I like lists. I also like meat. So I made a meat list. Because that’s how I do. It actually took me awhile to compile this particular list because there’s only so many things you can say to describe cow but I got there… eventually… Gogi aka Korean BBQ is a fundamental part of life in Seoul, from dinner with clients to a carnivorous lunch with a friend, there’s a place for every occasion. It’s also the first thing that pops into foreigner’s heads when they’re asking about Korean food. ‘KOREAN BBQ!’ So I figured I should reinforce some stereotypes and list these spots up for anyone who is interested.
Park Dae Gam Nae is an unassuming little spot in the middle of the ritzy Cheongdam area in Seoul. Apparently a lot of celebrities come here although I have yet to spot one. It looks like every other typical Korean BBQ joint except its clean and apparently if you keep a restaurant clean the prices skyrocket exponentially. This place charges a whooping W52,000 per portion (150g) but you can taste the quality in the meat because it is just melt-in-your-mouth goodness that keeps getting better with every bite. If you are in the good graces of the proprietress, she will give you a plate of yook-hwe (raw beef) topped with a raw quail egg and mixed with fresh Korean pear, gratis. Finish off with their bibimbap (rice mixed with fresh vegetables) and you can food coma out happy.
Park Dae Gam Nae (박대감네)
2F Cheongdam-dong 124-3, Gangnam-gu
T: +82 2 545 7708
The Seocho brand of Budnamujp is my go to place for client dinners. At a hefty W50,000 per serving (130g) it’s a good thing it can be expensed. I mean just look at the marbling on that slab of meat! *drools* The meal comes with a huge selection of sides dishes which is typical at most Korean restaurants but the quality is solid at Budnamujip. From sliced abalone to green salad (with really delicious dressing, not the overly sugary sweet kiwi kind you find at every other restaurant in Seoul) to an assortment of kimchi, there’s something to complement each bite. Wash down the meaty goodness at the end of the meal with a small bowl of haejangguk, an earthy broth with congealed ox blood, which I swear is not as terrible as it sounds. At the end of the meal they provide you with a small slice of the fruit du jour. I find this terribly old school but brings back memories of when I used to tag along to my father’s client dinners back in the day. Definitely a ‘grown up’ restaurant.
1340-5 Seocho 2-dong, Seocho-gu
T: +82 2 3473 4167
Everything about this restaurant screams ‘MEAT”! I love that when you leave Daedo Shikdang in Samsung-dong you come out smelling like meat. Obviously they need to work on their ventilation a little bit but really, I’m not complaining and they provide a bottle of Febreze to spray yourself down post meal. A small piece of fat is brushed onto the hot iron pan and the sizzle of the meat will definitely make you salivate. At W38,000 per serving it’s not cheap but the meat is top quality sirloin and that’s the only cut of meat they serve. Daedo Shikdang is also known for its ggakdugi bab (W2000), a hot bowl of white rice and some chopped up ggakdugi (radish kimchi) are dumped into the pan that is filled with the excess fat and cooked to crispy perfection on the outside and fluffy goodness on the inside. So good!
Daedo Shikdang (대도식당)
150-7 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu
T: +82 2 561 2283
Looking for a yakiniku place in Seoul is kind of silly as yakiniku is the Japanese solution to Korean BBQ and why go for the alternative when you can have the original right? (Why do I have a feeling that I’ve said something controversial?!) The difference between Korean BBQ and Japanese BBQ is the texture of the meat. Korean BBQ is meant to be chewed, while Japanese BBQ melts in your mouth. It’s not easy to find a good yakiniku joint in Seoul without having to pay an arm and a leg but Hobak Shikdang (Pumpkin Restaurant) always satisfies my Japanese style gogi cravings at a reasonable price (W10,000) and the long lines are a testament to quality of this particular joint. Have a bite of meat with the garlic that’s been sitting in boiling sesame oil and enjoy the old school Korean style lunch box bibimbap (W3000) while you’re at it.
Hobak Shikdang (호박식당)
T: +82 2 798 7905
So I went on a first date at Gogijip in Itaewon. I’m not sure what possessed me to show a boy that I had just met to see me stuff my face full of meat but thankfully, he was too busy eating to notice (I think). Thanks to the all-you-can-eat sirloin Monday, we had seven plates at W15,000 per person. Normally a meal here would set you back between W15,000-W23,000 per serving depending on your cut of meat but I suggest heading over on Monday and eating to your heart’s content. You will be provided with a huge bowl of thinly sliced onions to put into the soy based sauce to cut through the fat and while this is not so conducive to making out post-meal, who cares. No frills, just meat.
46-5 Yongsandong 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu
T: +82 2 796 5528
My favourite intern Yiseul lives in Shinchon, my old stomping grounds. She lives right in front of the cult gogi restaurant Suh Suh Galbi which literally translates to Standing Meat. This place is ridiculously popular and they close shop for the day when the meat runs out… so yeah, the staff have pretty early days. To alleviate this problem, they’ve opened up a sitting spot next door with the same name but it still hasn’t been able to solve the issue with the lines or the meat running out. Pro tip? Get there early and order before the other patrons get to it. For W15,000 for 150g of meat, it’s not too pricey… that is unless you eat as much as Yiseul and I did… No shame.
Yeonnam Suh Suh Galbi (연남 서서갈비)
109-69 Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu
T: +82 2 716 2520
Know any good places? Let me know in the comments!