I wrote another blog about road side rests in Korea, but the one we happened into that time wasn’t quite as typical as this one, so I decided to take pictures and tell you about this one. To begin with, road side rest in Korea is hyugeso. As you are driving down the hiway in Korea, if you see a sign saying hyugeso, here are the basic things you will find:
Like roadside rests in America, of course, there will be a gas station and bathrooms, but there is more to a roadside rest than that in Korea. The main part of the hyugeso is a large food court and a convenience store that sells drinks and snacks like potato chips, ice cream, cookies, and candy bars with other kinds of shops too like souvenir shops and shops that sell traditional Korean snacks. In this hyugeso, I even spotted a computer where children can play games while they wait for their parents to be ready to drive again. I went to one once where they had massage chairs for the drivers to sit in and relax until they decided to drive again.
Gift boxes with natural snacks for travelers to take to their friends back home.
The restaurants in this hyugeso are typical of restaurants in roadside rests in Korea. There is a Lotteria, Korea’s McDonalds, in this one, but there is not always a Lotteria, but some sort of restaurant that represents western style food. Often, there is a hot dog restaurant in many of the roadside rests. There is a coffee shop in this one, and there are always coffee shops. Sometimes there are Baskin Robbins at a hyugeso too. There are many Korean restaurants which are the main part of the food court.
The restrooms are always large and very modern at the hyugeso. My daughter took pictures in the restroom for you because she always finds Korean ways funny and interesting. In this ladies room, they not only have a vending machine for lady products, but they also sell tooth brushes. Koreans brush their teeth more than anyone else in the world. When I was in school in America, the only time I ever saw anyone brushing their teeth in a public bathroom was when they had braces and their dentist had instructed them to brush often. You can also find toothbrushes in some airplanes, but here, it is different. At times, I went into the restroom at the university, and would find several girls in there brushing their teeth. There were even signs in this roadside rest bathroom encouraging everyone to brush their teeth.
When we travel in the country in Korea, there are small restaurants along the way. The Koreans enjoy those restaurants, but we usually have a hard time with them. They have Korean mother’s home cooking, and usually, what they serve there is so peppered down with chili spice that Americans have a hard time with it. If you are close to the beach, you will also find restaurants with raw fish. In some, you can go in and chose your live fish out of a tank, and they take it out, kill it, and give it to you to eat. When we go to the hyugeso when we travel, we are guaranteed to be able to find something palatable to a foreigner. It may not be our favorite, but it is something we can eat. The food at these places is not completely peppered down with chili spice, and they don’t serve raw fish.
My daughter and I ordered the same thing. We both got tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is a pork cutlett with rice, yellow pickles, soup, and kimchee on the side. Tonkatsu is originally Japanese. “Katsu” means friend pork in Japanese. My son in law ordered the buckwheat noodle soup with ice in it. He called it soba, and soba just means long noodles. There was so much on my plate I couldn’t finish it all. Koreans eat much more than people realize. They may be small, but they have big appetites. The first year I came to Korea, I always ate the kimchee not matter how spicy it was because I knew it was important to my Korean friends to try their food, but I had a problem. The chili spice did something strange to my throat, and every time I ate kimchee, I began coughing. I had to work at making the cough go away, and my Korean friends took note of me always coughing so much when I ate kimchee and asked me to stop eating it. I stopped without hesitation, and I still don’t eat kimchee. The yellow pickles they serve on the side of tonkatsu are pickles made from big white radishes, and they are very good. I always eat the yellow pickles.
After lunch, we got back on the road and headed for home. This is a quick look for you of an average Korean hyugeso.