Galbi/kalbi is essentially barbecued short ribs marinated in a sweetish soya sauce. Typically beef, it can also be pork, and to a less common degree, chicken.
Our first dinner was probably one of the more memorable ones. Apparently an eating institution for over 45 years, this place is really popular. And for good reason too, as it sells hanu (Korean beef), at much cheaper prices than many other establishments – KRW14,000 per 150g. Hanu is much desired amongst the locals, and while I don’t have any online references regarding its quality, there were some incredibly marbled cuts available in the Lotte World Shopping Mall’s food section (pictures forgotten!).
We went early at 5pm to avoid the crowd. Upon entering, we were shown to a BBQ grill pit, and before we could say anything else, a clean grill was placed atop the smouldering charcoal. Near simultaneously, some ssamjang, seasoned soya sauce, garlic in seasoned soya sauce and fresh chillies were placed. Ordering food was easy; there was only 1 item on the menu. Using body language (4 fingers), I indicated that I wanted 4 portions of the beef.
A staff member promptly appeared with the galbi, sliced them up into strips and tossed them onto the grill, reappearing occasionally to turn the meat over. Meanwhile, our party of 4 stood and chatted, mainly as there was no seating here; this was standing room only.
Soon, the beef was cooked. Tastewise, they were absolutely delicious and really tender. Also, the open charcoal grill added a great smoky aroma, although it did permeate into our clothes. Sadly, we weren’t as well prepared as some of the other patrons, who came with their own rice and kimchi, as this restaurant only provides the beef and the condiments mentioned in the paragraph above.
Altogether, the meal cost KRW59,000, inclusive of a large bottle of Cass beer. Water is self served via a water fountain, while I self served the beer myself (language barriers and all). As we were leaving at just before 6 pm, a queue was starting to form outside, so getting early is essential to avoid time-wasting.
Seo Seo Galbi (서서갈비)
Add: 109-69 Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Directions: Subway Line 2, Sinchon Station, exit 7. Walk straight to the first set of traffic lights and cross the street. Seo Seo Galbi is just up the steep hill on your right.