It’s safe to say that getting a decent sandwich in Korea is a difficult task. Unless you head into the foreigner zone that is Itaewon there aren’t a lot of options that aren’t sub-par American chains like Subway or Quizno’s. Knowing a decent deli has opened up outside of Seoul is an amazing thought.
So basically, I’ve found my new food crutch. At the basement level of the Incheon Bus Terminal Shinsegae Department Store a brand-new Suji’s Deli branch has opened up. What’s Suji’s you ask? Well, Suji’s Deli is a small chain of New York Deli-style restaurants in Seoul (and Tokyo). And for some reason it has made its way into the lowly suburb of Incheon. I’m not 100 percent sure when this branch opened, but I did notice the Suji’s website still has a pop-up with an opening announcement, so it’s likely still new.
The menu isn’t as large as some of the full-fledged restaurant branches like the ones in Itaewon and Bundang (which serves pastas, jambalaya, steak and corned beef & hash), but the Incheon store has more than enough to fill anyone’s deli pangs.
The Incheon Suji’s appears to specialize mostly in brunch (including breakfast burritos!), salads and deli sandwiches (like turkey club, reuben, and pastrami). The average meal will cost around 13,000 won with a drink (or about 9,000 won for a sandwich; about 12,000 for a meal-sized salad). It’s pricey compared to your average Korean meal, but it’s not bad for a foreign dish, especially given its quality.
While most items on the brunch menu are things I can make at my apartment (like omelets, pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc.), I can’t find the good bread and lunch meat Suji’s has. Turkey, for most part, is near impossible to find in Korea. In fact, when I was teaching a food lesson a few weeks ago not one of my students could even identify a turkey. It just doesn’t exist here, much like persimmon in the US.
So far I’ve only eaten the turkey club, Reuben and some chili cheese fries. All I can say is that its all very, very good. All the deli sandwiches come with two slices of dill pickles, potato salad and coleslaw. Ever since grade school I’ve had an aversion to coleslaw, but when it’s made right I catch myself eating it. My only complaint is that there isn’t enough potato salad. Potatoes are some of the cheapest produce grown in Korea. Then again, I do have a soft spot for the sidedish.
The taste of the dishes is very close to home. Many restaurants in Korea that try to introduce a new dish to Koreans usually skip on the authenticity, but Suji’s sticks to it. According to a 2007 New York Times profile of the chain and its owner, Park Su-ji, it’s taken quite a bit for Koreans to adapt to the idea of brunch, let alone some of the dishes that accompany it.
For more information about the dishes at Suji’s, head over to their site, Sujis.net. Other locations include COEX and Apgujeong.
Incheon Bus Terminal Station is about six stops south of Bupyeong Station on Incheon Subway Line 1. The station has an exit that feeds right into Shinsegae. The branch is on the right side of the food court area across from the Burger King and next to the Swatch kiosk. A map of the station can be found after the jump:
John is a Technical Success Manager at WP Engine. Before moving to Austin, John lived in South Korea and China for the better part of four years. His life as an amateur Chinese web censorship expert, traveler, map nerd and beer geek can be found on this site.