‘Samgyeopsal’ is one of the most loved menu among Koreans. (I know it is not easy to pronounce this word – Sam. Gyeop. Sal) It is simply a grilled version of pork belly.
This would be a typical version of what Samgyeopsal would look like.
When you go into a Korean restaurant in a city where you are living in, Samgyeopsal (Korean style BBQ or Grilled Pork Belly) is one of the menus that can be seem very easily. I think it’s because it is very much easy to cook, in fact, in order to make Samgyeopsal, you need no recipe at all. You just prepare sliced pork belly, serve it with some sidedish that you can grill it with, and that’s it.
Usually for sidedish, sliced garlic, Kimchi, mushroom are served to be grilled with the meat. And they give you all kinds of vegetable; lettuce, green pepper to wrap the meat with – which is called a ‘Ssam’. And when you order a Samgyeopsal, they would most probably serve you a soup which looks like the second picture above. It is a soy bean paste soup, which is called – Doenjang jji gae. The smell of it might be a little, or maybe quite, unfamiliar to westerners, but when you get used to the smell, it would make a great combination with the meat. And lastly, of course they give you salt and pepper, and in many restaurants in Korea they give you Wasabi to dip your Samgyeopsal.
I have been to many many Korean restaurants all over the world, and basically when you order a Samgyeopsal, you have less chance of failing (as long as you are a meat lover). I, as a huge meet lover, go out alot to have samgyeopsal, and I also cook it quite often at home :P.
The funny thing is that, in Korea, there tend to be a ‘trend’ of eating Samgyeopsal. Few years ago, or even an year ago, very thick-sliced Samgyeopsal was in trend.
Very thick, steak styled Samgyeopsal has been in a trend for quite some time in Korea. And for this type of Samgyeopsal, the freshness of the meat was crucial. If the meat is not fresh, then there is a great possibility that it would smell weird.
In the past few months, the new trend in Samgyeopsal came up. It is the frozen, very thin sliced Samgyeopsal, which Koreans call it a ‘Naengdong (which means frozen in Korea) Samgyeopsal’. The recent place I visitied, where it was posted by many Korean instragram users, was a place where they serve this frozen Samgyeopsal.
Compared to the thick thick steak-style Samgyeopsal, it is more like thin thin paper, but usually this type of Samgyeopsal is served with various sidedishes to grill with.
They gave us all these sidedishes that we can grill with Samgyeopsal. For me, I prefer the thick steak-styled Samgyeopsal, but I think it all depends on each person’s eating habits or preference.
Well, anyhow there are so much more I need to mention about Samgyeopsal, but I will stop here for now. For people who are currently residing in Korea, or have plans to visit Korea in the future, just leave a comment and I will be more than happy to recommend all the good Samgyeopsal places in the Seoul metropolitan area.