Cover Story: the 100 Best Dishes – Food with Friends

Words and shots by Seok-won Jang

Grab a group of your coworkers or closest pals when you head out to try these gastronomic gems. Social atmospheres and shareable portions will turn your meal into a bonding experience.

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Hanwoo 1++ Sirloin Steak

Two Horn Sirloin (투뿔등심), Seoul W29,000

Korea’s native premium beef, hanwoo, is known for its perfect marbling and flavor. Grill up a cut of the highest-rated 1++ hanwoo steak yourself, then top it off with vinegar, green onion, and a lettuce wrap. Like your steak with wine? Bring your own—Two Horn Sirloin offers free corkage. Reservations recommended. 97-7 Nonhyun-dong, Gangnam-gu. 02-3448-5646

Unlimited Tuna Hwae

The Chamchi, Seoul W48,000 – W120,000

Tuna is one fish you don’t eat fresh. Frozen as soon as it’s caught, tuna’s taste depends on your chef’s defrosting skill—meaning that the best tuna sashimi chefs have the freedom to open up shop in Seoul.  The Chamchi in Gangnam prepares the highest quality tuna with impeccable skill. Courses are unlimited and offered based on the cut of fish. 836 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu. 02-3452-6745

 

Fusion Chadol-bagi with Garlic Leaves

Pungwol, Seoul W30,000

Enjoy Seoul-meets-Tokyo delicacies in peace at this fusion izakaya, which offers diners private rooms. Try the chadol-bagi, a beef brisket that melts in your mouth after just a short grill. Served with garlic leaves and wraps, these thinly-sliced cuts are barbecue like you’ve never tasted it before. 177-13 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu. 02-515-1040

 

Wasabi Cream Sauce Shrimp

Lishan, Seoul W28,000

Wasabi plus cream is a hard combo to master, but Lishan gets it right with this dish. Take a big bite for a shock of wasabi spice followed immediately by the soothing tang of cream. This fine dining venue serves their shrimp with caramelized walnuts, adding a third tier of taste. 1F of Samsung Jeonja Building, 1320-10 Seocho-2dong, Seocho-gu. 02-587-6700

 

Tong Galbi 

Myeongweolgwan at Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel, Seoul W40,000

This massive Tong Galbi, meaning “the whole rib”, satisfies any craving you might have for an unadulterated meat fest. As a rib meat, galbi is tough and therefore usually heavily seasoned. But the Sheraton serves only the juiciest, thickest, highest quality beef rib available, meaning you can enjoy the meaty taste of unseasoned galbi in its purest form.
177 Gwangjin-gu. 02-450-4595

 

Black Pig Ogyupsal

Samdayeon, Seoul W15,000 – W29,000

Jeju Island is famous for its black pig pork cultivated from a type of swine that, unnervingly, used to be raised on a diet of human feces. While these “poo pigs” no longer eat droppings, the breed itself has a uniquely smoky taste that is prized around the peninsula. Try black pig with a special Seoul panache at this ogyupsal barbecue, which serves it with the sweet, chewy skin still attached. 725-23 Yeoksam-dong Gangnam-gu. 02-552-9283

 

Fried Anago and Ggom Eel with Soju

Sham House (Eongteori Jip), Busan W20,000

Most Koreans will tell you that the best reason to eat eel is that it’s “good for men’s health”. But buttery, chewy eel is also the perfect dish to have alongside a glass of soju. For your next night out, try this tasty combination of smooth anago eel and the smaller, chewier ggom eel broiled with vegetables in a savory spicy sauce. 105-1 Namhang-dong 3ga, Yeongdo-gu. 051-416-8286

 

Nanja Wanseu

IlPumHyang, Busan W16,000

When you arrive at Busan Station, head straight for Chinatown to try the belly-filling courses at IlPumHyang. Don’t expect any jjajjangmyun—instead, go for the popular Nanja Wanseu, a platter of juicy fried meatballs topped with vegetables and smothered in a thick garlicky sauce. Pair them with the handmade potstickers for a meal that will keep you full ‘til next week. 616 Cholyang-1dong, Dong-gu. 051-467-1016

 

Baked Shellfish (Chogae Gui) 

Mipoggeut Jip, Busan W40,000

Head to the end of Haeundae for an authentic seaside dinner with an authentic seaside view. Though it’s served with sesame oil and  salt in Seoul, baked shellfish in Busan is enjoyed with a garnish of red pepper paste grilled with vegetables over your open fire. Wash it all down with C1, the region’s bitter local soju.

 

1Abalone Porridge (전복죽) Auntie Jo’s Number 9 (조씨아줌마 9번

W20,000 for four servings

Fill up on the freshest abalone juk around at Auntie Jo’s, an oceanside pojangmaja tent restaurant run by a Haenyo (one of Korea’s famed woman divers). The wind blowing off the ocean might be cold, but the abalone you’ll be eating will have been caught and cooked that day, if not that hour. Yeonhwari Port #9, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. 011-833-2972

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25-jangSeok-won Jang, known online only by his nickname of “Pooh”, is the owner and writer behind Bear Doll’s Lifestyle. He was named a Naver Food Power Blogger from 2008 to 2009. Check out his food reviews and ever-popular “3 PM Dessert Obsession” series at blog.naver.com/mike8283.

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