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Last week I was invited to try new Hawaiian restaurant  Gusto Loco Moco in Hongdae. When you walk through the doors you can’t help but have a smile upon your face. The bright and colorful restaurant is just what you need to put some sunshine into your life on a cold and dark evening.

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With a surfboard, flowers, and bright lights inside it’s almost as though you are walking in to a Hawaiian paradise, albeit a very small one. This cozy and compact restaurant has room for 5 to sit and about the same to stand, but you can also get food to take away if you are a bit on the claustrophobic side.

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The All Bus Tea (5,000) is a spiked plantation ice tea and was just the ticket to get things started. Accented with a cute umbrella, this tasty drunken tea got me right in the tropical spirit.

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Since I’ve never eaten Hawaiian food in my life before (unless you count Aloha Table) I had to ask the  friendly owners what they recommended, and we were informed that the Aloha Moco (6,700) was a real taste of Hawaiian food.  I had no idea what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. You can choose between beef or pork, but we opted for the pork. It was soft and tender, and encased in a rich gravy. Served over rice, and topped with a perfectly cooked fried egg sunny side up, and accompanied by salsa, pineapple, and macaroni. At only 6,500 it was very cheap and well worth the price. A coconut cream dessert was in the middle to finish the meal. It had the scrumptious taste of coconut without the stringy texture which I particularly loath.

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We also got the Wiki Wiki Burger (6,5000) with Garlic Fries (2,500). A handmade beef patty, topped with salad and a special sauce, in a nice soft bun. As you can see the burger held up very well and didn’t fall apart as far too many do these days. The patty was well seasoned and the special sauce sweet and slightly tangy. An excellent choice at only 6,500. You’d be hard pushed to find a burger nearby that is better value for money. We got ours with a side of garlic fries. Standard crinkle fries you find in most places with their own special seasoning. Fine, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think I’d try the fries with gravy and cheese next time.

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Our visit was short and sweet, but I’d certainly pay another visit to Gusto Loco Moco. It’s not gourmet cuisine but at those prices you wouldn’t expect it to be. It’s just good wholesome food for those who are looking to try something a bit different or Hawaiian natives looking for a taste of home. There are a variety of other dishes on the menu I’d be keen to try  like the pulled pork sandwich and the spicy garlic shrimp. They also have spam musabi on the menu for those that like it, though personally spam scares the bejesus out of me so I’ll be skipping that one, even if it is only 2,000. They also have imported Hawaiian beers for a full authentic Aloha experience.

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Gusto Moco Loco is located at 342-16 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there go to Hongik University Station (Exit 9). Take a left immediately and then walk straight. Keep going straight on that road and just follow it round. Go through the junction and then follow the road around to the right. Take your second left off this road and Gusto Loco Moco is on your right, in the old Gusto Taco location. For more information call 02-3142-8226 or check out their facebook page.

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