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Corona – Mexican Food & Drinks – Gwangju

Mexican restaurants barely exist in Asia. During the three years I have lived in Japan I saw two, and one of those was on a U.S. military base. Chinese and Japanese restaurants aren’t hard to find in Gwangju, Korea, but discovering a Mexican place seemed too good to be true. I stopped by Corona, hoping to eat, three times before finally being able to. The first time was a Monday (and they are closed on Mondays). The second time I showed up at 3 p.m., but they hadn’t yet opened for lunch (now they are). The third time I was really craving Mexican food, but I forgot it was a Monday. 😉

Today (Tuesday) I went by again, and this time they were open! The owner, a Korean named Choong Jun, worked at a restaurant in Los Angeles with a bunch of Mexicans and that’s where the idea came from. He speaks good English. I think he was the first person I have had a conversation with in three days (as I don’t speak Korean).

Anyway, back to Corona… The food is a little different from any Mexican restaurant I have ever been to. It was good, on the spicy side, and inexpensive. Next time I may ask for it to be less spicy. I think the menu said something about various levels of spiciness, but I didn’t order any special level.

I had a burrito for about US$5 (6,000 won). It came with chips and salsa (three giant chips that were actually full-sized corn tortillas that had been turned into chips). After I finished my burrito I was given a plate of nachos (covered in cheese, meat, sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, and onions). I don’t think the nachos normally came with my order. Perhaps they were saying “thanks for coming back a fourth time even though we weren’t open the first three times” or they were just working on a new nacho recipe. In any event, I wasn’t charged for the nachos and left absolutely stuffed.

I just noticed that Gwangju Blog did a review of this place in which they complained about the speed of service. My food was served very quickly. Also, the menu looks totally different now. I think Corona did a recent makeover. My food looked better than the photos that they posted.

The drink selection here is outstanding and far more diverse than anything I have seen in Korea thus far. They had about a dozen different beers to chose from which is about ten more than most places. Included in the selection were all the major Mexican beers (Corona, Sol, Dos Equis, Modelo, etc.), tequila, and Lost Coast Brewery’s Indica India Pale Ale. I never expected to see an IPA from California in Korea. They also had things like blue lemonade and Cherry Coke!

Next time I’ll bring my camera for some photos.

You can find Corona near the Chonnam National University back gate. Head down the street/alley with Dunkin Donuts on the corner. Near the other end, look up on the opposite side of the street from Dunkin Donuts to see Corona. They are on the second floor.

The address is 159-8, 2F, Yongbong-don, Bukgu, Gwangju. They are open from about noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Maybe they are open later on Friday and Saturday nights.

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