When you travel internationally, exploring the cuisine of the hosting country is one of the best parts of the experience. On the other hand, sometimes ordering exactly what you want is not as easy as it sounds, especially at the real hidden-gem restaurants that only locals know. Let’s go over the list of Korean dishes that you will see on the menu at Korean restaurants, starting with Korean BBQ restaurants. There is a variety of Korean barbecue restaurants, but beef BBQ and pork BBQ are the major ones.
How To Read Menu at Korean Beef BBQ Restaurant
Many Korean Beef BBQ restaurants serve the meat in various ways, but 생갈비 (saenggalbi) and 양념갈비 (yangnyeomgalbi) are the two items you would see on the menu most frequently:
- 갈비 /gal-bi/ is one of the most popular (and considered a luxury dining) Korean barbeques. It means the short ribs and technically it could be both pork short ribs (돼지갈비 /dwae-ji-gal-bi/) and beef short ribs (소갈비 /so-gal-bi/). However, in general, when people say just 갈비, it means beef short ribs. Grilling them on the charcoal at the table is the most common way to barbecue them. When you grill 갈비 on charcoal, you call it 숯불갈비 /sut-bul-gal-bi/. 숯불 /sut-bul/ means a fire from charcoals.
- 생갈비 /saeng-gal-bi/ is fresh beef short ribs that are neither frozen nor marinated.
- 양념갈비 /yang-nyeom-gal-bi/ is made with beef short ribs that have been pre-marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, and other spices such as red pepper flakes, ginger, and black pepper depending on chefs or restaurants.
- 육회 /yuk-hoe/ is a Korean dish made with raw beef that is thinly sliced or finely minced and then seasoned with various ingredients. In yukhoe, the cuts of beef are typically tender and lean, such as sirloin or tenderloin, and pear, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and other seasonings are other ingredients. Sometimes, yukhoe may also include raw egg yolk, pine nuts, or sliced vegetables like cucumber or onion. It is similar to a Western tartare or a Levantine kibbeh nayeh.
Cuts of Korean Beef
The other popular way for Korean restaurants to serve meat for Korean barbeque is by offering a menu with a variety of cuts:
- 안심 /an-sim/ is a tenderloin cut, also known as beef tenderloin or fillet, which comes from the loin area of the cow. It is a very lean and tender cut with a mild flavor.
- 등심 /deung-sim/ is a sirloin cut, which comes from the upper back of the cow. It is a lean cut with a moderate amount of fat and a slightly firmer texture than tenderloin.
- 꽃등심 /kkot-deung-sim/ is a cut of beef that is taken from the center of the sirloin. It is a more premium part than regular sirloin, and this part is tender and has marbling. It has a rich flavor.
- 차돌박이 /cha-dol-ba-gi/ is a thin slice brisket of beef. It is a heavily marbled cut with a rich flavor and a slightly chewy texture.
- 갈비살 /gal-bi-sal/ is a cut of beef from the short ribs without bone.
- 모듬구이 /mo-deum-gu-i/ is an assorted dish of meats or cuts for grilling. The kinds of meat or cut would depend on the restaurant’s specialty; at a Korean beef barbeque restaurant, 모듬구이 means a dish of assorted cuts of beef. 모듬 /mo-deum/ means “assortment” or “variety.”
- 특수부위 /teuk-su-bu-wi/ is another assorted dish and yet this includes special parts or cuts of beef (or, again, depending on the specialties). The name, indeed, explains all: 특수 /teuk-su/ means special or something special, and 부위 /bu-wi/ means parts or cuts. This assorted dish usually includes parts that are not as widely known as galbi or deungshim (sirloin).
You will see often “한우 (Hanwoo)” on the sign or menu at Korean beef restaurants. Hanwoo is a breed of cattle that is native to Korea. Because of its quality, tenderness, and flavor, the meat of Hanwoo is more expensive and highly praised.
If you are really into Korean beef dishes, ‘Hanwoo Rhapsody‘ on Netflix is good to watch.
How To Read Menu at Korean Pork BBQ Restaurant
Korean Pork BBQ restaurants usually serve meat by cuts including 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal), 목살 (moksal), 항정살 (hangjeongsal), and more:
- 삼겹살 /sam-gyeop-sal/ is a cut of pork belly. In the pork belly category, you can find more varieties like 오겹살 /o-gyeop-sal/ meaning five-layer pork belly compared to three layers of 삼겹살 and 대패삼겹살 /dae-pae-sam-gyeop-sal/, very thinly sliced for grilling. Samgyeopsal is popular for its fatty texture and rich flavor.
- 목살 /mok-sal/ is a cut of pork neck. In other cuisines, Boston butt or pork shoulder would be the similar part.
- 항정살 /hang-jeong-sal/ is a cut of pork jowl. It has a slightly chewy texture and a rich flavor.
- 가브리살 /ga-beu-ri-sal/ is a cut of pork from the part between the neck (moksal) and sirloin (deungsim). It is fattier than other parts, making it tender and flavorful.
- 갈매기살 /gal-mae-gi-sal/ is a cut of pork from the part between the diaphragm and liver area. This cut is popular for its chewy and juicy meat.
- 돼지껍데기 /dwae-ji-kkeop-de-gi/ refers to the skin of the pig. Koreans often cook them until crispy and it is popular as food for drinks.
- 돼지갈비 /dwae-ji-gal-bi/ is pork ribs. Like beef, it comes with two options for fresh meat or marinated. In contrast to beef BBQ, 양념돼지갈비 /yang-nyeom-dwae-ji-gal-bi/ is more popular and widely spread.
For Samgyeopsal lovers, Netflix’s ‘Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody‘ is a good show.
Related Post: Korean Food (Beef Dishes)
Related Post: Korean Food (Pork Dishes)
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