I enjoy a good burrito as much as the next girl, so when I heard about a new Chipotle style knock off in Gangnam that offered up a very large burrito for around 7,000 won I was very keen to give it a try. Being English I don’t have much experience with Chipotle, I have never been on my handful of trips to the States, however I have heard numerous American friends sing its praises, and write facebook statuses wishing thy could get their hands on some in Seoul. I’m usually quite a slovenly creature, so heading across town to Gangnam for a burrito when I could easily get one in Itaewon was not a welcome prospect but I have a very good friend who lives locally who was also dying to try it so I figured I would suck it up and make the journey.
The restaurant has a cafeteria style, with a made to order kitchen and counter. You wait in line (avoid lunchtime like the plague) decide what you want, have it made in front of you, then pay for it. It’s kind of a level up from fast food, and reminded me a lot of Halal Guys & Shake Shack. There are four options at the moment: burrito, burrito bowl, taco, and a salad. You then choose your meat which determines the price (chicken 6,900, chorizo 8,400, carnitas 8,400, al pastor 8,400, veggie 9,000, steak 9,900) . You can then add extras like guacamole (3,000). Unfortunately they were out of guacamole when we went, much to my chagrin. Despite having a mountain of avocados, they were apparently all unripe.
The item I was most excited about trying was the Chicken Burrito (6,900). I really liked the fact that you can tailor your burrito to your own tastes. There are several choices to make: brown or white rice, pinto or black beans, tomato or corn salsa, and green or hot chili sauce. You are then able to add your extras such as fajita veggies, lettuce, and cheese. My greed set in so I just had everything on mine which was not a bad thing. I rather enjoyed this burrito, it had a good mix of flavours and was very filling. Truly unbeatable for the price, and a big step up from the likes of Taco Bell, who have recently incurred my wrath after they stopped selling guacamole and are now dead to me.
Being the greedy sod that I am, I also ordered a set of the Carnitas Tacos (8,400 for 3). When making the carnitas tacos I got carried away and added all the ingredients without thinking. In retrospect I would have done without the the corn and lettuce. I had to take the latter off so I could get a decent picture but if you are a big eater it is nice you are able to have so many different ingredients. The carnitas meat had a decent flavour, I didn’t think it was as good as some of the Mexican places in town though and it was a bit more expensive than the chicken. My American friend decided to go for the Chicken Salad (6,900). I thought this to be very hearty as salads go, and you taste more of the flavour of the marinated chicken without the other ingredients masking it. She enjoyed her salad so much, she got a burrito to take home too, and has been back several times since with her hubby.
Overall I went in with no expexctations other than to eat a cheap burrito and check out a place that would appeal to my American readers. If you are fan of Chipotle at home, I’m sure you will be really into this place. I didn’t have anything to compare it it, but my friends that have been say it is almost exactly the same. While I thought the chicken dishes to be excellent value, the other meats weren’t as cheap so I personally wouldn’t travel out of my way again for it. However if I was passing through Gangnam I would definitely stop by.
Cuchara Mexican Eatery is located at 11 Seochodae-ro, 74 gil , Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam Station (line 2) and come out of exit 8. This leads straight into the Samsung building. Go up the flight of escalator stairs, and walk straight you will see Cuchara Mexican Eatery just on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-525-2155 or check out their facebook page.