If you are a meat lover, Korean barbecue would not let you down. When the charcoals are lit and the grill is set, the variety is endless. Samgyeopsal (pork belly barbecue) and premium hanwoo beef are among the most popular K-bbq, but there are more interesting options out there for those adventurous foodies.
In Korea, it is not difficult to find jangeo-gui restaurants that are specialized in grilled eel. Freshwater eel is recognized as food for stamina, and there is a groundless belief that it is effective treatment for sexual dysfunction. Whether or not the rumours are true, the fish is still popular in many part of the country. The boneless flesh is served with or without gochujang sauce, usually cut into bite-size pieces. A common way to enjoy grilled eel is to wrap it in lettuce with slices of fresh ginger and a dab of special dipping sauce.
Makchang had been a popular among blue-collar workers, as a quick meal and a side with a shot of soju. After the war, many people struggled to survive and a very few were fortunate enough to afford meat. Scrap meats like pig’s intestines were great substitute for those longing for animal fat on grill. Fresh intestines were readily available in part of the city where the slaughterhouse operated. At night, dark alleys would be lighted with orange tents where the smoke and smell of grilled pig’s intestines would fill up the night sky.
They say Mapo District in Seoul is the birthplace of grilled pork skin. Initially, Korean barbecue was mostly about beef since Joseon Dynasty. Shortly after the war was over, a fella named Choi Han-chae opened up a joint featuring grilled pork ribs. This is one of the oldest operating restaurants in Seoul and is still located in Mapo. At Choidaepo, they claim that they are the first to begin grilling pork rind along with pork ribs barbecue. The pork skin is now popular anju often paired with soju.
Horse meat barbecue is a unique culinary experience available in Jeju Island. There are specialty shops treating only horse meat from farms nearby and they offer freshest meat. How fresh? Try horse meat sashimi before setting up the grill. The flesh resembles that of beef but the meat is leaner and more tender. Some restaurants offer a horse meat course including rare meat tartare, barbecue, and soup.
Scallop & Clams
Even if you are not in a coastal city of South Korea you would still be able to find a place that offer grilled clams. However, Taejongdae in Busan is famous for their pocha-by-the-sea setting. Grab a seat on the pebbled ground and plates of various shellfish would be served. Some places serve scallops with cheese so ask beforehand if you are not too crazy about seafood with cheese.
Winter is the season of oysters in Korean peninsula. Coastal cities like Tongyoung or Seosan are famous oyster producers. In a small town of Cheonbuk on western coast, a small village call themselves the oyster village where every corner you would find piles of empty oyster shells. At a seaside restaurant, a special table-grill is ready to meet a large bucket of fresh oysters. With incredibly low price, you get try different oyster dishes including grilled oysters, steamed oysters, oyster noodle soup, etc. Grilling is the fun part but oyster shells tend to pop over high heat so be careful and avoid placing the oysters in the center of the grill.
Another regional delicacy in the mystic island of Jeju is the black pork. The black pig is indigenous breed of the island that became popular among tourists because how rare it is. Black pork belly barbecue is considered as premium pork barbecue and is usually more pricey. Steamed black pork is another delicacy that you must try while in Jeju.
Probably ranked as one of the most loathsome Korean food by foreign visitors, chicken feet is either loved or hated by many Koreans as well. You can find chicken feet in other Asian cuisine, but in Korea, such thing called bul-dakbal became a trend among younger generation. The chicken feet is smothered in incredibly spicy sauce. The fired-up chicken feet are munched by hand with the help of disposable plastic gloves. Because of the unbearable spiciness, chicken feet are often accompanied with rather bland sides such as dried seaweed rice or steamed egg.