When people hear the word “barbecue,” it is common to picture the Western style of barbecuing, which typically involves cooking steaks, hotdogs, or burger patties outdoors on a grill. However, Asians have their own twist on the barbecue grills as well. In particular, Korean barbecue restaurants have been popping up worldwide in large numbers, offering a unique, delicious, and affordable experience.

Korean food is well-known for using a wide variety of spices and herbs to create bold, strong flavours that burst in your mouth, and the dishes served in a Korean barbecue are no different, with the many tastes you get from having a meal at a Korean barbecue restaurant being enough to satisfy you for the rest of the day.

Here are some things you should know about Korean barbecue restaurants before you try one for yourself:

What is the Korean Barbecue?

Strictly speaking, Korean barbecue (also known as gogi-gui) refers to the Korean method of grilling meats such as beef, pork, and chicken. Unlike Western barbecues, which grill the meat in larger chunks or slabs, Korean barbecue has the meat pre-chopped into thin slices, before they are placed onto a gas or charcoal grill, which is typically inlaid into the table itself.

There are many kinds of meat to order in a Korean barbecue restaurant, each marinated in a different sauce or pre-prepared in a different way. You also get to prepare your own personal mix of the sauce that you will end up dipping the meat into for extra flavour. This allows you to enjoy your meal in the best way that you can.

What can you order in a Korean Barbecue restaurant?

While there doesn’t exist a standard Korean barbecue menu, one is not complete without at least having some meat. However, how you choose to create your experience is all up to you, with a wide variety of choices being available for the taking.

The meals in Korean barbecue restaurants are not just limited to meats. In fact, a warm soup goes well with the meal and helps wash down the tastes in your mouth. You may also opt to order some traditional dishes such as Korean-style fried rice or vegetables.

Another interesting aspect of the Korean barbecue experience is the side dishes. While side dishes in Western restaurants are typically taken as additional orders that some do not even eat, in Korean barbecue restaurants, they are very much a part of the meal. Typical popular side dishes include kimchi, dried seaweed, stir-fried zucchini, and sweet and sour radish salad. These truly add a different flavour to your meal, with the different tastes coming together to burst in your mouth.

What makes Korean barbecue restaurants unique?

Stew on a korean bbq place

Unlike Western or even other Asian barbecues, it is encouraged in Korean barbecue meals for the restaurant staff to take care of the grilling. This is because they are the experts on when to turn over the meat or to take it off the grill in order to achieve the best texture and flavours possible. This allows you to simply sit back and enjoy your meal.

The great amount of flavours that all come together into one meal is what makes the Korean barbecue experience so unique. Rarely do you get to partake in such a feast and try a whole bunch of flavours all at the same time. This is also why Korean barbecue meals are not meant to be eaten alone but are rather meant to be shared experiences with your family and friends.