For my first meal in Seoul (and in Korea), my friends Junyoung and Juhee took Myra and me to get galmaegi, which is a particular cut of pork (the skirt) that certain popular BBQ chains are specializing in, including the one we went to (Seorae Gamaegisal).
If you are like me and had to google what skirt means, it’s the abdominal part between the belly/liver and chest/midriff. In cows at least, it’s a tougher cut to work with, and tends to be cheaper, so perhaps there are parallels to its popularity and price point. The pork is marinated, but not to the extent that sweet-tasting beef galbi or bulgogi is.
We started with some bean sprouts and scallions mixed with jang, along with a small plate of kimchi.
Most of this then went into this ring around the grill, into which the server poured beaten eggs: a cylindrical seafood pancake that cooked through the course of the meal. I liked the galmaegisal ends a little better than the pork steak, as they tended to be a little fattier and thus more interesting when charred.
I’d also been craving some cold naengmyeon, which has a wonderful vinegar broth that quenches whatever thirst I could ever have and cuts through all the meaty, smoky fat lingering from all that barbecue. Plus, when you’ve gotten through the noodles and egg, the remaining broth, with the spicy jang mixed in, turns into a richly flavored savory drinking vinegar of sorts. After dinner, we stopped by a nearby red bean ice cream shop called Ok Ru Mong, and shared these generous mounds of delicious patbingsu. The shaved ice was doused with just enough syrupy flavor, anything creamier wouldn’t have gone quite as well with the molasses-esque red bean topping and the chewy mochi balls. There are a bunch of Ok Ru Mong locations in Seoul (if you can read Korean, the site is here). Seorae Galmaegisal (Sin Mapo Galmaegisal) / 신마포갈매기
Sinsadong (other locations)
(this may be the Tripadvisor listing, but I wasn’t able to verify)
Ok-Ru-Mong Patbingsu / 옥루몽
서울 강남구 신사동 525-24
(company website / NAVER)