BUSAN, South Korea – A Holy Grail of food for Busan expats, fish n’ chips is an often attempted yet rarely well-executed dish. It’s either too much of this or too little of that and most often wholly unsatisfying with either. But there’s hope in the back streets of Seomyeon. The recently-opened Hangover is a British/Irish fusion pub created by the husband and wife team behind the great food served up at the nearby Vito Italian Restaurant.
A self-confessed lover of pubs, Vito has his priorities straight for his latest creation: quality beer and food in the right atmosphere with prices to suit everyone. From the pristine refrigerated kegs and lines to the homemade sauces to the Tetris console in the corner, this new take on an old-school pub is a welcome addition in an area dominated by soulless bars and clubs.
When talking with Vito you’re immediately struck by the passion he puts into his work and the pride he feels for his place. He’s done his research and has adopted the practice of keeping the kegs and lines continuously refrigerated to ensure the beer is as fresh and tasty as possible. Currently they’re serving Paulaner Dunkel (one of only two bars in Busan to do so), Indica I.P.A., Hoegaarden and OB Golden Lager.
If you don’t want to choose there’s the sample paddle: four tap brews served up in perfectly petite 150ml glasses. There’s also the Hangover draft, so-maek (soju+lager) Vito style, imported bottled beer and a wide selection of spirits. Prices range from 3000 to 10,000 won in keeping with Vito’s philosophy of having something for everyone, so whether you’re into quality or a quantity, you’ll be happy.
Served in a basket with crunchy chips and homemade tartar sauce, the fresh cod is coated in a light and crispy batter made with only Paulaner Dunkel and egg whites. These are hands down, swear on a stack of Vegemite, the best fish n’ chips I’ve ever tasted in Korea. As always, Vito uses simple, old-school cooking techniques and the freshest local ingredients to craft his meals, and the results are delicious.
New menu items coming soon, including steak and quesadillas, will complement the hickory smoke injected Beef Fajitas with homemade salsa and the champion fish n’ chips. As with the drinks, no matter your budget or your level of hunger, Hangover offers a range of food at a range of prices, it’s hard to pass up the generous serve of chips at only 3000 won.
The interior bar is decked out with custom wood paneling, plaid cushioned wrap-around bench seating, kitsch curios and chandeliers.
The only thing missing from the old-school pub experience here is the smell of smoke, at least in the main part of the bar. The designated smoking area is a mini open-air beer garden, complete with retractable awning for rainy season and summer days alike. The music is mostly rock, a bit of Queen, a dash of swing, a little 90s action. The table service is great and the attentive staff wear t-shirts emblazoned with Hangover’s slogan: Beer will change the worldâ¦ and those fish n chips might just change your life.
Getting there: Getting to Hangover is fairly easy. Walk out of the Seomyeon station exit 6 and hang a left u-turn back to the main road. Take your first right just past the Kia dealership and follow that road down until it veers left. Hangover is about halfway down the block on the right hand side. Hangover is open Tues-Sun 6pm-2am
For a map and more photos check out their directory page here.
Photos by Alexandra Don