Eating out / Food / South Korea / travel

To have your pig and eat it too!

Hubby goes to Seoul periodically for work and wanted to share a restaurant with us the locals like taking him to – Blackpork Restaurant. It was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Given the temperature outside was below zero and chilly, all of us hoped it was worth the walk.

 

I should have known my husband would take us to a place where the restaurant logo was a pig …

The restaurant decor was simple but very clean and hummed with the buzz of people enjoying their food. They had a short menu written in english. Whilst the waitresses couldn’t speak english, the woman on their front desk could and she assisted the waitresses with our ordering as they were a little confused by the english menu themselves. All the staff had smiles on their faces and loved having us there. Our kids were smothered with smiles and attention – a common trend we experienced in Seoul.

So let’s get down to the food. The side dishes were all tasty. I’m not sure what the correct etiquette is for side dishes in Korea, but I couldn’t hold back from tasting them all before the mains were prepared. Once again the kimchi (chilli spicy cabbage – top right) was yummy, but the chives dish (bottom right) was my favourite at this particular restaurant.

You have probably already figured out what we ate at this particular place … pork. Lots and lots of pork.

The meat was cooked in front of us on a hotplate over a gas burner. A huge hunk of pork fat was used to coat the hotplate, melting down to become the oil the meat was cooked upon.

I am told that traditionally when eating out Korean women are supposed to cook the food on the hotplate. Perhaps the waitresses took pity or wanted to make sure we got the meat cooked in the traditional way as they happily chose to cook everything for us.

 

I was grateful. We got to experience the meat as it should be eaten. The hotplate was tilted slightly, and all the oil from the cooking pork oozed into a little container at one end below the plate.

I have to confess I am not a huge fan of pork. Living in Asia I have learned to tolerate it more as it is the “cheap meat” here, so I was skeptical about how enjoyable this pig would be.

Needless to say I was blown away by it. It was quite simply delicious. I would happily eat pork as fresh and tasty as this regularly and I can see why it is popular in South Korea. The sprogs loved the meat, gobbling it down with a bowl of udon noodles to compliment it.

Obviously this isn’t the most kid-friendly venue as the hot plate is extremely hot and has an open flame below it. I’m lucky to have children who tend to be well behaved when we are out and respectful of what they are being told about the food cooking in front of them. They were fascinated by the cooking process – the colour changes, the steam, the oil oozing down the plate – but they always kept a respectful distance from the actual cooking knowing that it was too hot to touch.

Verdict? Yum. Worth the walk to get there and nice to try something the locals enjoy slightly off the tourist track.

 

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