Finding places to eat that are both affordable and tasty can be a real challenge, especially as prices continue to rise these days. That’s why these days one of the generic parts a local conglomerate, Sinsaegae, is heavily promoting their generic label, called “No Brand”.
No Brand originally started as a set of off-shoot stores that were cross-promoted with their supermarket chain, E-Mart. Since then, they have also started a hamburger and chicken restaurant, called, amazingly, No Brand Burger!
When I first heard about this chain, there was no branch in Ulsan (although there is one now) so I had to drive to the Busan suburb Jung-gwan to give it a try. This was the same area where I had a Cheese Cream Strawberry Latte, so it was definitely a very filling day.
Back to No Brand Burger, the slogan at the restaurant is “Why Pay More? It’s Good Enough.” An interesting slogan to say the least!
The store itself looked very similar to the colour scheme that exists at the E-Mart stores, with lots of yellow and white.
The restaurant was quite busy, but I was able to go up to the touch screen right away. One of the unique items on the menu is the NO Chicken Nuggets, a vegetarian option where non-meat products are used to imitate chicken nuggets.
This was a very interesting idea to me, and so I decided to get an order of the NO Chicken Nuggets, a Coleslaw Chicken Burger meal, and a Smokey Salsa Burger meal. Each burger came with an order of fries, and a can of generic soda that No Brand stores sell.
While waiting for my order, I looked around the store and examined some of the posters and slogans that were on the walls.
Finally, my order was ready and I took a short walk to a little park and walking area where I was able to sit down and enjoy my lunch.
The first thing I tried were the French fries. The No Brand Burger fries come with the skin on, and they were nicely cooked with some fresh oil and a good crispy exterior and soft interior. The ketchup that came with the fries was not very impressive and didn’t add a ton of flavor to the fries. Honestly, I would probably eat these next time with no ketchup on them.
Next, I tried the NO Chicken Nuggets. These were surprisingly tasty! The texture was very similar to chicken and also the flavor was almost exactly like a chicken nugget. These came with some honey mustard sauce which was okay, and better than the ketchup.
The NO Chicken Nuggets really impressed me with their taste and feel, however the value is just not there yet.
The nuggets themselves were small, and there were only four in a bag. Also, the price was 2,900 won ($2.55 US) which is a lot, especially considering Burger King sells 8 chicken nuggets for 2,000 won, and they are bigger.
The Coleslaw Chicken Burger was up next. This came with a crispy and nicely spiced chicken patty and a nice creamy coleslaw on top. There was also some lettuce and sweet pickles, and a mustard sauce as well.
This one was tasty, but it was wet given that the coleslaw was so creamy. Adding in the mustard sauce, and this was a real challenge to eat, especially considering I was outside. Overall, a good chicken burger, but you need lots of napkins to eat this one!
The last thing I tried was the Smokey Salsa Burger. This burger is loaded with toppings, and has lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, jalapeno peppers, salsa sauce, and mayonnaise.
This burger was quite tasty also, and a had a nice heat level from the jalapenos and salsa. The meat was well cooked and seasoned. Much like the Coleslaw Chicken Burger it was heavy on the sauce, also making it a challenge to eat.
I thought for the price that No Brand Burger was pretty good with the flavors being on par with other fast food chains.
I do hope that someday vegetarian options here in Korea become more economical, as they are really starting to taste good!