Monday, November 23, 2009

Beautiful Korean Barbecue House

Here is the article I wrote for the Seoul Tourism Website. Please go to this link and leave a comment because they are one of my sponsors.


Grilled Australian Beef with Garlic...ymmm...

With the numerous Korean barbecue restaurants in Seoul, it might be hard to find one that stands out from the rest.

One of my favorites, however, is in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong neighborhood and they differentiate themselves by offering top quality meat, original menu choices, and dessert.
Hwajang Hangogi House is a local favorite and the clientele include many local families that live close by; it’s a meet up for old friends who have been going for years, and it’s a place for foodies looking for a good meal. The restaurant’s name translates to “Beautiful Korean Barbecue House,” but the locals have shortened it to “Hwago Jip.”

Rustic Interior with great food.

The restaurant’s interior has a traditional feel- rustic walls and straw mats and seat cushions for floor seating (For those that don’t like to sit on the floor, they have western style tables). The service is very cordial and friendly. Each time I’ve visited, the managers and waitresses treat me like I am a returning friend. They are also patient when I ask questions about the food and I feel I can trust their recommendations.
Their Australian beef is red and well-marbled. A hefty portion for two costs only 22,000 won and you’ll get a nice mix of side dishes. I personally love the steamed egg in a stone bowl and their corn topped with cheese.

The charcoal they use to cook the meat comes out very hot, so the beef sears quickly without losing any of its delicious juices. The charcoal also adds a smoky, rich taste to the meat. I like to take the meat and dip it into the red ssamjang sauce, top it with a roasted clove of garlic, and wrap it in a perilla leaf before eating. This is what I call my “beef and leaf special.”
Hot Coals will sear the beef instantly-sealing in all the juices.

After the meat course, it’s time for some doenjang kalguksu: a house speciality. Doenjang is a soybean stew often eaten with rice, while kalguksu is a knife-cut pasta soup. Hwago Jip decided to combine these two perennial Korean favorites into one, hence, the doenjang kalguksu! This is an excellent soup to finish out your meaty meal and it’s similar to a spicy miso ramen.
If that’s too creative for you, you could also have spicy sofu tofu stew, the pungent cheonggukjang stew, the hearty yukgaejang, or the spicy pepper beef stew.
The side dishes are good as well. Here is Tengjang Stew, Corn topped with cheese and steamed egg.

After your meal, you will be surprised with a small dish of yogurt ice cream. The tart, slightly sweet taste of the yogurt is a refreshing way to end your meal. They make the yogurt at the shop as well. Since the free cup is quite small, I’ve often asked for a full order because it’s just that good.
Hwago Jip is a place that many barbecue restaurants in Korea should use as a model. I would be proud to take a new visitor to Korea to this restaurant, because I feel it epitomizes the best that Seoul has to offer.

Here is the Tengjang Calguksu
Daniel Gray works for O’ngo Food Communications. You can follow his food adventures at
And don't forget to have the frozen yogurt.

Hwajang Hangogi Jip

Directions: Go out Cheongdam Station (Line 7) Exit 7 and walk past the Hill State Apartments and make a right at the large intersection. It’s on the opposite side of the road next to Woori Bank.

Contact: 02-3452-7895