UPDATE + EATING | The Best KBBQ I've Had in Korea01 November 2016
Feeling supez guilty for not posting on this blog as much as I initially intended to! I'm so backed up with photos and posts I want to write but working at a hagwon until almost 10pm everyday is not really conductive to side hustles. I'm gonna try harder though, no excuses! I finally got around to purchasing a card reader for my camera's SD card so now I am able to get video and content onto my computer quicker and easier. With that being said, I plan to start venturing into producing Youtube videos soon. Please look forward to my vlogs, favorites, an apartment tour, and seeing more of my face!!
This post is a throwback to October when some friends and I headed to Itaewon for dinner after spending the day in Insadong. We shared a taxi from Insadong to Itaewon and were all surprised when we jumped into the taxi to find an older woman driving. It is literally so rare in Korea to see a taxi ahjumma rather than a taxi ahjusshi. She was so nice and slowed down the car when she realized I was trying to snap photos of Namsan Tower up ahead in the distance.
We got to Itaewon in no time and strolled around the main street full of restaurants, bars, clubs, and people while chatting and reminiscing. We grabbed drinks before heading to a BBQ spot, Maple Tree House, which had caught our eye earlier when we were walking around.
Best. Decision. Ever.
If my memory serves me right, we had to wait about 10-15 minutes before we were seated. I have a new speculation these days that if you have to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated at a restaurant in Seoul the food is about to be bomb. Koreans are the ultimate foodies and they only wait in line if the place is a serious 맛집 (specialty/reputable food place) or a trending place on social media. This is also the first BBQ restaurant you notice when you walk onto the main street so I'm sure that draws in a bunch of people as well.
We ordered 삼겹살 (pork belly), which is a Korean BBQ staple if you didn't already know, as well as a beef option and veggies. The pork belly was particularly from black pig in Jeju Island so I'm assuming the quality is very different from your typical run-of-the-mill pork belly. The meat and veggies were all prepared for us on the grill in the middle of the table and once the meat was completely cooked the waitress divided up the meat onto each of our separate dishes.
We ate the meat dipped in ssamjang (the typical KBBQ dipping sauce) or a sesame oil and salt mixture and then wrapped it in a piece of lettuce or perilla leaf with kimchi. You might think you'd lose the taste of the meat in the midst of all these flavors but that's definitely not the case. If you've never had a mouthful of ssam, you need to head to a quality KBBQ restaurant immediately. You're missing out.
I don't know if it was because this was the first time I had eaten KBBQ since I arrived Korea or if it was just so truly delicious but I almost cried. It was that good. Not only was the meat amazing but the side dishes were also to die for. Especially this soft tofu dish doused in soy sauce and chili pepper paste pictured below.
단풍나무집 - 이태원점 Maple Tree House Itaewon
Address | 서울특별시 용산구 이태원로27가길 26 (이태원동)
(26, Itaewon-ro 27ga-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul)
Take Line 6 to get to Itaewon 이태원 Station!
You might find many other fun things to check out while roaming this foreigner district in Seoul. Itaewon has many interesting bars, like the one pictured below that we headed to after dinner, that cater to a wide variety of tastes. Itaewon also neighbors Hannam-dong, which I took you guys to in my very first cafe hopping post!
Talk to you again soon!