Korean Food Adventures: Korean BBQ “Galmaegisal”

For anyone who makes it over to South Korea, surely it wont be long before you are invited out to a night full of Karaoke, drinking Soju (rice alcohol drink), and eating some Korean BBQ. It’s a right of passage into “The Land of the Morning Calm”.

There is a plethora of Korean BBQ restaurants, with many specializing in only one type of meat. One of the most common spots will be where they serve pork meat called “ssamgyupsal,” which consist of thick, fatty slices of pork belly. “Sam” which means three, stands for the apparent three-layered flesh. Typically the meat is not seasoned and is served with side dishes of: kimchi, sliced raw garlic, lettuce, red pepper paste, perilla leaves, and some type of tangy soy based dipping sauce.

What also makes these establishments unique is that they are self-serve with each table having  its own grill for you to get your George Forman on.

My personal favorite Korean BBQ restaurant is where they serve “Galmaegisal,” which is also a very popular pork meat. It differs from “Samgyupsal” in that it is less fatty with a more thicker meaty flavor. I actually thought it looked more like beef the first time I had it. The word is a homonym more commonly known for it’s meaning of “Seagull,” but when dealing with BBQ it refers to the portion between the pig’s liver and midriff. I asked many of my Korean friends as to why it’s named “Seagull” meat, but none of them really knew, it seems to be a mystery.

One of the most popular franchises will be Seorae, which can be found all over Korea. I live in Busan and have been to about four different locations.

Below is a video of me and my wife recently having dinner at Seorae. My wife only likes to go to have the cold buckwheat noodles called “bibim naengmyeon”. For 500 grams of meat, enough for two people we spent 19,000 KRW ($17.50), that included my wife’s noodles and a Coke. Not too bad.

If you plan on coming to South Korea I think you should definitely check them out for a unique dining experience.

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