Galbijjim Recommendations in Seoul

Galbijjim from Myeongdong Myeonok
Hi Seoul Eats Readers,

Vacation time is coming up and I guess people are hungry for Korean food. I got an email the other day for Galbijjim recommendations. Here is a little about the dish and my recommendations for the best places in Seoul.



Galbijjim has become one of those ubiquitous dishes that show up everywhere. The appearance of this at an event signified that this was truly a special occasion. It must have something to do with the slowly braised ribs in a seasoned soy/sesame marinade. One of the reason it is special is the rare and expensive ingredients: beef ribs. The second reason is the time it takes to make this dish. To make them very good, it could take a whole day for you have to soak the meat in water to pull out the blood and then season them, finally, you have to slowly braise them.

The center-cut of rib meat of cows is the most tender and most prized. It is this cut of meat that is used in Galbijjim: slowly braised beef in a seasoned soy marinade. The meat can be stewed with turnips, ginko nuts, chestnuts and mushrooms. The best places will score the meat so the rich seasoning seeps into the meat then braise it for up to 8 hours. The secret is in the sauce and the best places use a mix of fruits that have the right enzymes to tenderize the beef.  
One famous place, Big Tiled Roof House (Kungi wha Jip), has very tender beef that is cooked with abalone. The abalone becomes tender and soaks up the flavors of the sauce and beef. Ahn Oui Galbijjim has been serving up Galbijjim for 40 years and their giant platters of beef come out chopstick tender and the meat is lip-smacking delicious. This is a perfect dish to proclaim the New Year.

Another place I love to go is Gangnam Myeonok. Here the galbijjim is cooked so finely that it literally melts off the bone. The sauce here (note: at the original one in Gangnam...the other franchises don't do as well) is incredible. It is a soy-sesame beef gravy that has a hint of sweetness. This dish pairs well with their homemade kimchis and their beef broth soup. You’ll be eating every bit of the beef and then you’ll be using your rice to sop up all the sauce.

Now if you are looking for something spicy, I recommend some Maeun Galbijjim which comes from the city of Daegu. Now Daegu is famous for a few things: apples, pretty girls and Dongin-dong Style Spicy Garlic Braised Beef (Maeungalbijjim). Dongin-dong is the area where this dish originated.  Of course, you might not be able to make the 3.5 hour trip there, but there is a good substitute over by Sinsa Station. I must warn you: this dish is hot. It’ll leave a ring of fire around your…mouth and you’ll have to eat bowl after bowl of rice (while using the grains to sop up all the deliciously spicy, garlic sauce.) Also, there is so much garlic in this dish that your breath will be able to keep Dracula off the entire Korean peninsula. Like I said, it’s all about the sauce and if you have any left over at the end of the meal, I recommend you have the spicy fried rice. Oh, you can’t go wrong with the pork pancakes.

Name: Gangnam Myeonok 강남면옥
Address: Gangnam-gu Sinsa-dong 588-9 강남구신사동 588-9
Phone Number: 02-3446-5539 (+82 2 3446-5539)
Directions: Take a cab, almost all the drivers will know where it is.

Name: Big Tiled Roof House 큰기와집
Address: Jongno-gu Sogyeokdong 122-3
Phone Number: 02-722-9024
Hours: 11:30-10pm
Price: Lunch: 8-30,000 won Dinner: 35-80,000 a person
Directions: Go out Anguk Station Exit 3 and make a right at the intersection. At Artsonje building, make a left.

Name: Ahn Oui Galbijjim
Address: Seodaemun-gu Yeonhui-dong 189-7
Phone Number: 02-323-1109
Hours: 11:30-11pm
Price: Lunch: 7,000 won Dinner: 20,000 a person
Directions: It is located near the Seoul International School. It is best to take a cab from Shinchon Station.

Name: Dong-in-Dong
Address:  Gangnm-gu Sinsa-dong 511-5 대구동인동찜갈비, 서울 강남구 신사동 511-5
Directions: Go out Sinsa Station Exit 6 and make a right at Bean’s Bin Café. It’s about 2 block’s down on the right. There is usually a 20-minute wait.

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