▲ Gecko’s in Seogwipo City offers a taste of home for hungry or thirsty foreign residents and visitors. Photos Yasmin Aboelsaud
Jeju is an island full of fresh, home-grown foods. From seafood to chicken, Korean dishes are spicy, tasty and part of the joy of being on the island. But let’s face it, some days, we desire change. And on a particularly warm Sunday afternoon, when I was feeling a little homesick for a taste of Canada, four Canadian friends and I took a road trip from Jeju City to Jungmun, Seogwipo. Our destination was none other than the foreigner favorite, Gecko’s.
Although from afar the building with the “Gecko’s Korea: Bar & Restaurant” sign may look like a three-story office building with its glass exterior, a large patio on the first level is the first indi-cator of the restaurant’s pub environ-ment. Inside, wood floors, a large bar area, a pool table and dart boards give off the welcoming pub feeling that I had been missing. We sat on comfort-able cushioned chairs, resembling those found in a dining room, and the large windows allowed the afternoon sun to shine through onto us.
The restaurant, which is known as Island Gecko’s, is part of a small chain, and opened on Jeju three years ago. Gecko’s popularity reaches far, as my friends from the mainland sometimes come down to Jeju just for a visit to Jungmun and Gecko’s. Its menu is diverse, and the bar offers a large assortment of alcoholic beverages.
We decided to share our meals so chose from different parts of the menu. A 11,500 won chicken Caesar salad came from the starters menu, a schnitzel (14,500 won) and fried noodles (12,500 won) from the entrees section and, finally, a cheeseburger (10,500 won) from the on the bun section. To quench our thirst, we ordered cocktails and an Erdinger beer. The cocktails were 7,000 won each, while beers ranged from 5,500 won for a San Miguel to 8,000 won for draught Guinness. Other options include Sangria using white or red wine for 7,000 won a glass or 28,000 for a pitcher. The restaurant, which is usually packed with foreigners on weekends, was fairly quiet, so we played pool as we waited for our meals.
The chicken Caesar salad was just what I needed _ the lettuce was fresh and there was the right amount of dressing and parmesan cheese on it. The grilled chicken was juicy and well seasoned. The combination was a refreshing delight for the warm winter day. I wanted to eat it all, but we said we’d share our meals, so I kept my promise and moved on to the burger. The burger is a popular choice at Gecko’s, especially during lunch as it is part of the lunch specials. These are served between 12 noon and 3 p.m. and include coffee, tea or a soft drink, as well as a dessert. The beef patty was well done, but retained its flavor. I seasoned my share with extra mayon-naise and ketchup, and enjoyed the crunchy French fries. The fried noodle dish was a pleasant surprise. I would have never personally ordered the dish _ considering what an amazing range of “pub food” the bar offers _ but was glad that I tried it. The noodles weren’t terribly spicy, and the amount of meat and bok choy included made for a great dish with an interesting texture of both crunchy and soft. The breaded and deep-fried pork schnitzel, served with fries, was devoured by my friends, especially Kelly, a German-Canadian. “The schnitzel is very authentic,” she said. “It’s a little taste of home.”
Due to its popularity as a bar, Gecko’s offers a free van service on Fridays and Saturdays dropping off patrons at City Hall and Shin Jeju in Jeju City and in Seogwipo City. The van leaves for Jeju City from Gecko’s at midnight, and to Seogwipo at 1:10 a.m. Notify the bartender or server in advance that you will need the service.
Gecko’s Korea 2156-3 Saekdal Dong, Seogwipo Tel: 064-739-0845 Every day, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
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