Sunday, March 23, 2014

Meal of the Week: Traditional Korean BBQ at Ssamsarang Restaurant

During our stay in Chungmuro, we chanced upon a very nice traditional Korean BBQ restaurant that was so good we had to visit it twice in a week! I still haven't found an address or reviews on the restaurant online, and thought I'd offer some directions here for anyone around the area.

External facade of the restaurant.

The restaurant is called Ssamsarang and is near Chungmuro Station exit 8. As you exit the station, make a u-turn and it is 2-3 stores after the 7-Eleven convenience store.

The restaurant has both tables that come with chairs and more traditional floor-sitting layouts. Private function rooms are available. 

The staff there appear to be closely knit, almost family-like, and very pleasant. The vegetables and banchan (side-dishes) are generous and varied. The restaurant also has a homemade peanut sauce and Gochujang (spicy chili dip) that were so unique that we asked them for their recipe. The most experienced cook in our group also requested to buy some of the sauces, but decided not to as we couldn't guarantee its freshness till we get home.

Home made bean paste porridge. In the smaller black bowl to the above right of the bean paste is the homemade peanut spicy sauce that quickly became one of our favourites.

Bamboo rice was popular there, served hot in bamboo...

A peek inside under the paper cover reveals a myriad of colours: peas, different kinds of beans, and an assortment of coloured grains; a perfect compliment to the fragrance!

Mummy tries a sip of Soju. It's a too strong for her liking.

The fresh greens are not your typical fare either. Many of the leaves we do not commonly find in other restaurants, and they even provide a large Fuji apple to wash the meal down with. Alternatively, some of the more adventurous members of our group ordered Soju (Korean Liquour) to go with the meal!

Generous servings of greens. The large apple was a favourite among the children.
The meats were well marinated too, but the cooking skills and service of the hosts made the biggest impact on our experience there. We ordered the sirloin steak, smoked-duck, boneless beef rib, sliced beef, and pork-belly, and the hosts cooked them on separate barbecue stations for us before distributing a little of each around the tables we were spread out into. The sliced beef was cooked in vegetables and onions and a gravy was added to it after cooking. Due to the gravy, a separate BBQ tray was required. The meat servings were not especially large, but the quality of the experience had us calling for top-ups.

Sliced beef cooked to perfection!

The staff were pleasant and proud of the cuisine they had to offer, taking it upon themselves to deliver a culinary experience worth remembering. After the cooking, they even conducted an impromptu lesson on how to wrap the ingredients into the fresh leaves for best results! After the wrapping, one should eat the onions followed by their spicy bean paste soup.

A top down view of the spread: sliced beef on the grill with onions and vegetables.

Another table with the smoked duck (top) and boneless beef ribs (bottom) on the grill. Lotus rice at the bottom of the picture. Another rice specialty of the restaurant. No white rice served in this restaurant.

Whipping  up the smoked-duck and sirloin steak... yum yum...

Despite the fact that they close at 10 pm, they allowed us to eat till past 10 pm as we had a late dinner on one of the days we were there.

Meat servings are priced between 9000 to 14000 won about SGD $10 to $15 . In Singapore, servings costs between $30 to $40 per serving. That is almost triple the price! Of course, it tastes a lot better in Korea itself.

Mission accomplished! A parting shot of a meal to remember, and we'll miss the experience till the next time we're in Chungmuro. Till then, the best we can do is hope someone else enjoys it as much as we did.

1 comment:

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