A highway rest area in North America consists of a dirty washroom, and if you’re lucky, some bad coffee. The first time I drove in Europe, and stopped at a rest area, I was blown away by the difference between rest stops in North America and Europe. In Europe, there is usually a proper restaurant serving decent food, and stores to buy local products.
I thought Europe knew how to do rest stops…then I went to Korea.
Koreans take rest area food to a whole new level.
There are stalls selling everything from traditional Korean dishes to street food with not a Western chain in sight.
At my first rest stop, I had a bowl of Ramyun for breakfast at this stall which appears to be from the Shin (Nongshim) company. While the broth was probably not made from scratch, it hit the spot, and was served with fresh banchan.
At the second Korean Rest Stop I visited, on another day, I had this kimchi stew. I could not believe that this was what was being served at a rest stop. It could of been in a Korean family’s home.
…and although not at a rest stop, here is a bulgogi stew I had at the Busan airport, while waiting for my flight to Jeju. So delicious – real food at an airport!
The consistency and availability of high quality food all over Korea was impressive. It appears evident that they take their food as seriously, or more, than Europeans. All this may be changing though. A few people I spoke to mentioned that some children are starting to reject kimchi and favor western chains/food. If this trend continued, to me, it would be a very sad thing to see.