KOREAN BARBECUE (K-BBQ) is one of the must-eat Korean foods that you have to try when traveling to Korea.
1. K-BBQ refers to the Korean cuisine method of grilling meat (beef, pork, chicken, etc.) at the dining table. A grill and a ventilator are all ready for every table.
2. There are restaurants where waiters grill meat for you. But for other restaurants, you have to grill them by yourself.
3. People usually have a small meal after eating barbecue. It’s either rice + jjigae (찌개; a stew) or naengmyeon (냉면; cold noodles).
4. Soju is a good pair with meat, especially pork belly (삼겹살; samgyeopsal). So-maek, which is a mix of soju and beer, is also beloved by many Koreans.
One thing is… one might get rejected at a K-BBQ restaurant during its peak time if he/she goes by themselves.
(I also have this experience.)
Peak times in K-BBQ restaurants are BUSY and some restaurants want to let as many people as possible inside the restaurant. Moreover, although “eating alone” has become quite common in Korea, it hasn’t quite reached K-BBQ restaurants yet. People usually go with others to eat K-BBQ.
So, here are some tips for those who want to eat at a K-BBQ restaurant by themselves.
1. Avoid peak times*. A good time to go to a K-BBQ restaurant alone is 14:00 ~ 16:00.
(*lunch – 11:30 ~ 1:00, dinner – 18:00 ~ 20:00)
2. If you order more than 2 servings of meat, alcohol, and a meal afterwards, many restaurants let you in.
3. Visit K-BBQ restaurants that target those who want to eat alone. We’ve included two recommended restaurants on the next slide.
Here are two recommended K-BBQ restaurants for solo travelers in Korea.
Sunday – Thursday 17:00 – 22:00
Friday, Saturday 17:00 – 23:00
1F, 89, Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Located in one of the alleys of Haebangchon, 혼고 welcomes everyone who wants to relish meat. The restaurant itself isn’t spacious, but it’s perfect for solo eaters to have a seat and enjoy their “alone time” with meat. A single set, 150g of beef top blade, 150g of chicken meat, sausage, mushroom, and 1 cup of high ball, costs 39,000 won.
Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 22:00
(Break time 16:00 – 17:00)
1F, 1, Donggyo-ro 30-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
It’s only a 5-minute walk from Hongik University Station. What’s amazing about this restaurant is that you can choose a small amount of meat. You can order 50g, 100g, or more of different types of meats that you want to try. A set of 50g of sirloin, 50g of pork belly, and 50g of ribs costs 12,100 won.
And don’t forget to try 쌈 (ssam) when you eat K-BBQ!
ssamjang (쌈장; Korean spicy dipping sauce) + meat (+ other vegetables like garlic and onion) wrapped with lettuce.