Taco Bell coming to Korea

Taco Bell in Itaewon is now open. Find the menu and more information here.

I saw this giant advertisement recently while shopping in Itaewon. Have no fear, Taco Bell is here.

Mediocre, Americanized fast Mexican food may seem like a silly thing to get excited about. But over the years, Taco Bell has played back drop to more recurring glory days conversations than you might think. The quality of dining might not be top notch, but the memories are.

During my high school football years, it was where my teammates and I wrapped up daily doubles on hot August summer nights by devouring stupid amounts of food. We’d order hard and soft tacos, bean burritos, chililtos, beef meximelts and mountain dew off the the .59, .79, .99 menu. The tray of food piled high in front of us was absolutely ridiculous. It’s crazy how much we could eat when we were young, in shape, and pushing the limits by putting our bodies through two rigorous football practices in one day.

Two other high school Taco Bell encounters stand out, among the typical late night drive thru trouble making. The first was a completely unnecessary fender bender, no doubt the result of legally allowing irresponsible kids to drive at the age of 16. So the story goes, DJ Quick was blasting through two, 15 inch subwoofers, housed in a homemade speaker box in the back the back of my friend’s Ford Explorer. I was sitting shot gun. The driver was hawking his chewing tobacco in the center console because he didn’t have a spitter handy. I screamed, “Dude, Taco Bell!”, and pointed at the drive thru on our left. The additional lane of traffic flowing in the same direction was not the only thing that stood between our rig and tacos. Unfortunately, an unsuspecting minivan was in that lane, hanging out in our blind spot. Distracted by the craziness inside the vehicle, the driver made the negligent turn across another lane of traffic and we took the van out. Nobody was injured by the accident or the tongue lashing delivered by one livid soccer mom.

The next occurred in the late night drive thru line. An uber confident, borderline crazy friend of mine, decided to hang out the window and smack talk some passers by. Of course they hollered back, and when they did, my buddy snapped. Before any of us had a chance to react, he was out of the vehicle and right up in their grills. He singled one out, ripped dude’s shirt up over his head, hockey fighter style, and was pummeling dude up and down. The victim’s friends took a step back and watched in amazement, much like we did from inside the vehicle. Conventional wisdom would suggest this as a good time to leave the scene. Not us. The car held its valuable position in the drive thru line, and post beat down, our intelligence lacking amigo jumped back in. Within a few minutes we were scarfing burritos between laughs on the way back home.

College was the era of Taco Bell customization. Everybody put their personal touch into the food order. Bean burrito, no onions, and green sauce substituted for the red sauce. Mexican pizza, no tomatoes, extra green onions. I had a friend who would empty the contents of a bean burrito into a soft taco, eat the beany taco, and dip the mostly empty burrito tortilla in a cup of nacho cheese sauce.

I did a semester abroad in Aarhus, Denmark towards the end of my run at Oregon State University. Because you couldn’t find Mexican food in Aarhus, and we were growing tired of the late night kebab and greasy Euro burger, Taco Bell was a frequent topic of discussion among the American students in my program for pretty much the entire 5 months I was living overseas. Consequently, the first thing we did after landing in Seattle, before boarding the final puddle jumper to Portland… was hit up the Taco Bell in the airport. Every one of us ended up in the bathroom before boarding that final flight, as our bodies rejected such a shock to the system.

For all of these reasons, it’s OK to be excited that Taco Bell will soon be in Itaewon. 10 Magazine reports that it will be opening up sometime in May. Now that I’m in my older, wiser years, I don’t expect to be sharing new absurd stories about late night havoc raising Taco Bell debacles any time soon. But I guarantee I’ll be stopping in for some low grade, fast Mexi grit. Similar to sights and smells, certain tastes bring all the memories back.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com


~ by ripcitytoseoul on March 16, 2010.

7 Responses to “Taco Bell coming to Korea”

  1. don’t forget about the dog ya hit Dizzle. Dude! You ran over my dog! Put him out of his misery, run him over again to finish him!
    Then scarf the bell while examining the bumper back at the house.

  2. How could I forget the dog incident? I was driving us back to your house after a Taco Bell run. The girls were sitting in the back, holding the food. We saw that dog off in the distance, in the street, running towards us. As we got closer, it drifted close and closer in to our lane of traffic. As we passed the dog moving in opposite directions, I swear it dove right under my Jeep. We weren’t even speeding.

    The noise was horrible, from the dog as well as the girls in the back. The owner came out fired up, wearing a robe, and told us to finish the job, run the dog over AGAIN. WFT? A little freaked out, we drove off, leaving them in the rear view. Back at your house, we inspected the bumper and under carriage, all while chowing down on a Mexican pizza.


  3. Well, at least they weren’t using the old Taco Bell ads from the US many years ago, “Make a run for the Border!”

    I can just imagine the DMZ suddenly getting VERY popular… 🙂

  4. You wrote: “I had a friend who would empty the contents of a bean burrito into a soft taco, eat the beany taco, and dip the mostly empty burrito tortilla in a cup of nacho cheese sauce.”

    Actually, you taught me to do this when I was 14 or 15, in the old apartment mom and I lived in after we sold the house. It’s the first thing I thought of when I started reading this. I always felt pretty cool copying you, even if the whole nacho cheese thing wasn’t especially appetizing.

    • Not appetizing is exactly right, but I’d crush it right now if I had the chance…. and soon I will

  5. […] Leading up to the opening of Taco Bell in Seoul, I previously wrote about the personal significance of this monumental occasion by sharing some fond memories here. […]

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