Saturday, June 18, 2011

Toast Magic

The always friendly, always smiling ladies who operate our favorite toast stand right outside the gate of Pusan National University can see us coming. Those two insatiable foreigners who can't get enough of the chewy, steamy hot toasts. 
"Toasts?" you ask. Sounds like something you can just make at home, you know, with a simple slice of bread. False. Enterprising street food vendors have come up with something infinitely more delicious and awesome than that.                        
A toast (토스토) really just a sandwich that has been all toasted up on a flat top grill. You can find these toast stands all over the place, but for Shane and I, the best place is the pedestrian street right in front of the PNU entrance, a street we've nicknamed "Toast Street." Along with the toasts, Toast Street has fresh fruit smoothies, waffles, deep fried goodies, and some places that have more traditional Korean fare.                                                                                               
Each stand has its own specific recipe for making toasts (we've heard it said that in PNU, one puts on apple slices!), and we haven't tried them all, but our favorite we've had so far is at the stand directly in front of you as you walk toward the gate.                                                                                                   
The ladies start by throwing three slices of white bread onto one grill. On the other, bright yellow-yoked eggs are cracked into a mold that makes them just the right shaped square for the bread and are scrambled up with a chopstick. Back on the bread, either a slice of ham, a slice of processed American cheese (I know. In any other case, processed American cheese is to be shunned to the extreme.), or tuna is added, depending on your order. Then on go sauces one, two, and three: ketchup, something light orange, and mustard. Finally, they throw on small handful of finely shredded cabbage. The triple decker comes with its own paper holder so that your fingers don't get all greasy as you eat. 
Okay, so on paper, maybe this sandwich doesn't sound that appealing, but don't be fooled. These are some great, comfort foods. Really top notch satisfying and delicious. Oh, and have I mentioned that the ham or cheese version costs only ₩1,500 and the tuna upgrade just ₩2,000 (about $1.40 and $1.80)?         
We've taken almost all of our out of town visitors for a toast. It's become a ritual for us that on Friday nights, we might head out for a celebratory, end of week toast. After a long week at the hagwon, sometimes we just need to fill our belly with something stuffed with egg and cheese.

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