Mi Galmaegisal 미갈매기살 (Jongro, Seoul)

Flashback to this past summer when I visited three terrific Instagram-worthy places in one day but – luckily – was able to burn it off with a 100 km bike ride. However, of the three restaurants, this special restaurant gets the nod (by default) because I’ve been wanting to do a write-up for over three years. It’s an old-school Korean BBQ joint specializing in different cuts of pork rather than your standard samgyeopsal fare. Over the years, the restaurant has become so popular that others eventually followed suit, creating what is now a bustling (and somewhat trendy) BBQ destination for nearby office workers, locals, and BBQ lovers. 

After asking the all-too-annoying question about the restaurant’s age and history during mealtime–which is common routine when eating out–I was lucky enough to get a seasoned employee to tell me a little about the restaurant. She gave a short and direct response about the restaurant: “I have no clue, we stopped counting years ago. But, we did start serving galmaegisal (pork skirt meat) first and others followed in our footsteps. So, in a way, we started what is now this galmaegisal golmok (skirt meat alley).”

Being first doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best, but after experiencing their beefy, flavorful galmaegisal I can understand why people flock here (being featured in a popular TV food program helps, too). The quality of the meat really stood out, redder in appearance similar to beef and having a definitive beefy texture. The unique, thick metal grill cooked the meat evenly without any flare-ups, and the stand-out sauces (ground perilla seeds, nutty bean flour, and lemon-infused soy sauce) were perfect. Throw in a few bottles of soju and beer, a raucous atmosphere, and good company, and you have one of the best BBQ joints in Korea. Besides galmaegisal, the restaurant offers gabeurisal (pork cheek meat) and hangjeongsal (pork neck meat), two other neglected cuts of pork that are just as good — if not better — than the featured meat.

If you’re interested in other pork cuts beside samgyeopsal, I highly recommend you stop by Jongro 3-ga Station exit 6 for the ultimate Korean BBQ experience. Click here for an in-depth write-up on this popular “meat alley.”

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Galmaegisal 미갈매기살

Dohnui-dong 7-1, Jongro-gu (서울 종로구 돈의동 7-1)

Phone: 02-3672-0081

Hours: Open every day 3:00 ~ 10:30 pm

Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/5A8QGvYi


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