I saw THIS on my FB wall a couple of days ago, and I’ve been craving for Korean food since!
Yea, I get one of those Korean barbecue yearnings once in a while. In fact, it’s been happening way too often for my liking! I don’t know what it is about Korean barbecue that appeals to me so much. Yea, it’s definitely about the yummy factor. But there’s something else too! Maybe it’s the sitting together to grill meat, and to eat and drink. The ambience’s typically casual, even noisy.
And I love that the tables are usually round. I think round tables are the bestest! Everyone gets to see and hear everyone at round tables which is fab! If it’s up to me, all group tables in homes and restaurants will be round! Then again, if it’s up to me, zebra crossings will be painted pink too, haha!
I know there’re like a godzillion barbecue restaurants in Seoul, and I’m sure many, many are really good too. That said, I still wanna share about this popular joint that I like – SAEMAUL SIKDANG (새마을 식당)
Saemaul Sikdang is actually quite popular amongst the locals and increasingly, they’re becoming fairly well-known amongst the foreigners. In fact, some of you might be happy to hear that they have English and Chinese menus too; so just ask. Now Saemaul Sikdang is actually a chain, but I keep going to their HONGDAE BRANCH. But from what I’ve read, I believe they’re good everywhere, so go on ahead and try the other branches, ya?
Here’s how the Hongdae one looks like.
This place is super value-for-money and of course, as you probably know by now, booze is really really cheap in Korea. So there you have it, a fab place to eat, drink and make merry!
What else can one ask for? Oh, maybe for it to be 24/7!
Yes, it is open 24-hours, hee!
The menu’s actually quite simple, and yup, yup, prices are very affordable!
Wondering what to order? Here are what I recommend!
It appears that one of the star items at Saemaul Sikdang is the Yeoltan Bulgogi (spicy thin pork), or hehe, I refer to it as the ‘curly meat’. The thinly sliced pork tastes sweet and spicy at the same time and many of us absolutely love it!
Zzang! The ‘BEFORE‘ photo of the yeoltan bulgogi!
And, here’s the ‘AFTER‘! Told you it’s ‘curly meat’!
Our Korean friend shared with us her fave way of eating the meat. She said she always orders the cold noodles and eat the ‘curly meat’ together with the noodles.
Here, the cold noodles. Looks spicy, but it ain’t.
To be honest, I was very very skeptical when she told me to eat the ‘curly meat’ with the cold noodles. I was like, “Are you sure?”
But aigooooooo…. it only took just one try to move me to being a fan!
Who would have thought that this combination would be so beautiful??? Anyway, kindda ‘strange’ to some of us that the Koreans like ordering rice or noodles to wrap up their BBQ meal. Not too full meh? *curious*
Now, moving on to the second item that I’ve circled, the salted pork. I had gone to Saemaul Sikdang three times during this recent trip to Seoul, and we’d ordered the salted pork all three times, hehe! Guess it’s obvious I really liked it, huh?
Another popular menu is the 7-minute Kimchi Jjjigae with Pork.
I love this! So flavorful! And oh, quite many locals seem to like this too, judging from what I saw during my visits there.
The server will bring you pork in kimchi stew served in one of Korea’s signature ‘golden pot’, rice and also seaweed in a cylindrical container. If you’re wondering about the name, it’s because the restaurant believes that seven minutes is the perfect time to cook the pork and kimchi in the stew so that it’s perfectly done. Basically you can place the pot onto the BBQ grill and wait seven minutes. There’s a stopwatch at the tables if you care to look, feel free to use it, hehe!
This is good! And it’s even better when you’re super hungry! I always add lots of the yummylicious seasoned seaweed, so goooood! Actually I’ve often wondered why kimchi tastes sooooo yummylicious with pork! And tofu too!
Sorry the photos are so bad… didn’t check before I dug in!
Hands up, those of you who had tried pig skin here in Singapore after watching Secret Garden!
I haven’t tried that many here, actually I don’t even think there’re many Korean restaurants here that serve pig skin. Anyway, just wanna say the texture and taste of pig skin are sooooo different here in Singapore and in Korea!
If you’d tried it here and didn’t like it, I strongly recommend you give it another go when you’re in Seoul. And if you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?
I love the pig skin at Saemaul Sikdang! It’s less oily and super yummy! And lord knows if it really helps, but I’ll just believe that the collagen’s really good for my skin.
SAEMAUL SIKDANG (새마을 식당)
367-6 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Subway: Hongik Uni (Hongdae), Exit 9
Walk into the crowded street on the left (you should see a street cart selling doggy clothes and also some street food), keep going until you come to a bigger road. You will see lots of eateries branching from left of road, and shopping on right of road. Turn left and keep walking until you come to Saemul Sikdang on your right. It’s about 3-5 minutes’ walk.
And yes, exit 9 is actually nearer, but most tourists are more familiar with Exit 9.