09 October, 2013

1988 Burger - Incheon, Korea - July 2013

A Frozen 1988 Burger, from South Korea

What a 1988 Burger looks like when it has been nuked back to life
Purchased on 11 July 2013
Consumed on 26 July 2013
Purchased in Incheon, South Korea
Consumed in Singapore
Price - 4200KRW = $3.90USD
Calories - Unknown

If any burger was going to kill me, I thought this was going to be it.  The 1988 burger launched shortly after the 1955 Burger, which coincidentally, was flown down to me to try before my wedding in Thailand from Korea by one of my friends who was coming to the wedding. The 1988 Burger was released to commemorate the first McDonald's in South Korea, built specifically for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  Why was this burger going to kill me, when I've eaten other burgers which had been flown in from further distances?  Well for one, this wasn't brought to me by one of my friends, family member or colleagues (who hopefully are more willing to try and keep the burger in hygienic conditions), but this was brought by request from a friend of my wife who was flying back to Singapore after spending a bit of time in Korea.  Not only did she know nothing about my blog, but thought I was insane for just asking to bring back a McDonald's burger.  No, she didn't have to just buy-and-fly, but what she had to do in order for me to try it was, buy it the night before she left, as she had an early morning flight, and this was only available after lunch, and then, when she finally reached Singapore, she had to freeze it for me for a couple of weeks since my wife and I were going to be on our honeymoon when she was back in Singapore.  So not only was this burger 24+ hours old, but it was also frozen for nearly 2 weeks until I could give it a try.

In theory this burger sounded very good to me.  It was a double patty beef burger with cheese, lettuce and Korean pepper paste.  I had a couple friends who still live in Korea who tried it fresh and they both said it was quite tasty. Since it wasn't purchased as a lunch set when prices are cheaper for near everything on the menu, the 4200W charged for just the burger was a little expensive, since the beef patties weren't that much larger than regular hamburger patties, and the the only thing special was the pepper paste, which is dirt cheap in Korea.  The last time I had Korean pepper paste on a McDonald's burger was on the Korean McSpicy in Hong Kong, and though I ate that on the plane, I enjoyed it.  I as much as I was hoping this would be just as good, sadly, it wasn't. 

Since the burger was frozen solid, I microwaved it for a couple minutes.  When I saw that it was done, I let it go another 30-60 seconds longer in caution, to hopefully nuke anything in there that might want to kill me.   It was so hot that all juices were flying out, the cheese was bubbling and it smelt, exactly like McDonald's...It was so hot I had to wait a couple minutes for the burger to cool down enough for me to eat and by then, it has lost most of whatever juices remained inside. I was surprised that a burger of this age had so much juice come out of it to be honest. My first bite was pretty lacklustre. I couldn't taste the pepper paste whatsoever, the only thing I could taste was the beef and cheese.  The whole 'specialness' of this burger was the pepper paste, so not being to taste it at all was a disappointment. For a burger that had gone through so much, even though its main selling point was pretty boring, I couldn't believe how decent the rest of the burger still tasted.  I'm not sure if the freezing or the microwaving just killed whatever flavour would have been in the pepper paste, but as it sat, it was no different than a standard double cheese burger would have tasted.

Preparing to die...

When I told my friends back in Korea that I didn't particularly enjoy the 1988 burger they were somewhat surprised.  I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it a bit more had I tired it fresh, but I have to rate is as I tasted it.

Rating - 2.5/5