Korean BBQ @ Seoul National University Station

Korean BBQ, similar to KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), is ubiquitous in Seoul and can be found on practically every street corner. With endless options at your disposal, it can be pretty difficult finding the right place that satisfies one’s personal criteria for great barbecue. For me it’s pretty simple. I want a local joint that serves quality cuts at reasonable prices, serves a healthy variety of fresh lettuce greens and sides, and provides an atmosphere that wreaks of BBQ smoke and patrons downing soju shots left and right. Well, these two barbecue joints in the university district near my hood (aka Seoul National University Station) perfectly fit the aforementioned description and more. Providing locals and starved, money-strapped university students with a plethora of gogi (meat), Galmaegi Jonandan and Muhan Tongsam are doing barbecue the right way – and at half the cost of its competitors. GJ specializes in galmaegisal (no, this has nothing to do with seagulls, it’s only a homonym), a relatively new type of cut that’s become popular for its beefy texture, samgyupsal (pork belly), hangjeongsal (neck meat), and gabeurisal (cheek meat), all hovering in the 6,000 won range. In contrast, you don’t get much variety over at MT – actually you get no variety at all – but you’re propositioned with unlimited pork belly for only 9,900 won per person (2 hour limit). To be honest, I promised myself many years ago that I would avoid all-you-can-eat gogi places, but friendly recommendations and positive word of mouth nudged me to give it a try. And I’m really happy that I did because everything was pretty solid. Both places highly recommended for meat-lovers on a budget.

Back in the day when I had more disposable income and lived south of the river (Gangnam), I would frequent many of the top barbecue joints with friends and coworkers religiously after work. Most of them specialize in premium cuts of hanwoo (Korean beef) but also serve other cuts as well. Here are a few from memory: Daedo Sikdang 대도식당 (flagship location at Wangshimni, Kangnam). Nongoljip 농골집 (Nonhyun). Haven’t been here yet but it’s on my list: Saebyukjip 새벽집 (Chungdahm-dong).


Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Gaelmaegi Jonandan 갈매기 조난단

61-4 Jungnim-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Phone: 02-888-0079

Click here for an interactive map: http://map.naver.com/?mid=bl0110945421


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Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Muhan Tongsam (무한통삼)

1569-1 Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu (서울시 관악구 봉천동 1569-1)

Phone: 02-884-8592

Hours: 11am ~ 2pm open every day

Click here for an interactive map: http://me2.do/5Ge6f7XZ


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