They Got Good Deli in Korea?


"They got good deli in Korea?" the man buying our chair asked me pointing the etz chaim around my neck. I smiled. It was such a New York question. "Nah, I doubt it".

Rye Post, Itaewon Seoul Food

I was right. Despite Wikipedia's claim that most Korean households have a translated Talmud, I have yet to find good deli. Hell, I can't even find a half sour, let alone a full sour PICKLE other than the ones made in my own kitchen. Let's not even talk about the cream cheese filled bagels from Paris Baguette.

But I have finally found some decent sandwiches (even a Pastrami on rye!) at Rye Post, a sandwich shop we've ordered delivery from multiple times but I hadn't gone to until today. While I wrote the other day that the Banh Mi at Rye Post wasn't my favorite, for the most part the sandwiches get the highest praise we give these days - "it doesn't taste like anything we've eaten in the last six months". Which is to say, nothing about it is Koreanized. You don't even get a side dish of kimchi. It's not that we don't like Korean food, it's just that most dishes have a very similar flavor profile and Koreans like their spicy sweet food a little on the sweeter side than we do. It's nice once in a while to get food that doesn't even have a hint of Korean influence.

Lets discuss the things we've tried there so far.

Pastrami on Rye - This is one of those things that's hard to explain my feelings about. Would I eat this pastrami on rye in New York? No, there is definitely better pastrami on rye to be had. Will I probably eat it again in Korea? Yes. This is not the best pastrami and rye I've ever had but it's not bad and there's lots of mustard and an actual not sweet pickle spear. By our lowered Korean standards, this is a solid sandwich.

Chicken Club+ - Sliced chicken, mixed greens, tomato, crispy bacon, avocado, jack cheese and house mayo. This is a pretty solid chicken club. I'd eat it in America but I'd still pick off the sad January tomatoes. I'm really not into mealy tomatoes. I AM really into avocado and the avocado portions on this sandwich were surprisingly generous given how expensive avocado is in Korea.

Banh Mi - already reviewed

Waffle Fries - I got these today and was slightly disappointed. I was expecting seasoned waffle fries since they already have regular fries on the menu. They are not seasoned, they are good if you just happen to prefer your fries waffled.

Philly Cheese Steak - I would definitely eat this in America. I'm going to be honest and tell you I've never been to Philly and I KNOW people have very very strong feelings about what makes a proper cheese steak. My cheese steak opinions are entirely based on eating the greasy cheese steaks from "The Cheese Steak Shop" (either the Oakland or Berkeley location) growing up. So, while I can't speak to authenticity of this sandwich, the steak is well seasoned and the cheese is nice and gooey. I'm pretty into it.

Philly Cheese Fries - AKA our new favorite hangover food. The Philly Cheese fries are thin cut fries topped with the same steak, peppers and gooey cheese as the sandwich. These are probably my favorite item on the menu but obviously not the healthiest. I had to send Dan a picture to convince him I was actually eating a sandwich for lunch today not a giant pile of cheese steak fries by myself.

It seems like the menu changes somewhat seasonally, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else they come up with.

Rye Post is located on Itaewon-ro beneath Dillinger's.