Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bulgogi: A Tabletop Tour

One of the most common types of restaurants in Korea is the bulgogi restaurant.  Bulgogi is basically thin steak that is grilled at the table.  Here's how it works generally (there is some variation on the table design and cooking arrangements at each restaurant):  First, if the tables are low and diners sit on the floor, they must remove their shoes at the door before walking onto the dining room floor.  The ojossi will bring to some small cups, a bottle of water, and some moist towelettes or washclothes for hand-cleaning.  The center of each table has a small inset barbeque pit for holding hot coals.  Over the coals rests a metal rack.  Over all of this is a metal vacuum tube that sucks away all the smoke.  Marinated raw meat is brought to the table.  Diners cook their own meat on the rack and chop it into bite-sized pieces with heavy-duty scissors so that the meat can be picked up easily with chopsticks.  There is also the option to grill garlic and hot peppers.  The meat is eaten straight from the grill, dipped in spicy bean paste, and/or wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaves.  Along with the meat, a series of side dishes is served.  The side dishes vary depending on the restaurant.  Some restaurants serve a much better display than others.  I went to one the was particularly generous and interesting in its array of side dishes.  Here's a quick video of the arrangement followed by a brief key. 

At the center is meat cooking atop hot coals.

Then clockwise:

Spicy bean sprouts
Shredded cabbage with salad dressing
Kim Chi next to Spicy bean paste
Tiny chilled sea snails (suck on the end to get them out of the shell)
Raw meat in the top left (barely shown)
More spicy bean sprouts
Spicy shredded green onions
Fermented cabbage leaves (not spicy)
Sea lettuce
Lettuce leaves
Vegetable pancakes
Cold seaweed soup

Mashikke tuseyo!

1 comment:

  1. Cool! thanks for sharing this, Kris has his teaching clothes on, LOL