You probably already know that drinking alcohol is a big thing in Korean culture. So, it is no surprise that there are pochas everywhere. Daejeon, being the 5th biggest city in Korea, has a whole lot of options. But, Halmaek is my go-to phocha chain here in Korea.
Clubbing really not my thing. So, whenever I want to go out and have some fun I either go to bars or pochas. There is plenty of nice pochas on my Favorites list. However, Halmaek is hands down the one I like the most. And, the best thing is that they have locations all over Korea!
I should start this article by telling you what I don’t like about this pocha chain. Its real name is waaaay too long: Yeokjeon Halmeoni Maekju 1982. Imagine having to type it or even say it every time you wanted to meet there. Don’t worry, it is also hard for the locals. As a result, everyone just calls it Halmaek. Way better, right? Now that we went through the cons, let’s talk pros.
Haelmaek is so common in Daejeon that I actually thought it was one of those food chains you can find anywhere in Korea. Unfortunately, they only have it in certain regions. But, the good news is that the cities that have one. And, places like Daejeon and Seoul have plenty.
One thing that I noticed after going to different franchises is that some dishes are not in every eatery. Or, they might be a little bit differently plated. That is not a problem though. They have a huge menu with every vibe and taste perfectly crafted for foodies. And, some of the options even have both spicy and non spicy versions.
If I am being honest with you, pizzas in Korea, even when they are more Westernized, are not really my thing. That being said, I love Halmaek’s pizza. Dipping it in honey is common in any place in Korea. However, I personally think this chain’s pizza and honey combination is the best I have ever had.
The soju and beer price is the same as the standard, if not cheaper than any local pocha in the country.
But, you can get whiskey or cocktails for a cheap price! The frozen pineapple is also really good – you order and pour soju over it. The best. Thing.
Ever. Another thing I also don’t usually like but I enjoy eating there is the sausage. It is in a very nice texture and also very well seasoned.
I know it is hard to define customer service if you are talking about franchises. In general, all of the Halmaeks I have been to have had a nice staff. They were very considerate and put things on our table even before we asked.
In particular, at the franchise in Bongmyeong, they read your facial expressions and somehow knew what is needed. After some drunk old men tried talking to me and my friends, and one of the waiters came up and made sure we were ok. He kept an eye on the old men and politely guided them away from us even without us having to ask. It can be scary for women to be surrounded by drunk men, but I always feel safe going to HalMaek.
Eating though drinking is extremely common in Korea, it doesn’t mean every establishment has good food. And when they do, it can be a bit overpriced. With all hallmark categories checked off, and then some, HallMaek has become my favorite pocha.