Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Must Try Grilled Pork Ribs from Jobakjip 조박집 (South Korea, Seoul)

Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비
If you are a fan of BBQ / Grilled Pork Ribs, the best place to have it in Seoul is in Mapo 마포 at Mapo's Dwaeji Galbi & Dwaeji Jumulleok Alley. In the 1950s, the Mapo port was busy with cargo boats that carried timber and grains down the Han River to the many sawmills and granaries in Mapo. There were many hungry seamen and workers looking for cheap filling food and booze to get over their strenuous day. With a growing demand, many eateries started popping up selling grilled pork and Makgeolli (Korean rice wine). Even after the port closed down, the blue collar workers were replaced with white collar workers (e.g. office workers). The office workers would frequent these eateries for the Makgeolli and Soju after a stressful day at work. The youngest employee in the group would normally be tasked (arrow-ed) to grilled the meat. Today, there are many barbecue restaurants (some having been opened before the dock was closed) along this particular alley.
My Korean friend brought us to this particular eatery known as Jobakjip 조박집 at the Dwaeji Galbi & Dwaeji Jumulleok Alley (aka Mapo BBQ Alley). Along the way, we spotted several barbecue restaurants and in fact, there was a hint of smokey barbecue smell in the air in this alley! Jobakjip 조박집 is 5 to 10 minutes walk away from Mapo Station (subway line 5) Exit 1.

When we entered the eatery, I was surprised that the eatery was nearly full (considering the competition). 
Focus on the menu, not the guys... The menu was mainly in Korean and English language. It was also simple and straight to the point. There was just two mains in it; (i) Hanwoo Grilled Seasoned Meat (Beef Jumulleok) 한우 주물럭 and (ii) Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비. There were also Rice,  Radish Water Kimchi Noodle (DongChimi Noodle) 동치미국수 and Alcoholic Beverages. 

Interestingly, this is a non-smoking eatery. The eatery is well-ventilated and the place is not smokey unlike some other barbecue restaurants. But do note, your clothes will still definitely smell. 
All the wooden tables in the eatery had a charcoal fire pit in the middle as all the customers here would definitely be here for the barbecue food.
This was the spread we ordered, some food items are not shown in this photo. As usual, there would always be complimentary side dishes.
Each person would be served a bowl of salad.
Another side dish for sharing. There was also preserved radish.
Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비
I was told that this eatery is well known for its Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비. No need to worry about the fats as they would melt in the heat and help ensure that the meat is tender. The excessive fats would drip down into the grills.

The meat is normally marinated in a concoction of soy sauce, sliced scallions, garlic, ginger juice, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil and pepper. It would typically be scored to allow the meat to adsorb the marinade easily. 
Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비
The Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비 was indeed delicious. It was well marinated and succulent, of great quality and flavour. The smokey flavour from the charcoal stove was locked in the meat too. This is a must try
The garlic can be grilled too. The sauce at the left is the gochujang sauce. Not too sure what the sauce at the top is.
The locals would normally not eat the meat alone. They would take a piece of lettuce, spread the gochujang sauce on it, add a grilled garlic on top.
Then they would take the piece of cooked Galbi and drip it into this special sauce before adding the meat onto the lettuce and wrap it up. This is how they would eat this.
Radish Water Kimchi Noodle (DongChimi Noodle) 동치미국수
We also ordered a bowl of Radish Water Kimchi Noodle (DongChimi Noodle) 동치미국수 each. This is water based, non spicy kimchi and is traditionally consumed during winter. Today, koreans consume this all year round. It was served chilled. The broth was clear and was refreshing while the radish was crunchy.
Hanwoo Grilled Seasoned Meat (Beef Jumulleok) 한우 주물럭
We also ordered the Hanwoo Grilled Seasoned Meat (Beef Jumulleok) 한우 주물럭. Compared to the Galbi, this is normally lightly marinated in a concoction of sesame oil, salt, garlic and pepper. Instead of scoring the meat, the concoction would be rubbed over the meat.
Hanwoo Grilled Seasoned Meat (Beef Jumulleok) 한우 주물럭
The staff would change the grills before this is grilled. The marbling on the meat looks great. However, looks can be deceiving. The appearance and price of the Beef Jumulleok, mismatch the taste. It was not as tasty and flavourful as the Galbi (which was way cheaper). 
Fermented Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang jjigae) 된장 찌개
Towards the end of the meal, we were given a complimentary small pot of Fermented Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang jjigae) 된장 찌개. We place it on top of the charcoal stove and heat it up further. This was tasty and delicious. We really enjoyed the soup. 

It was worth our time travelling down specially to Mapo to try the Grilled Pork Ribs (Galbi) 돼지갈비 from Jobakjip 조박집. This is worth a visit if you are in Seoul. Do not miss this!
This is the name card of the eatery.

Jobakjip 조박집 (South Korea, Seoul)
Yonggang-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 마포구 용강동 40-1번지
Tel: +82 2 712 7462

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