Non-Korean Eats, Southeastern Seoul, The Best of Seoul

Review: Mercado Brazilian Restaurant

Take a Stake through the Rump at Mercado, Brazilian Steakhouse

By Daniel Gray

Lee Min-Hyuk, owner of Mercado Brazilian Steak House believes in authenticity. Having lived in Brazil in 3 years, he has done his best to bring the true churrasco experience to Seoul. In order to properly recreate this experience, he has even brought Brazilian chefs to Korea to create a festive atmosphere with plentiful amounts of meat. Here, the meat is the meal and the show.

While you are seated, you will see an assortment of sides and sauces. There are pickles, salsas, buttery rice, mash potatoes, and a salad. These are there in case, you get tired of eating plate after plate of freshly charcoaled meat. The one side you might ask for seconds on is their red, spicy pimenta sauce. Made with red peppers, garlic, vinegar and whatever else, this sauce was the perfect accent to the garrisons of meat that came forth.

The meal starts when you see large a Brazilian man brandishing meat that has been run through with a large sword. He’ll come over to your table and ask if you would like some delicious Australian beef rump tips. These are exquisite because the sizzling fat leaves a sheen of lip-smacking grease over the juicy meat. After you enjoying this, the man will return again to slice juicy sirloin with rosy dollops of blood. He’ll keep coming to your table with all manner of beasts: beef ribs, beef with garlic, beef wrapped with bacon, the best roasted chicken drumsticks in Korea and even chicken hearts. Here the meat is the centerpiece of the meal and you can eat until you burst (and it is something that they encourage with sadistic generosity).

White-hot charcoal makes animals delicious. The veal is soft, plush and tender like a baby (pun intended); the steak wrapped in fire roasted bacon is awe-inspiring; the chicken hearts were like meat M&M’s; and the garlic meat was mmm…mmm…good. 

Mercado has a limited wine selection, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. Their wines are reasonably priced with Sangria priced at 35,000 a pitcher and Archangel Shiraz priced at 65,000 won. True to form, there isn’t a white wine on the menu (it’s a churrascaria after all).

When I asked Min-Hyuk if he ever stopped anyone from eating too much meat he said plainly, “No, there is only so much meat a person can eat.” You can indicate you’ve had your fill by turning over the red or green colored totem- this is the only thing that will stop the meat brandishing men from visiting your table.

Looking around the busy restaurant, I noticed it had a very diverse crowd. Within earshot, I could hear people speaking in English, French, Korean and German. I wondered how Mr. Lee had created a restaurant with us such a diverse clientele. He said, “My philosophy is that we want to give everyone the perfect experience. It’s very international here because we want people to come here to enjoy themselves. Come here and have your meat and your wine, we welcome it. We don’t even open for lunch, because we want to concentrate on dinner.”

I wish more restaurateurs would follow his vision- we would more quality places to go eat at.


3-Stars out of 4

Nonhyeon-dong 95-16 Yeongjin Building 2nd Floor (Across the street from Apgujeong Cinecity)


Open Monday-Friday 4:30-10:30pm Saturday, Sunday 4pm to 10:30pm

Price: 29,000 all you can eat per person

Reservations recommend

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Cooking, Food News

Couples Faceoff in our Intermediate BBQ Cooking Class!

My buddy Susanna and her lover, Sugan, are a wonderful couple- except for one thing: they are ultra competitive. So competitive in fact, that when they signed up for our Intermediate BBQ cooking class, I was a bit worried. I didn’t know if this class might get a bit too heated (pun intended).  They were perfect students during the lesson part of the class, but when it came time to cook, they were very focused, words were exchanged, and there were a few elbows thrown. 
In the end, they made an array of well presented side-dishes and bbq meat dishes. They had asked me who won the competition. I told them it was a tie. They wouldn’t take that as an answer, so I was asked to critic honestly.  You’ll have to ask Susanna and Sugan what I said.
If you are interested in signing up for Korean cooking classes, contact us at or e-mail at ongofood at ongofood dot com
Food News, Korean Eats, Video

The Crew from PF Chang’s Eats Korean BBQ

You’ll also see me in the video.

Here’s Alice’s write-up:

Forgive me for the puntastic title. I couldn’t help myself. (To all my MAS students, I offer you my utmost apologies for breaking our cardinal rule).

Garlic. Fire. A touch of chaos. The trifecta that best describes Korean BBQ, in a nutshell. We landed in the semi-arctic tundra of Seoul and headed straight to Myungdong, an insanely busy shopping area that makes Times Square seem like a nursing home. The ever so gracious Daniel Gray, a food blogger and Korean cuisine expert, whisked us through the endless crowd to a traditional Korean barbecue restaurant. Finally. This was the meal I was looking forward to. We were in my motherland, and we were about to chow down on some inherently social food. A perfect way to kick off the visit.
One thing that I’d love to see at Pei Wei is a version of a Korean BBQ lettuce wrap. Chef Eric mentioned that they are toying with the idea, and I’m going to keep pushing for it. I’m sure he can recreate the same magic that we found in that smoky, chaotic and toasty tent. Now, where’s my Febreeze at?

So…according to the blog, hopefully we’ll soon be seeing some Korean dishes at PF Chang’s!

Come take a cooking class or take a Culinary Tour in Seoul!

Pictures are taken either with my Panasonic DMC-G2 Camera with 20mm Lens or with my iPhone 4G
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Korean Eats

Raspberry Shaved Ice and BBQ Bossam

Man oh man, it has been a busy week. Our company is finishing up our
move to our new fifty person studio in Insadong after a month of
reconstruction. I will post pictures of the place soon.

I am in love with the area, because I am right down the street from
Changdeokgung. After working all day my staff and I had dinner at BBQ
Bossam right down the street. This place specializes in slowly roasted
pork belly. It was so good.

After dinner, I took a walk into the hanok village (Korean traditional
Houses) and I found a wonderful raspberry shaved ice cafe. It is was
very simple: shaved ice, raspberries, and raspberry juice- red beans
on the side. It also came with a piece of corn! The cafe, Margot, was
attached to a Buddhist monastery and they were kind enough to give me
a tour if their facilities.

I wondered a bit longer into alleys near Insadong and I was surprises
to find a new tent restaurant mall. This place had like 20 small snack
vendors in a newly constructed and well lit strip. I will have to go

Down this little alley, I also stumbled upon a smoked meats
restaurant. They were smoking duck, pork belly, and chicken. I will
have to return to this place for dinner.


Margot Cafe
110-280 Seoul Jongro-gu, Wonseo-dong 129-5
02 747 3152

Barbecue Bossam
Jongro-gu, Myodong 147 bonji
02 3675 9031

Done Zone (Smoked Duck, Pork Belly)
Jongro-gu Insadong 263 (Jongak Station (Subway Line 1) Exit 3)

- Posted from my iPhone
Sent from my iPod

Original: Seoul Eats/ Blogger Version

Korean Barbecue Restaurant Recommendations

Often, I am asked to give restaurant recommendations in Seoul. I decided to post that information here as well, so you can also find good eats in the city. Chef Anna Kim’s friend specifically asked for some Korean Barbecue restaurants, so here is a short list with contact information.

Dear 김아나,

Here is a list of recommended restaurants for your friend. There are more restaurants on my site

  • Bossam: Gung Jung Bossam has four locations across Seoul, to get to the one featured, take Subway Line 2 to Guro Digital Area, get out exit 3, and walk towards the Colon Science Billie building. Tel: 02.2025.2999
  • Bonga: It’s a Korean BBQ with very thinly sliced 우삼겹 (beef with fat layers) and lots of salad and side dishes. The place is called 본가 (Bonga). If you take exit 5 of Hongdae station, turn left before Pascucci, then turn right at the first possible street. The restaurant is on the right side of this street, you need to climb the outside stairs to get to the entrance.
  • Eel at Jangeorang Hongdae. 2F, Samuk Bldg., 6-137, Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 02-333-1455  Lunch Prices: 10-15,000 won per person. Dinner Prices: 15-30,000 won per person. Hours: Open from 10am-11pm everyday. Reservations recommend for large groups. Parking is available.
  • Hongik Sootbul Kalbi, near Hongik University, 82-2-322-4487; 15,000 won a person.

The High End Places:

  • Hankukkwan for raw beef and great bbq: 02-3464-5450

I hope this is helpful for your friend. If he needs someone to join him, I’d be happy to join him for a meal.