|The Good||+ Many locations|
+ Open 24/7
+ Variety of Korean foods
|The Bad||- Relatively low quality|
- No drinking
Best for: Quick solo meals, starvation prevention. not much else
However, compared to Korean food elsewhere, your order at Orange will likely be the bottom of the food-quality barrel, a barrel overflowing with better options. I'd steer clear of anything Orange even on the cheapest of dates. Nonetheless, these franchises are certainly convenient for a quick meal. And without the 2-serving minimum of most Korean restaurants, Orange Kimbaps will feed a hungry lone-wolf. Furthermore, Orange may be an easy way for noobies to sample some Korean cuisine. So let's take a look at what they offer.
From Orange to Orange, menus vary in layout and exact content. But usually the types of food are the same. Here is an example menu, numbered and translated below.
Flour-based Snack Menu
|오뎅탕 (fish cake soup)|
|스페셜 떡볶이 ("Special" rice cake in spicy sauce)|
...볶이 (something in a thick spicy sauce)
...돈까스 (meat cutlets)
...국수 (also noodles)
...우동 (thick noodles)
...덥밥 (something "on top of rice").
Soups end in 찌개 (thick spicy and salty soup), 국 or 탕.
Here's another Orange Kimbap menu. Practice mentally simplifying the menu by identifying the different groups.
|From a 김밥나라, also near 월천역 (Wolchon Station).|
|Items written vertically, from a 김밥나라 in 효목 (Hyo-mok)|
I can recommend a few of my go to dishes. I'd also recommend you go to them elsewhere for higher quality versions.
|Oranges' signature constructs. Materials include strips of radish, spinach, carrots and fake egg, fish-cake and ham rolled up with rice in a sheet of 김 (kim), which is seaweed. Usually mass-produced at a kimbap assembly-line up front, these are Oranges' quickest and cheapest path to a full stomach. Don't go mistaking them for sushi rolls, however; kimbaps are bland and sauceless. For flavor apply a coating of 간장 (soy sauce) or a layer of 김치 (kimchi). Or for nearly double the price you can support your central column with 치즈 (cheese), 참치 (tuna) or 소고기 (beef). |
Better place: Reverse engineer one and draw up more delicious blueprints for home. You can pick up one of those roller devices and ingredients of your choice at Homeplus. Or try some delicious spicy ones at your nearest Babwich.
Kimbap's fat, red-headed uncle. This vegetarian alternative is perhaps Oranges' second fastest meal. It involves dumping rice and an assortment of veggies into a bowl, flopping a crusty fried egg on top, and smearing in some 고추장 (pepper paste) and sesame. Add a splash of soup for that extra shine. They are quite filling, but only on so many occasions before you get sick of them.
|치즈 돈까스 (chee-juh don-kka-suh)|
A solid choice (by Orange standards) for those in a carnivorous mood. These deep fried pork cutlets takes a bit longer to prepare, but are worth the wait. Donkas are often overloaded with ketchup and mayo in addition to the pool of mystery brown sauce (where do they use the bathroom I wonder?). Order the 치즈 (cheese) version for an extra ₩500. It can be quite tasty... for those of us shameless souls who'll devour a plate of greasy slop.
Better place: Try spicy donkas near Hyundai Department store, downtown. For the fiscally responsible I once again recommend eating at home. Packs of 10 frozen donkas at a grocery store cost the same as 1 at an Orange restaurant.
제육 덮밥 (jae-yook dap-bap)
A meaty alternative to donkas, this spicy pork "on top of rice" makes a satisfactory meal. For the non-spicy version, order 불고기 닾밥 (bulgogi dap-bap).
Better place: There are restaurants that specialize in this dish, although I've never been to one. So let's find one together. First, let's go to Korea's premier search engine, Naver, and type in "Daegu food name popular place," which in our case, in Korean, looks like: "대구 제육볶음 맛집." [While typing in 제육, the more common suffix of 볶음 came up]. On the resulting page, either expand the map, or open one blog link or another.
|군만두 (kune mandu)|
|Fried dumplings are another easy choice. What they lack in nutrients they make up for in low cost and speedy preparation. You can't go wrong with flavor either, just dip them in 간장 (soy sauce). Note: they usually aren't served as fancy as pictured here. But even if half soggy and stuck together, they taste just the same.|
Better place: Head down to the southern area of 가창, Daegu's capital of dumplings, especially 왕만두 ("King" dumplings). Or enjoy creating your own; just buy the flat, circular dough-sheets (만두피) at a grocery store, pack them with ingredients of choice, fold them, moisten and crimp-seal the edges, then fry them yourself.
|치즈라면 (chee-juh ramyun)|
|Ramen noodles are another of Orange's cheapest options. They are usually prepared quickly, yet always end up taking longer to eat than expected for some reason. Choose from the usual toppings, such as 치즈 (cheese), 참치 (tuna), 만두 (dumplings) or 떡 (rice cakes). |
Better place: If resorting to a cheap, quick Ramen, might as well grab the cheaper and quicker insta-cups at any convenience store. Or stock up at a grocery store for 1/4 the price and cook at home along with ingredients of your choice.
|된장찌개 (dwen-jang jjigae)|
|Fermented bean-paste soup is my favorite of the jjigae spicy soups for its extra saltiness. It usually contains 두부 (tofu), 고추 (pepper), 파 (spring onion), and 무 (radish). According to tradition, such soups comes with rice in order to form a complete 식사 (meal). |
Better place: Bean-paste jjigae is a free side dish at almost every Korean BBQ joint. However, being free they are usually watered-down or otherwise neglected, making this one of the rare dishes that Orange kimbap may do better. But considering here you have to pay for it, and at non-alcoholic Orange you can't utilize its strength as 안주 (food chaser), I'd prefer it at..... almost every Korean BBQ joint.
The Oranges being so widespread, I believe the ajjumas could make an accurate sample of the the world's ajjuma population. Their attitudes range from stone-cold to super-friendly -- probably depending on how their day (or life) went. Their reactions to seeing a foreigner range from scared confusion to delighted intrigue -- probably depending on your ability to order....
- Follow any request with 주세요 (joo-say-yo), meaning "please."
- If unsure what to order, point to a picture and say 이것 주세요 (ee-guht joo-say-yo), meaning "this please." Just don't expect the result to be as appetizing as pictured.
- They'll wrap up an order to go. Ask for 포장 (po-jang).
- To ask for more (더) of something, for example if that bibimbap is lacking pepper paste (고추장), say 고추장 더 주세요 (go-chu-jang duh joo-say-yo).
|All Oranges are "No smoking," and all Oranges offer water self-service, but only some are "Side-dish refills self-service."|
|Occasionally you'll be surprised with a tasty dish, like this 돈까스김밥 (donkas kimbap) served with mustard.|
See all listed 김밥천구s in Daegu
See all listed 김밥나라s in Daegu
[Note: There are many more names for Orange Kimbap places, but these seem to be the most common.]
*Thanks to the super-friendly ajjumas at the 김밥천국 across from Kyungpook Hospital for setting up the cover photo :)