The first time I saw an EGGDROP sandwich, I was perusing a Vietnamese food blogger’s website, looking for recipes. One image showed a small, right-side-up wrapper was a sandwich bursting with cuteness and, presumably, flavor. Perfectly scrambled eggs were nestled between two slices of brioche, my favorite kind of bread. Slices of ham and American cheese hugged the eggs, a squirt of sauce strategically layered on top. It’s the kind of sandwich that looks and feels posh—food that I’d want to tell my friends about.
That’s exactly what Goldenhind, the franchise-based company that created EGGDROP, wants you to do. To the young and mobile-friendly crowd of South Korea, EGGDROP’s trajectory as an elite brand (it bills itself as “Korea’s first premium gourmet egg sandwich”) can be attributed to how many people share what they eat online. Turns out, an egg sandwich “inspired by the American diner” was exactly what people needed.
EGGDROP sandwiches are for the customer who wants the best of everything: American diner fare filled with eggs, ham, bacon, cheese, and avocado but also a quick, convenient, and high-quality protein option. Goldenhind understands this desire and caters to it; the small, kiosk-style restaurants usually have long lines and run like a tight ship, with strict quality control similar to American restaurants.
Inside are stainless steel countertops and appliances with very few chairs, making it the kind of grab-and-go place that many busy young professionals prefer (or at least patronize). Then there’s the signature black-and-white grid pattern of the sandwich wrappers, which EGGDROP calls the “city grid” pattern, representing the fact that many locations are situated in populous areas.
To eat an EGGDROP sandwich is to be part of a lifestyle brand, the growing health-conscious and socially minded young professionals who also (secretly) desire an American diner experience. For customers, it’s the taste, convenience, and visual appeal that brings them in, but for Lee Mikuyng, who co-owns an EGGDROP location with her mother, the experience of owning a restaurant allows them to form a bond stronger than ever before. She attributes the trendiness factor to the way the sandwiches are made.
“We put in the bread vertically, unlike most sandwiches.” she says, and this makes the sandwich a great choice for those hungry for a quick bite on the go. That kind of attention to detail matters, even if the visual elements don’t affect the flavor of the final product.
In the past few years, the popularity of this sandwich has gone beyond the streets and Instagram. On TikTok, for example, creators post reviews of the sandwich, or attempt to make their own version, or simply introduce people to similar versions. Many of these videos have garnered thousands of views, thereby elevating brand awareness even more.
The numbers do not lie. As of April 2022, there are 275 EGGDROP locations around South Korea. Sales for the first half of 2021, as the company boasted on its website, were 38.5 billion South Korean won—that’s almost $30 million USD in just five years. And speaking of USD, more locations slated for opening this year, in both Thailand and the United States.
Word has spread overseas, and companies like Flippoly and Egg Tuck in the United States are already emulating this sandwich, touting their own version of the aesthetically pleasing, Instagram-friendly fare. With these other spots capitalizing on the same appeal of EGGDROP, will the original from Korea, which took its cues from American diner fare to begin with, stoke the most excitement and generate the longest lines once it lands in the States? Ultimately, the diners will decide. But one thing seems undeniable: Eating an egg sandwich is one of the best ways to fill up a hungry stomach and boost your happiness. Just don’t forget to share it on TikTok.