220 Shinpyong-dong, Gyeongju City
North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
Okay, now we’re finally getting to the literal ‘meat of the matter’ from my trip to Korea this past summer. One of the key locations on our hit list was this Korean barbecue joint recommended by many Seoulites to us. Kangsanhanwoo was situated in its own large building at the intersection of some major roads in this resort town, with its brightly lit signage there was no trouble in finding it. A huge parking lot directly in front provided ample spaces as well, as we made our way in after nine pm and a long day of sightseeing…
While most of the diners were already fully engaged in their meals and were Koreans by and large, we did spot a few tables of foreigners so its appears this is on the international food lovers’ radar when one comes to this popular tourist location of Korea. To aid everyone coming in, there is a large display case of various types and cuts of beef, much like a butcher shop, immediately as you come inside. I’m sure there is a lot of pointing and gesturing to get what one wants when language is an issue. All part of the joys of international travel I say. With the hot temperatures and the air conditioners running full blast, there was a huge barrier of condensation on the glass, which the two fellows behind the counter would wipe across with a hand-held windshield wiper like tool (similar to those you see at gasoline stands) to give you some visibility.
After seeing how much choice there was, we opted to go with their recommendations on two types/cuts. I left that to my travel mates as I made my way to one of the dining areas with my camera, covertly shooting the busy tables.
After being led to our table by a hurried female server, who set up our place with table settings and side dishes, the meat soon arrived in full uncooked glory. I did notice that when it was weighed at the butcher counter, one of the fellow shook a shaker bottle over them and a fine dusting of salt appeared to sprinkle out. You can see some of the fine specks in the image below, though your attention might be taken away by the awesome fatty striations pecking through the red meat muscle. All domestic beef. Gotta love it!
I’m not sure what cut or type this one shown below was, but it was cut in smaller strips compared to the other plate. Once on the grill, cooked up over the hot coals and cut up into smaller pieces, they all began to meld together. The beer was certainly flowing this night too, which made for the double-double of late night, carnivore paradise. It ended up that we ordered another two hundred grams of both cuts again, as the meal progressed towards the ten pm closing time.
Nearby our table was a self serve refrigerator that was fully stocked with all of the side dishes we were given, and when eating Korean barbecue in this style, these ponzu-like dressed thin strips of green onions are my favorite. They add a refreshing and light palate cleanser to indulge in between bites of the meaty and greasy bits of beef.
With the open seating area with no overhanging ventilation system as we were accustomed to in barbecue places back home, it was delightful to see these compact and powerful vacuums positioned directly next to our table top grilling tops.
Strongly recommended and confirmed by us as being an excellent place for grilling meat, Kangsanhanwoo met our expectations and then some. So much so we contemplated coming back again on one of our nights but there were so many other solid places to explore, we never did return. Looking at the pictures of this meal tonight, made me wish this place was just down the street from me. Alas, its not… :(