Cycle 1 – Item 160
14 (Mon) June 2010
at Cafe Uzbekistan
-Gwanghui, Jung, Seoul, Korea-
This post isn’t so much a review as it is a warning.
A few weeks ago, I posted about my first visit (see 1.142 Goluptsy).
On my second visit this evening, the food was okay, as “good, if unremarkably so” as before.
But when it came to paying for the meal, which I attempted to do by credit card, the owner said that the machine was broken and demanded cash instead. Bullshit. I’d seen him pull the same routine during our last visit on other customers. On that occasion, seeing the initial refusal of plastic just after we’d put in our order, we told the owner to cancel everything because we had no cash. Thinking it over for a moment, he replied that a card would be okay from us, adding with a wink that he did so for “good” customers. Incidentally, the owner looked Central Asian, presumably Uzbek, and spoke little English and less Korean, both in a comically Russian accent. Later, we had to show him how to use the machine, which was hidden behind the counter under a pile of junk. This time, I said, incredulously, “Do you not remember me from a couple weeks ago?!?! One of your ‘good’ customers?!?!” He didn’t budge. I asked, “Are you willing to lose our long term business just to save a bit on the credit card fees this one time?” He then changed tack and claimed that the machine was in the shop for repair. So then I changed tack and claimed that, under Korean business law, all restaurants are required to accept payment by credit card if offered by the customer and that failure to maintain a functioning card machine constitutes a forfeiture of the entitlement to payment. Some of that may be true. But before he could call my bluff, to the extent that it was a bluff, and to the extent that he understood what I was talking about, I placed 100,000 won on the counter in accord and satisfaction of the bill, which was somewhere around 150,000 won. He was silent as we walked out the door.
About the food, the manty were dumplings containing ground beef and seasonings, served in a light broth and cream. Both in name and form, they obviously share some common Chinese ancestor with Korean mandu.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)