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Homemade Hamburgers in Ok-Dong

Words and Images by Jack Glowacki

I have been living in South Korea for over 15 years now, Ulsan, Busan, Masan, Gyeongju and back in Ulsan since 2011. In that time I have seen a number of fabulous restaurants, which cater to the expat community providing comfort food, disappear without a trace. It’s like losing a good friend, a good friend who knew how to cook well.

I spent the past 3 years living in Okdong, Ulsan, and if you are still unfamiliar with the city’s geography, Okdong is that place near the main entrance to the Ulsan Grand Park, in the vicinity of the Grand Park swimming pool.

Non-Korean comfort foods are relatively hard to come by around this neighborhood, as the place is claimed to be the city’s educational hub, and students from all over the city flock here to attend the staggering plethora of Hagwons. Most of the students, either run a budget or are fed by their parents, and frequent places such as the relatively inexpensive Kimbab diner, or the more upscale Raracost. Either option is great and offers good bites, but in order to find a tasty piece of grilled beef to sink your teeth into, one needs to either visit Guyeong-li, or venture out to either one of Ulsan’s downtown areas.

Okdong has been burger poor for a long time now, as I do not consider the presently available options as viable alternatives to the goodness of a well-made hamburger. The Hang Loose Hamburger place is new, and has been around only for 3 months, but my hope is that by writing this article, and providing its reader with a vivid visual presentation of the beauty that is this place, Hang Loose Hamburgers will become a permanent in this neighborhood.

The small restaurant is located in a startup incubator place of sorts. It is a very inconspicuous place and most passing it will be unaware of its existence, while inside hide the jewels of newly emerging startups. Tailors and fashion designers, fragrance and soap makers, artists and calligraphy teachers and of course the Hang Loose Hamburgers.

I found this place as per recommendation and this is my attempt at helping this small establishment to make some headwind and keep it going. The Hang Loose Burgers is the only Handmade Hamburger place here in Okdong, and while there are a few good hamburger places across the city, this is the only one that is located in Okdong.

The prices, while a bit on the higher side, are justified by the deliciousness of the event and the fact that the 100% beef patties as well as the hamburger buns are all home made by the owner. Unlike the competition across the street, comprised of the usual suspects McDonalds and Loteria, who get their ingredients from some factory that processes left over meat, yeah I don’t like the two mentioned above, the owner of the Hang Loose Hamburger, Mr. Kim Dong Hwa, puts love into his food.

If you’re in Okdong and crave a tasty burger meal then look no more. This is the place for you. Visit him even if you’re not living in Okdong. Help this startup sustain its presence here and continue to provide deliciousness (never mind that this isn’t a real word), to all those who appreciate a bite of a well-made hamburger, and once you make your way here, I strongly recommend the Double Cheese Burger, as that puppy will have you licking your fingers up and down and wishing for more.

Take a look at the video for the vivid visual’s I mentioned earlier and judge for yourself. The place has it all, the tunes the food, and a young owner who is willing to engage in conversation and will be thrilled to have more people visit.

Since you’ve made it to the end of this article, please make sure to subscribe to the Living Korea youtube channel. If you know of any other gems like this one, that need more exposure within the Expat community, then please let me know and I shall do my best to bring more awareness to their existence.

Jack is a guest writer, long-time expat and the owner of Shane Schools in Ulsan. He is also the brains and face behind the popular Youtube Channel Living Korea 

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