Address*: 689-12 Yeoksam-dong Gangnamgu, Seoul , Korea / 강남구 역삼동 689-12
Tel: 82 2 2088 3392
Price: approx. 50,000~70,000 won/person
*Multiple branches in Seoul, check their website for exact locations.
If you are visiting Seoul and have only 1 meal allotted to Korean barbecue, Budnamujip should be your one and only choice. This small chain, widely known among locals and visitors as the best korean barbecue restaurant in Seoul, proudly serves 한우 (hanwoo, domestic Korean beef), which in Korea is considered much more superior and expensive than imported beef from American or Australia. Pricey, but it’s worth the extra wons.
Interior, nothing spectacular
Upon being seated, a flurry of side dishes descended upon us – japjae, tomato salad in pineapple dressing, pickled cucumbers, grilled eggplants, green salad, fried deodeok…etc. etc. etc.
And of course, kimchi.
First came 등심 sengdeungshim (49,000 won/150g), a beef sirloin that is described on the menu as “a high-class menu that delicately harmonizes pure-white suet and meat. Purebred Korean female cows cultured in good environment are used to provide the delicious taste of the nature.” The slightly awkward English does well in conveying the excellent quality of meat. Needless to say, yum.
등심 seng deungshim (49,000 won/150g)
Enjoy the perfectly grilled sirloin with some dipping sauce, chopped onions, and chives, or wrap it up in the accompanying vegetables with doenjang (bean paste).
Then arrived what Budnamujip is most famous for, 본갈비 bon-galbi (45,000 won/250g). These marinated beef ribs are slit before broiling, which allows the seasoning to be absorbed and prevents the meat from becoming tough. It goes without saying that the meat was extremely tender, and the complex seasoning, a mix of Asian-pear juice, sesame seed, rice wine, sugar, and garlic, was perfect.
본갈비 bon-galbi (45,000 won/250 g)
I was full by the time we polished off all the meat, but it’s a tradition to finish the meal with some carbs. 물냉면 mul-naengmyeon (6,000 won), a chewy noodles topped with julienned cucumbers, Korean pear, boiled egg, and slices of cold boiled beef, came bathing in a tangy iced broth. A perfectly light and cooling follow-up to all the meat we devoured.
물냉면 mul-naenmyeon (6,000 won)
Another very satisfying dish was 된장찌개 doenjang jigae (5,000 won), a stew made with doenjang (Korean soybean paste), vegetables, and tofu. Served with a bowl of freshly steamed rice, this is THE ultimate comfort food.
Doenjang Jjigae 된장 찌개 (5,000 won)
I was determined to try Budnamujip’s famous 갈비탕 Galbitang (15,000 won), or beef rib soup with rice. Unfortunately they already ran out of this highly coveted dish by the time we got there (come before 11:00am in order to secure of bowl), so instead I ordered 국밥 Gukbap (8,000 won), a mixed beef stew with rice. Quite tasty, but I can’t help but mourn for the galbitang that I never had a chance to try.
국밥 Gukbap, 8,000 won
The meal ended with some pineapples and 식혜 shik-hye, a sweetened rice drink. Stuffed and satisfied, I walked out in a drowsy state of food coma, happy that I chose Budnamujip as the last meal of my trip. Bye Seoul, until next time!