatt Deli in the Gangnam district, south of Seoul [LEE JIAN]

Old-fashioned pastrami sandwich at Goatt Deli in the Gangnam district, south of Seoul [LEE JIAN]

Already with two locations in Seoul, Goatt Deli is a popular brunch cafe among locals. The store’s second location in Seoul’s southern Gangnam District is less crowded and offers a more relaxed atmosphere than its first store in central Seoul’s Jongno District, where dining lines are high. often unavoidable.

The deli uses homemade ham and pastrami for its signature Jambon-Buerre (9,000 won) and Old-school Pastrami Sandwich (9,000 won) sandwiches. He also makes his own bread and pickles.

Goatt Deli’s pastrami sandwich uses thicker slices of smoked pastrami compared to sandwiches at other delis. The meat is layered between two pieces of lightly toasted bread. The saltiness of the meat is counterbalanced by a tangy mustard seed sauce, dill pickle, mayonnaise and dill.

But what was disappointing about this submarine was its construction. It got quite messy after just a few bites as thick chunks of pastrami fell out of the sub and sauces squirted out of the large holes in the bread.

Although a slightly chaotic experience, the sub still managed to lick your fingers at a more affordable price than other high-end sandwich restaurants.

BY LEE JIAN [[email protected]]