Taste of Korea: JJ’s juicy burgers in Pyeongtaek a beefy treat

Taste of Korea: JJ’s juicy burgers in Pyeongtaek a beefy treat

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

When you live overseas, exploring the local food can be fun. But, for those times when you’re craving a taste of home, burgers might come to mind. Outside Camp Humphreys, a diner is serving up the American beef, bacon and breakfast classics you may be craving.

I stumbled across JJ’s American Diner on Facebook and what drew me in was their signature burger – the Monster Burger (KRW 17900 or $15). A thick, all-beef patty piled high with fresh tomato slices, fried pickles, three slices of American cheese and then, three deep-fried mozzarella sticks, between two burger buns, this monster is likely to give you lockjaw. As far as the taste, the cheese sticks overpowered the patty but the generous amount of beef included in this burger was satisfying. The Monster Burger is perfect if you’re not on a diet or worried about clogging your arteries and are looking for something to make your taste buds sing!

Though their Monster Burger was the first thing to catch my eye and stomach, I also sampled their Bacon Deluxe Cheeseburger (KRW 9,900 or about $8.30), a classic burger with the standard toppings, plus a side of crinkle-cut fries. I enjoyed this burger but felt the pickles lacked crunch and tang. Despite that, the beef in the deluxe was juicy, had a decent char and was cooked to the right amount even without telling the kitchen how I like the burger cooked. The bacon wasn’t crisp, which is the way I prefer it, but the kitchen will cook it just the way you like, just make sure to ask when you order. Much like the bacon, the small portion of fries that accompanied my burger were not too crisp, but unlike the bacon, the fries were also not very special. For a beefier burger, I suggest adding an extra patty for 2,000 won.

Beyond burgers, JJ’s American Diner also offers a vast selection of sandwiches, salads and desserts. What’s more, they offer all-day breakfast. Craving steak and eggs? JJ’s has them. Hankerin’ for some chicken and waffles? JJ’s serves this, too, along with pancakes, omelettes and more.

The restaurant itself is worth a visit for the film memorabilia and U.S. street scene photos, alone. They have indoor and outdoor seating perfect for nice al fresco meals. It’s a good place to enjoy holidays and special occasions as it is very roomy and comfortably seats about 100.

JJ’s American Diner is Hwang Jincheol’s third attempt at opening a restaurant. After his first shop opened six years ago and didn’t do so well, Hwang visited the States to learn cooking from his American father-in-law and picked up the burger recipe he now uses at JJ’s. The burger recipe Hwang learned is working, as the Camp Humphries community flocks for more.

Let JJ’s American Diner calm your cravings and let its décor take you back to the diners in the States. They also offer daily specials worth checking out and even give free kid’s meals with an adult entrée purchase every Tuesday. 

Address: 93-4 Anjeongsunhwan-ro 222beon-gil, Paengseong-eup, Pyeongtaek
Hours: Weekday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fri 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sat 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sun 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 
Phone: 031-8094-1337
Online: https://www.facebook.com/jjsdinerkorea/ (Every Tuesday, they offer free kid menu with other adult entrée menu.)

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