What is bulgogi? Where to find the best of South Korea’s delicious barbecue meat dish


All hail Korean BBQ, surely the greatest culinary gift the Peninsula has ever given us. Diners sit around a table with a gas or charcoal grill in the middle and cook a variety of meats to their liking, paired with a range of spicy, tangy side dishes, and finish off with beer or somaek (or somaek, a type of Exciting cocktails of both). One of the most popular and delicious dishes in Korean barbecue is bulgogi: thin slices of beef—sometimes pork or chicken—marinated in soybeans, sugar, garlic, black pepper, and sesame oil, then grilled over high heat. Serve it with Some rice stuffed into lettuce leaves with ssamjang (a spicy sauce) and you’ve got yourself a delicious bite that leads to lots of beer and more roasts.


I said this dish is from South Korea, but it’s actually from the Korean peninsula, technically from what is now North Korea. Roast meat was developed in the northernmost province of Ping An on the peninsula in the early centuries BC as a skewered meat dish that gradually evolved into what we know today (the word is a compound of “fire” and “meat”) in Ping An dialect). It became popular in the South after liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945.

order there

In Seoul, head to the ever-popular Yetmat Bulgogi in Hongdae (oldbulgogi.modoo.at website) Try an old fashioned roast with stewed noodles, mushrooms and vegetables.

order here

In Sydney, visit one of the classic Korean BBQ restaurants at 678 in Haymarket or Eastwood (678sydney.com.au). Melburnians enjoy a roast at Hansang in West Melbourne (Hanshang.com).

there’s one more thing

While I’m focusing here on the popular grilled form of roast, this dish can also be something close to a soup. Ttukbaegi-bulgogi is beef stew made with roti seasoning and cooked in clay pots. And it’s delicious.

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