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Sunday, November 30, 2014

[Seoul, Konguk University Restaurant] Gamaro - Well-being Kimchi Samgyupsal Korean BBQ 가마로 웬빙 삼겹살

Gamaro in the Konguk University (Kondae) restaurant street is a perfect place for you to get Korean barbeque without filling up on only meat and lettuce.

If you haven't noticed, I rarely post about Korean barbeque restaurants on here. For me to go to one, they have to have something impressive about them other than just meat (samgyupsal).
Gamaro is pretty well-known after appearing on multiple restaurant shows on Korean network television. It is pretty unique because of its commitment to "well-being." Since the first time I was in Korea, there has been this huge "well-being" movement to improve the nutritional health of Koreans. Sometimes it is not that good (like when they completely remove salt from food, like they do at SNU), but usually it's good because it means no MSG and an increase in the amounts of vegetables you get.

Before the meal, you are served cold radish soup, which is very refreshing. You are also served some white cabbage salad with some sweet sesame dressing.

In terms of "something special," I enjoy that they give you a variety of vegetables to grill alongside your meat. You are given some marinated spouts to put on the grill and some ddeok (Korean rice cakes). We got enoki mushrooms and some other meatier mushrooms I am not entirely sure of the name of and plenty of kimchi.

The "vegetable basket" also includes carrots, cucumbers, and green gochu (spicy peppers). Basically, I like this place because of the great array of vegetables.

The meat is also higher quality and is fresh, not frozen. As a result, the price is a little higher than at other barbeque restaurants in Korea, but is nowhere near the price that you usually find at KBBQ joints in the United States or Japan (I'm assuming that other countries have equally high prices for KBBQ, but I've only eaten KBBQ in Korea, the US and Japan). The meat is not overly greasy, which is GREAT!

To prepare:
Put some kimchi on the grill! This is my favorite thing about Korean barbeque I learned while living in Korea. Not many people do this in the United States, I've found, but it adds a great depth of flavor. The heat changes some of the flavor of the kimchi and makes it more savory.

I also enjoy a lot of garlic with my food. I usually put a bunch on the grill to cook them.

How to eat:
You are also given a platter of green onions with some spicy sauce on top. You should mix these components and add this into your lettuce wrap with your meat, mushrooms, and kimchi.

At Gamaro, you are also given some wasabi oil sauce and salt. You can dip your meat in these before eating, if you are interested in trying it out!

There are three types of greens you are given with your order: lettuce, kkaetip (sesame/perilla leaves), and some more bitter leaves I am not sure the name of (I fail, sorry).

If you order a side of rice (gong-gi bap, 공기밥), you receive not only the rice,  but also some doenjjang soup with meat inside. It's great!!

If you are finished eating your meat and want to be SUPER Korean, feel free to order some naengmyun (Korean cold noodles). I didn't order any, but some of the tables around me ordered some. The unique thing about the noodles here are that they are green!

Service:
The service here is very attentive and you have plenty of options!
Don't worry if you do not speak Korean. The menu has pictures. So you can just easily choose by picture and point at what you want to order. The menu also has English on it, but it's so-so in terms of translation. I would go by the pictures, if I were you.

Price:
The price is great!! It's about 10,000KRW per person, which is extremely reasonable for the quality of food.

Tip:
The lunch menu is great! You get to order an individual-size casserole and it is served alongside rice (with beans, so more healthy), fish, and a bunch of other side dishes. You get all of this for about 7,000KRW-9,000KRW. It's great!

Location:
Konguk University Exit 1 (by the Burger King). Walk straight from Exit 1 and go through the mess of buildings until you get to the main road. At the road, turn right. Then walk straight, it will be on your right, right before you get to the Mister Pizza.

From the main road by Konguk University, turn at The Body Shop, walk past the dalkgalbi restaurant. It should be on your left right after you walk past Mister Pizza.

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