Last week, Dairy Queen opened its very first branch here in Seoul, and on Saturday they had their grand opening. As part of that grand opening they ran a very special promotion where the first 100 people in the line would win free Blizzards for a month, and the first 100 people to buy ice cream cakes would win free Fan Set Combos for a year. As a non American I have never eaten Dairy Queen before, in fact I only had a very loose idea of what the place even was, I imagined an ice cream parlour of sorts, a farm or possibly a milk and cheese shop. Usually I absolutely abhor queuing, but for a year’s worth of free food I was prepared to break that rule. So my lack of plans that weekend and lust for free food found me waking up at 6:45 on a Saturday to get there to join the queue. We arrived around 7:15 which was just in time as they had a list of people and at 7:30am it was full. After that they turfed us outside into the cold to wait for the store to open at 10am. Honestly this seemed a kind of cool way of doing it, had I known I hadn’t made it on the list I would have headed straight back home to bed. When they handed out the tickets I was the 55th person in line and the 44th person to buy an ice cream cake. By the time we got to ordering it was 10:45 so I invested about 4 hours in to the endeavour, but it really didn’t seem like that long and I had a lot of fun in the queue with my friends and making the video above.
This first store is located in the University neighbourhood of Hyehwa. There is only one reason I have been to Hyehwa before and that is to drink at one of my favourite cocktail bars, Mix & Malt. The medium sized store, is set over two floors, and has a cool and relaxed vibe. In the next few months they will be opening more branches all over the country, including one in my neighbourhood of Itaewon (now open and right by exit 3), which is when my VIP Fan Deal set card will start paying dividends. The Itaewon location is set to be where Taco bell currently is and will open in December, and will also be running a special grand opening promotion.
On to the food. I decided to use my new Fan Deal set which includes either a cheeseburger or chicken strips, chips, a drink and an ice cream sundae. As I already planned on getting some burgers on top, I went with the chicken strips, plus everyone had gone on about how amazing they are. For burgers I opted for the Crispy Chicken Burger (4,900) Quarterpounder Bacon Cheese Burger (6,800). I’m greedy so I also ordered a portion of onion rings. As you can see it was one hell of a fast food feast. I found the beef burger to be very reminiscent of a Burger King Whopper, I found it very tasty at the time, but I was hella hungry after being in that queue for so long, with only a banana to tide me over. The chicken burger was also pretty decent, a very crispy coating and nicely spiced, could have done with a touch more mayo for my tastes, but a solid fast food burger. I had heard good things about the Onion Rings (2,400) through the grapevine but didn’t really care for them, maybe they weren’t freshly cooked but I probably wouldn’t get them again. I’m not really sure what I expected from DQ before going, I thought it might slightly better than the regular fast food places, but I found it to be pretty similar to Burger King.
Although I had mine for free, I thought the Chicken Sticks (4,900) were kinda pricey, almost five dollars for three. I’m not sure what they charge else where for chicken strips as I rarely buy them but it seemed like a lot to me for some reason. They were tasty enough, I mean anything deep fried is usually good, nice coating the same as the burger, of the two I’d take the more filling chicken burger if asked to choose. I rather enjoyed the chips though, they were quite thick which I loved dipping them into my ice cream like I did as a kid.
The Blizzards are probably considered to be the main reason to visit DQ. We each got 3 mini sized ones as part of our free coupon deal. They come in four sizes mini (2,900), small (3,200) regular (4,200) and large (4,900). There were so many flavours to choose from and between us I think we tried most of them. The two I was most excited to try were the Snickers and Reece’s, neither of which disappointed. The soft serve was thick, sweet, and creamy and studded with chocolatey chunks of heaven. My bestie also got the green tea and red bean which was really not my cup of tea at all. The other standout was the banana which had little pieces of pineapple in it, and was a total tropical treat. Part of the Blizzards slogan, it that they are supposed to be so thick that it will stay inside the cup even if you flip it over. In my haste to take photos I completely forgot to do this, but it is worth checking because if any drops out you get the blizzard for free.
As part of the deal I had to order an Ice Cream Cake, there were only two left by the time I got to buy mine, so I opted for the Oreo Cake (25,000). After eating so much already, I took that bad boy home. However plenty of my fellow queuee’s were tucking into theirs right there and then. I didn’t really know what to expect but the the cake was mostly made of vanilla ice cream, with chocolate ice cream, sauce and Oreos inside. It was then topped with a very light Oreo ice cream frosting. I actually rather enjoyed this. The only ice cream cake I have eaten before is the Baskin Robbins ones, which honestly I have never cared for, despite enjoying their ice cream a lot . This DQ one was much better, and a very good price. It would make a nice change from crummy birthday cakes from PB that most of us seem to get stuck with.
So after queueing for many hours for my first taste of Dairy Queen, I found out that it is just a fast food joint with pretty awesome ice-cream. If you love it from back home or really enjoy ice-cream go give it a shot, but they plan to open many more branches over the next few months, so there is no need to travel across town. I’ll be very happy to eat my free weekly meal once the Itaewon branch opens,but don’t think I’ll get much use out of the free month of ice creams. Please let me know if you would like one of the coupons, they are all predated but I’m happy to share them rather than let them go to waste.
Dairy Queen is located at 8, Daehak-ro 10 gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hyehwa Station (line 4) and come out of exit 2. Turn back on yourself and You should see a small walk way to the right. Go through it and you will see Dairy Queen right in front of you. For ore information you can call them on 02-703-6696, or check out their facebook page.