Old-School Korean BBQ – Lunch at Woo Rae Ok, Daechi, Seoul

We were staying in a quiet part of Gangnam (at the Novotel Ambassador, in case you were wondering), and were in search of bulgogi.  Via Seoulistic, we’d come across Woo Rae Ok, a well-known barbecue restaurant first opened in 1946, which had a location a short fifteen-minute taxi ride to the south.

So with a reservation from the concierge, off we went.  When we arrived, we knew we were probably onto something good: the locals were out in mass, with plenty of families and elderly Koreans bedecked in tweed mulling about in the foyer.  And Wooraeok still gave off a traditionalist vibe, with servers in conservative uniform and a no-shoes communal table area next to our booth.

House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea InteriorThe holy grill.  A classy copper, no less.House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea GrillWe munched on some kimchi and cold vegetable soup while we waited.House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Soup KimchiThe servers brought out the condiments just as they were getting ready to cook our bulgogi.House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Lettuce House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Lettuce 2 House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea CondimentsAnd there it is:House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Bulgogi 1A luscious dome of gorgeous, thinly-sliced beef, the tangy aroma of marinade sizzling on the grill.House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Bulgogi 2 House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Bulgogi 3For good measure, we also got some galbi, which was subtly marbled, not in big swathes like a ribeye, but minute veins of fat like top-end Japanese beef.House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Galbi House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Galbi 3I ate my galbi with liberal chunks of raw garlic, but that’s because I have both a love of raw garlic and also a girlfriend of many years who doesn’t care because, not coincidentally, she also loves garlic. House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Galbi GarlicThe last thing was a bowl of naengmyeon, which featured chewy buckwheat noodles, a few slices of brisket, fresh daikon and scallions, and a generous pour from a kettle of golden beef broth.  Each ingredient’s consistency and quality was probably superior to the few other naengmyeons that I’ve had, but the flavors were excessively clean and subdued, the broth in particular.  House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Naengmyeon 1House of Haos Wooraeok Daechi Gangnam Seoul Korea Naengmyeon 2

Wooraeok
983-13 Daechi-dong
Gangnam-gu, Seoul

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