It seems as though Korea just can’t get enough of American food right now. And with Gino’s NY pizza, Jil’Hal Bros chicken and rice and now Pick A Bagel we are seeing a nice heavy influence of foods from New York. The new Apgujeong location is the first store to open in Korea from NYC’s Pick A Bagel, and is run by native New Yorker Abe Ryu. When visiting New York last year I actually visited one of their locations and tried one of their delicious bagels, so when I realized it was the same chain I was beside myself. The bagels are actually made in New York, then flash frozen after being boiled and finally baked here in Seoul.
The bagels are baked throughout the day so you’re always going to get a fresh one. We went on a Sunday afternoon and whilst they didn’t have a everything in stock there was more than enough to satisfy us. The bagels are only 2,000 each and the cream cheese between 2,000 -3,000. There are also a couple of salad type toppings you can get for an extra 500 won. However I’m sure most people go for their special offer of a bagel with cream cheese and a filter coffee for 5,500 won, which is pretty damn reasonable considering I’ve paid 5,000 won for a Costco bagel and a teaspoon of cream cheese before.
Being in a long term relationship I rarely worry about bad breath, so got the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese (4,000). This is almost always my go to choice, and Abe the owner recommended that I get a slice of tomato in the middle, which I like to think was the New York version of the British classic sandwich, cheese and tomato. I’d never tried the everything bagel before, but I adored the crunchy texture on top and oniony garlicky flavour in the middle. Like the bagels I ate in New York the scallion cream cheese was spread in super thick proportions, all in all a great bagel.
Salmon is one of TFB’s favourite foods so he insisted on trying the lox. We had it on whole wheat with plain cream cheese, capers, red onion and a slice of tomato (9,000). I’m never usually a fan of salmon, but I’m starting to think it may be an irrational fear, as I took a bite of this bagel and loved it. There was a wonderful saltiness and just an overall balance of flavors I didn’t get with the scallion on everything. If this doesn’t satisfy your bagel cravings I don’t know what will.
Lastly we tried a sweet option of a blueberry bagel with honey pecan cream cheese (5,000). I loved this pairing, sweet and dessert-like but salty and chewy at the same time. The bagel had plenty of blueberries running through it and actual blueberry flavour. Far too many bagels have the color but not the taste. Again the cream cheese was an exceptionally generous portion and had lots of crunch from the pecans. I could make a killer cheesecake using it, that’s for damn sure.
Overall I was more than happy with the bagels we tried and I’ll certainly be picking up a few more the next time I’m down at that end of town. Being part of one of New York’s most famous Bagel chains this is the closest you are ever going to get to an NYC bagel in Seoul. Now all we need is a good deli offering some dill pickles and cold cuts and we will be set.
Pick a Bagel is located at 11 Nonhyeon-ro 175 gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight then take the first left, walk straight then take the first right, you will see Pick A Bagel just up ahead on your left. For more information you can call them on 02-518-1008 or check out their facebook page. They are open on weekdays from 8am-8pm and 9am -8pm on weekends.