Shilla Tteokgalbi Chongshik
226 Nodong-dong, Gyeongju City
North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
On day two of this three-day visit to Gyeongju, we continued to mow through the list of restaurants that my local friend had created through his own research and advice from contacts very familiar with the area. Nestled in a building that was offset from the main street that we navigated through on this rainy evening was Shilla Tteokgalbi Chongshik. As we climbed up the stairs to the main entrance, we were quickly greeted by a gentleman who seemed to be the manager this evening. Occupying the entire second floor, it was quite spacious inside.
As mainstream Korean cuisine overseas is highly associated with beef, in particular barbecue, our visit on this occasion was to explore another meaty dish. Tteokgalbi is derived from the words for marinated meat and also those thin sticky rice cakes. But, there are no such rice cakes involved at all in this. In fact, I’d describe it as being more like a hamburger patty. In most cases, its made from a melding of beef short ribs and fattier pork to balance out together in a juicy meaty delight that young and old can enjoy. Plus, there is no killer spice to deter anyone who is sensitive to heat. Instead a drizzle of sweet tasting sauce usually completes the picture. I’ve seen these patties made small (tinier than the palm of your hand) or larger, and shaped in a square or circular like a disc.