I haven’t been to many places which specialize in samgyeopsal, or pork belly. Beef always seems to reign supreme when it comes to Korean BBQ. The most recent samgyeopsal place I visited was Eight, which isn’t exactly traditional, but nonetheless very delicious. The offering at Shigol Hanwoo, is straight up pork belly without any bells or whistles.
The standout banchan here was easily the gejang, or raw marinated crab. I’ve had this before but never as explosively flavorful as the one here. The salty, but mostly sweet and spicy marinade was unforgettable. There wasn’t an ounce of fishiness and the crab meat wasn’t too ooey gooey, which I found to be slightly off putting in the past. This is not for those averse to spice. After cleaning down some crabs, my mouth was on fire. The Annoyer, who usually doesn’t do spicy, ate even more than I did.
The porky belly is uniquely prepared in a “flower” style. The meat is thoroughly scored, which “blooms” when it hits the heat. The result is deliciously rendered pork that doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating 50% fat when in fact you are. Those little brown strips on the side was pork skin. It was so unctuous and I wished we had ordered more.
Behold the perfect caramelization. The pork belly was tender and didn’t make you feel like you were eating 50% fat. It was evident the meat was very high quality here.
Korea has this ingenous setup at almost every BBQ restaurant. Instead of having fans suctioning the smoke and fumes far above the grill, they have these mobile, retractable suction hose that can moved right above your grill. You walk away without even a lingering hint of what you had for dinner. It is such a simple idea. I have no idea why we can’t do this in America, probably something related to fire code violations.
I liked this even better for the meatier and snappier texture. For those who prefer the lusciousness of charred fat, than the pork belly is definitely the winner.
They add ramen noodles here, which was a warm and comforting end to an excellent meal.
I was beyond satisfied with our meal at Shigol Hanwoo. Area Codes says this is the best place for samgyeopsal in Busan. I have no doubt he is correct. I wish there were places like this in my hood, but alas I’ll always have the memories of this dinner.
10 – You NEED to eat here*
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here
*Not likely friendly to tourists. Not exactly sure how much English is spoken and there is no English or picture menu.