One Monday we made the journey in the rain to Itaewon for a sandwich feast at Casablanca Sandwicherie. Our little hearts were crushed when we got to the front of the empty shop and saw the lights off, a sign saying “closed Mondays”. We paced up and down the road trying to think of something that would fit the sandwich craving and settled on burgers across the road. While it was filling, it wasn’t anything to write about, however they did have good chips and beer. I first read about Casablanca Sandwicherie in this hilarious piece about sandwiches in Korea. It says what I and quite possibly many other foreigners here, feel for the humble sandwich that is being butchered.
On the rare occasions when homesickness struck, Bobby would buy me this “sandwich” from Paris Baguette in an attempt to make me feel better. It had the opposite effect. The bread is sickly sweet and cake like, soggy in parts from the wet lettuce and limp cucumber. The processed meat has a slimy cover and the cheese is beyond plastic. It sits on the shelf for days, cut into tiny delicate triangles and sold at a hefty price that could buy you a decent Korean meal. I can deal with the sandwich fillings, but not the candy bread. Typing in sandwiches in Seoul led me to “Derek Versus Lonely Planet” (amazing food blogger) who’d written about Casablanca Sandwich and got me with this line:
Finally, the bread. This bread is some of the softest and freshest bread I have ever had. I swear to God it was still warm when it was placed on the table. This is the real deal. – Derek Versus Lonely Planet
SOLD! We went and it didn’t disappoint. Two chicken sandwiches were ordered and we sat down in the cosy shop. I’ll start with the bread and work in. It has a beautiful crust with a slight crunch when you bite in which then gives way to chewy, soft warm yeasty greatness that instantly comforts and lifts the spirits (Who doesn’t love good bread?). Rich mayo is thickly smeared on the top inside with a spicy sauce that sticks to the marinated chicken and deep-fried mashed potato balls. This post here practically gives away their recipe for the chicken which we’ll test out at a later date. The large chicken pieces have just the right amount of acidic and spice flavour oomph and, together with the fried crisp potato balls that become creamy mashed potato, play well off of each other in textures. The lettuce was fresh, the tomatoes juicy, the dill pickles crunchy, sweet and sour. That first sandwich left us craving more. We tried again with friends but were too late in the evening and the bread had sold out. Another attempt had us take the trip back on that dreary Monday. Defeated by the lack of sandwiches, but stuffed from the burgers, we ended up hiking to Namsan Tower for a look around at the sunset and city lights, taking the cable car down. *Traveller’s Tip* Don’t take the cable car. 6,000 won per person sees you packed in like sardines. It’s not worth it as you can’t turn around to take a photo. It felt exactly like a subway ride, not a peaceful gondola ride and was over in two minutes. Save your pennies and get your extra exercise in.
Wednesday, we attempted again and were successful. We ordered three: Moroccan Chicken, Lamb Chili and Berber Omelette. Chicken has the textures and all the rich flavours. Lamb has the delicious spices and depth. Berber Omelette was soft but still had really awesome flavours.
The owners and staff are really friendly and they cut all our sandwiches in half so we could mix them around. We can’t praise this place enough and in times of need, it’s worth two mat-jibs to me. For directions, at the start of this post, detailed instructions are at the top. Happy eating – Chan and Bob