In this series of “Exploring Dongdaemun-gu” I will introduce to you the best mat-jib (맛집) and pocha (포차) you can find in the neighborhood of Dongdaemun-gu. Today I’m gonna talk about the barbecue experience in Seoul!
Traveling is not always about sightseeing. Sometimes we just want to experience the lifestyle of the locals and get to know more than the common places everyone else goes to. There is no better way of knowing a country than embracing the adventurous spirit of going to unusual places and neighborhoods.
If you come to Seoul, most people will tell you to go to Gangnam, Hongdae or Itaewon, but Seoul has a lot more to offer! If you agree with what I’m saying and want to discover more nice places in Seoul, then this post was made just for you! Dongdaemun-gu is mainly a residential neighborhood that provides its locals with several mat-jib (맛집) and pocha (포차) to where you can go with friends and enjoy a full Korean native-like experience. For those who might be lost with these terms, they respectively mean a restaurant famous for having good food and a pub or bar that you go to eat and drink.
Before you go to the interesting part of this post, I recommend that you read my other posts about how to enjoy life as locals do in Dongdaemun-gu! The first post of this series was about the amazing steak house ‘Tiger’s Kitchen‘. In the second post of this series, I talk a bit about how to enjoy a healthy day without even spending money! Check it out here: a guide to a healthy day in Dongdaemun-gu. Waste no time and find out more about nice neighborhoods that aren’t that famous but definitely worth the visit (as koreans would say 갈 만합니다). Enjoy!
This place was first introduced to me by a Korean friend! It’s located nearby Kyunghee University. The closest subway station is Hoegi Sation, on the blue line.
Before going make sure to download either Kakao or Naver Map. I’ve mentioned in other posts that Google Maps doesn’t deliver it’s best performance here in Korea. Therefore it’s better to download the Korean navigation apps. They work just like Google Maps! You can find reviews, pictures, routes, the menu, and even the prices of the place you are going to. Ungteori Saenggogi is a branch samgyeopsal restaurant that can be found all around Seoul. The Kyunghee University Branch is near the subway and has the kindest employees (I’ve tried other branches!).
The best thing about Korean barbecue is that is all you can eat! Yes, that’s right, for a fair price you can eat as much as you want. Not only meat but also side dishes (like kimchi for example), rice and soft drinks. At Ungteori Saenggogi you have two options of buffets: the first option is pork meat for 12,000 won (around $10). The second option is pork and beef for the price of 18,900 won (around $16). The second option often has discounts if you go during lunchtime or on days like Wednesday.
You have to keep an eye on their social media to find out! The most popular option among Koreans (and foreigners) is the samgyeopsal! Mostly for its cheap and fair price. Paying only 12,000 won and eating as much as you want is really attractive for meat lovers.
Korea has its own unique style of barbecue. Usually, restaurants have this cooking plate in the middle of the table. You can turn it on and adjust the temperature at your will. Restaurants will serve you with raw meat, side dishes, and soup. This varies from restaurant to restaurant though! You can have the soup spot in the middle of the cooking plate, or in a separate spot for it. The shape and style of the cooking plate can also vary from restaurant to restaurant. But in the end, at all of them, you are responsible for cooking your meat.
They usually serve some side dishes on a small plate, which you can put on the cooking plate. The purpose is that you heat these side dishes to eat with the meat. Different from barbecues in western countries, you will have a lot of different sauces to season your meat (instead of using salt). But don’t worry, if you want to you can just season it with salt.
Usually, the side dishes, beverages, and rice are self-service, whilst you have to ask for more meat when each round is over. If you want to try samgyeopsal the same Koreans eat it, rules are very simple! First, you cook the meat, then you wrap it with lettuce. That’s it! You can put garlic or sauce with your meat before you wrap it to eat, and be ready to have a big bite!
Hope you are ready to enjoy Korean Barbecue experience as much as I did!