One of the things you must eat in Korea is BBQ. Specifically, the Korean Hanwoo or Hanu beef. As a side note, one of the hard things about travelling in Korea is multiple ways to spell the same thing. I think it has to do with translation and pronunciation. Hanwoo beef is like the Wagyu of Korea. In my opinion, it is a far better beef. It is well marbled like Wagyu but not as fatty making it more well balanced. You can also eat more of it as you will not be overwhelmed by fat. It is always extremely soft in texture.
Although there are many BBQ places all throughout Seoul, I wanted a more upscale experience for our first dinner. Woorahman is a bbq restaurant that has a tasting menu format.
There is a bar area and then private rooms for diners like we saw throughout Korea.
Korean BBQ is almost always done at the table. Make sure they are using charcoal for the best flavor, and not just gas.
The restaurant also specializes in whisky pairings which I opted for. The meal started with an amuse.
…and then the beef was presented (3 different cuts).
The staff will cook it for you, and they bring more side dishes while you wait for the cooking to be completed.
A Korean meal must include side dishes (usually a huge abundance of them) also know as banchan. They change daily depending on what vegetables are available (but one staple always there is kimchi). The restaurant will bring these out free and you can ask for refills. Also, Koreans wrap their BBQ meat in lettuce with various sauces (usually gochujung or samjung which is the red paste used in many Korean dishes) and other toppings like rice. You eat it in one bite. I found that Korean meals were very nutritious because of the abundance of leafy green side dishes with many of them fermented.
Also, Koreans eat a lot of garlic! I did not realize how much garlic they ate until this trip. They eat whole cloves both raw and lightly grilled, usually with each bite of meat.
The banchan below included the restuarant’s take on kimchi. I did not enjoy this version as I found that the anchovies overpowered everything.
Finally, the first cut was ready and it was heavenly.
More dishes followed.
…and the chefs proceed to grill the next cuts…
…while more side dishes were brought out…
…the next cut ready to be wrapped and eaten…by the way, the first cut was our favorite. They told us it was tenderloin, and the next two were good, but not as good as the first.
The staff also cooked some fish in an envelope which I found to be dry, but out local friend who we were dining with told us it was the correct texture for the dish.
The last savory dish was noodles. I found that in Korea, like other Asian countries, the carbs are served last (in contrast to Italians who serve pasta earlier in the meal).
…and a nice simple dessert to finish (ice cream was not house made).
Overall this was a great first meal in Korea. Service was very good as it generally is in Korea. The meal was about $150 pp not including the whisky pairing. This is expensive compared to other bbq places in Korea. I found that in general, Korea is a cheap place to eat compared to other places in the world with such a sophisticated food culture. I would recommend this place as a special occasion, or date night spot. However, there are places you can have Hanu beef less expensive. 8/10