Korean Food - Beef (Types, Menus, Locations)

Food in Korea | Harry

May 22, 2019

(The following text is referenced from "Beef" by - Amos Farooqi)

Hello, I am back this time to tell you some of the major food componenets of Korean food, starting from beef, pork, chicken, and ending with seafood. Although the staple part of any Korean meal is rice, people eat rice with side, or main dishes, and it is common to see any forms of meat as part of the dish.



(Photos from MBC News)


Korean Cuisine - Beef


Beef is actually a relatively recent addition to common Korean cuisine. Cows in the past, were an integral part of the agricultural workforce, thus, beef consumption was confined to once-in-a-lifetime special occasions such as weddings. As Korea's economy grew, beef became a common part of the average Korean's diet, but the price of beef remains high compared to other countries due to high import costs, and low domestic production.


The most expensive, and arguably the best quality among Korean beef is Hanwoo, Korea's indigenous cow. Hanwoo contains a lot of Oleic acid which makes the meat more savory and chewy, while others say that Hanwoo is raised using a special method to make it more suitable for Korean dishes. Thus, some foreigners may be disappointed when eating hanwoo due to its rough texture.




Guide to beef cuts:


 Part  Description  Dishes
 Moksim (Chunk Roll) Chewy, and abundant in gelatin   Steak, Barbeque
 Deungshim (Sirloin)  Soft, and juicy  Steak, Barbeque
 Chaekkeut (Loin End)  Tender and moderately blended with fat  Steak, Barbeque
 Anshim (Tender Loin)  The most tender part of beef, low fat content  Steak, Barbeque
 Woodun (Top round cap)  Smooth texture with low fat Marinated dish, bulgogi, beef jerky
‌Seoldo (Bottom round) ‌Muscle, chewy Bulgogi, beef jerky, Yukhwe (Raw Beef)
‌Galbi (Ribs) Tender, Moderately blended with fat ‌Barbeque, Marinated dish
‌Yangji (Brisket) ‌Chewy due to connective tissues Soup, Stew, Marinated dish
‌Satae (Shin foreshank) Tough, dry, low in fat ‌Soup, Stew, Marinated dish
‌Apdari (Bolar blade) Soft, but dry ‌Soup, Stew, Yukhwe, Marinated dish


1. Galbi / Sutbulgalbigui


(Photo from Korea Tourism Organization)
Galbi is a perfect combination of juicy meat and sweet soy sauce, deepened by a smoky charcoal flavor. Traditionally the marinade was made from Korean soy sauce, but nowadays, many restaurants come up with their original recipies

Almost all Korean BBQ restaurants that serve galbi, will use Sutbul, a charcoal grill. The taste of the galbi depends on the freshness of the meat, the sauce but also the charcoal grill, which gives a rich flavor that you cannot get from a normal steel grill.

You can also get Saenggalbi, which is non-marinated galbi.


Where to eat?


- Nowadays, you can easily find galbi or beef barbeque restaurants all over Korea. Marinated galbi is believed to have emerged in Suwon, in the Gyeonggi-do province. During the Chosun Dynasty, Suwon was the center of commerce in Korea, and galbi was a symbol of wealth. Suwon is famous for its Wanggalbi, which means King galbi, and you can eat galbi a size up to 15 cm long! 

- Other famous areas for galbi are Pocheon (also in the Gyeonggi Province), and Busan, with their own Haeundae-galbi.

- Prices will range about an average from 40,000 KRW ~ 45,000 KRW (per 100 g) for a hanwoo marinated short rib



2. Deungshim or Kkot Deungshim


Koreans generally prefer the fat to be evenly distributed on their beef. Sirloin, with the evenly distributed fat, is called Kkot Deungshim. Kkot means flower in Korean, and you can see the white fat among the red flesh that resembles flowers, hence is why it is called Kkot Deungshim.

This part of beef is extremely popular alongside galbi, and is one of the most expensive beef cuts. It's full of flavor, and melts away in the mouth, making it irresistable. 


Where to eat?


- Similar to galbi, you can find restaurants that serve deungshim, and kkot deungshim all over Korea. One place you can try out is Majangdong Butcher Market, and the Food Alley inside. It serves good, fresh quality meat at reasonable prices. Majangdong can be accessed by the Seoul Subway, at Majang Station (Line 5), or by the City Bus.


- Prices will average ranging from 48,000 ~ 52000 KRW for a normal Hanwoo sirloin (per 100 g), and 60,000 + KRW for a normal Hanwoo prime sirloin (kkot deungshim, per 100 g).



3. Bulgogi


(Photo by Korea Tourism Organization)
Bulgogi is one of the most famous Korean dishes, commonly made by stir-frying thin slices of beef marinated in sweet soy-based sauce. There are different recipes for bulgogi that vary by region. The taste is similar to the marinated taste of galbi, but bulgogi is much thinner, and is served without the bone.



There are several different styles of bulgogi:


1) Grilled Bulgogi: 

- Marinated Beef / Bulgogi grilled on charcoal


2) Gwangyang Bulgogi:

- Gwangyang is a district in Jeollanamdo province, and the bulgogi are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, fruit puree, sugar and other spices, which is then grilled over a charcoal fire. The meat is marinated just before being grilled.


3) Eunyang Bulgogi: 

- Eunyang is a district in Ulsan, and it consists of fine shredded marinated beef that comes out in the shape of a pancake. Again, this beef pancake is grilled on a charcoal fire at your table. 


4) Yuksu Bulgogi:

- Marinated beef that is grilled on a pan, with broth, and other ingredients such as vegetables and glass noodles.


5) Sariwon Bulgogi: 

- Bulgogi following the recipe of the Sariwon region in North Korea achieves sweetness with a fruit puree (pear or apple) instead of sugar.


6) Seoul Bulgogi:

- Thin slices of bulbogi are placed on a pan that has a dome in the middle, so that when the broth is poured on, it boils at the edges of the pan with vegetables and noodles.


7) Ttukbaegi Bulgogi: 

- An individual portion Bulgogi stew that comes out in a clay pot (ttukbaegi). It is commonly served in casual Korean restaurants like Kimbap-Cheonguk, and is much cheaper that grilled bulgogi.



4. Galbijjim


(Photo from Korea Tourism Organization)
Galbijjim is made by braising short ribs in a sweet soy sauce, with chestnuts, and other vegetables. It is served on special occasions such the traditional holidays such as Chuseok or Seollal, or is also a food served when inviting guests to your house. Unfortunately, not many restaurants serve galbijjim, as it is more of a home-cooked food.


Where to eat?


- Dongin-dong at Daegu is famous for spicy galbijjims. It is even the neighborhood in which spicy galbijjim originated from. There is even an alleyway called Dongin-dong Spicy Galbijjim Alley. Be careful as it is very spicy, so if you are not good with spicy food, you can request the staff to make it less spicy.



5. Galbi-tang



(Photo from Korea Tourism Organization)
Galbi-tang is a type of clear rib-bone soup with several meaty galbi inside, along with vegetables. These days, healthier versions exist with ginseng, jujube and other vegetables. 

It is a luxurious soup dish often cooked at households, and is a common dish served also at casual restaurants. People may find the soup salty, but you can request the staff beforehand to reduce the amount of seasoning, before being served.


Where to eat?


- You can find galbi-tang in almost any restaurant, but an excellent quality is hard to find due to the limited supply of good galbi. Within a few walking distance from Gangnam Station in Seoul, there is a restaurant named Budnamujip, which has been rated Michelin star for two consecutive years. It serves only one hundred bowls of galbitang everyday for lunch, but usually they are all sold out by 12 pm.



6. Yukhwe / Raw Beef


(Photo directly taken by Amos)
Yukhwe is thin slices of raw beef seasoned with salt, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and other spices. It is often served with an egg yolk on top, along with thinly sliced pears.

Yukhwe is one of Korea's finest delicacies and it melts in your mouth, but many foreigners may fear food poisoning. Do not worry, as no food poisoning accidents related to yukhwe have been reported in Korea.


Where to eat?


- There is a famous yukhwe alley in Seoul, inside Gwangjang traditional market. Although many of the restaurants here may have a shabby feel, it serves one of the most delicious yukhwe in Seoul. One of the restaurants 'Buchon Sikdang' was listed in Michelin Guide for two consecutive years.



6. Gobchang, Daechang and Yang gui


(Photo by Korea Tourism Organization)
Gobchang is the small intestine, Daechang is the large intestine, while the Yang gui is the tripe. Each part has a completely different texture compared to meat, but Koreans prepare it similarly; on a grill or in a stew. 

The intestine has a particular 'smell' as you put it in your mouth, due to this, Koreans find it exceptionally fitting with liquor such as soju. It is also best to eat it with vegetables or dipped in sauces.


Where to eat?


- You can find intestine barbeque in franchises such as 'Obaltan', Yeontabal', or 'Gobchanggo' all over Korea, in food alleys near business areas. There are also famous gobchang food alleys in Seoul such as Wangsimni Gobchang Alley, and Gyodae Gobchang Alley.


That is it for my post about beef, and beef menus in Korea! If you have money to spare, then you should definitely try out the beef, and hanwoo in Korea. There is a reason beef is expensive, and you'll figure out that the amazing taste makes it worth every KRW.



Welcome to my Blog


Hello, and welcome to my blog! My aim is to provide new tourists and expats information and daily tips about living in Korea. These tips will be ranging from visa, some history and overview, food, popular attractions, and general information about Korea.