Food + Soju + Good Times
새벽집, I think it translates into “early morning house”, is one of the more famous restaurants in Seoul, Korea. They are famous for their beef because it is expensive as hell, KRW 52,000 for 160 grams!!! I have never tried their beef so I can’t speak about the taste, but I would never pay that much money for Korean barbecue. 160 grams equals 5.64383 ounces, and I could go to any of the major steak houses in NYC and get a 12 oz steak (properly cooked) for the same price of one serving of meat at this restaurant. But, they have something else on the menu!
Yes, Koreans eat raw beef! In the States it used to be a “no-no” because of health and safety issues, but now restaurants have steak tartare on their menus, so get over yourself if you still think it’s weird. If you use high quality beef and store it very cold, you don’t have to worry about salmonella or anything like that. And when the raw beef gets mixed up with the rice and vegetables, you can’t even tell you are eating raw beef.
Bibimbap or Korean mixed rice, probably the most popular Korean dish amongst foreigners, so I don’t need to explain what that is. But why raw beef mixed rice? I don’t know how it came about, but I am a big fan!
Raw beef has a very subtle taste, so it becomes a canvas for flavor, similar to ddok (the little white sliced pepperoni looking things). It makes each bite more hearty and earthy, similar to mushrooms, but with more chew. And since the beef is not cooked, it does not over power the rest of the ingredients in the dish, so you really taste the vegetables, the sesame seed oil, and the hot red pepper paste.
The soup in the picture is “hang over soup” or 해장국. The ugly chunk sitting in the middle of the pool, is a huge piece of coagulated cows blood, the best part! I don’t want to talk about the hang over soup because I want to dedicate a separate post on that. But this restaurant has arguably the best hang over soup in Korea, I think it’s the 2nd best.
And the best part is that you get the bibimbap and the hang over soup, all for KRW 8,000! I honestly believe it is the best value in all of Korea. You eat this for lunch and you might not even need dinner. The pictures don’t do justice on how big the rice bowl and the soup are. And the side dishes were pretty good too. It is a LEGIT meal, American size portions!
Rating: 9 out of 10
새벽집: 02-546-5739 @ Chung Dam Dong (청담동), around the corner from Club Answer.