Bukmakgol 북막골 : Humongous BBQ beef ribs at Samcheongdong

Winter has arrived and the days start to grow shorter. Somehow I find myself feeling carnivorous especially when the days turn ruthlessly cold in Seoul. (Minus degree temperature every day, no kidding!)  There is one place I would usually think of in times like this. Let me give you a scenario here: It is a minus 4 celsius degree, extremely cold day out there and you are safe and sound in a nicely warmed house, indulging on a humongous, slow-grilled, tender and juicy, fall-off-the-bone beef ribs….And regarding the size of the ribs that you’re feasting?  Check out Park Soo-jin below.

Tasty road Sujin Galbi

So how does my plan sound?

bokmakgol samcheongdong

Picture of Bukmakgol taken on one of my visits in the summer.

The restaurant that I am writing about today is located in a random back alley of Samcheongdong, a well-polished neighborhood where traditional and modern met. Since it is buried in the small alleys off the main drag, it takes a little effort to reach, more even so if you don’t read, speak or understand Korean Language. But I am sure if you can find your way to the restaurant, you’ll agree with me it is all worth the trouble. (Please check the end of the post for directions).

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bukmakgol samcheongdong

Entering the rustic Korean style main door, a cosy courtyard beckoning. I’ve heard too much about this place from my Korean friends, and looking at the booked up restaurant at 630pm you know how popular they actually are. To avoid waiting, please be early or at least make a reservation.

indoor of bokmakgol in samcheongdong

Interior of the hanok is adorned with Korean paintings and traditional Korean window for a classic touch.

tasty road, bokmakgol menu

Regarding to their menu, other than the usual Korean dishes like dumplings soup and ordinary hansik (Korean dishes), this restaurant is famed for 3 dishes: Roasted Garlic with boiled pig trotters (마늘 로스팅 보쌈), Old Stone Age Beef Galbi (구석기 갈비) and Baby Squid (땡땡 쭈꾸미). Price varies depending on the serving size. It cost us KRW38,000 for a medium size beef ribs, usually fit for 2-3 person. Upsize will cost you KRW 48,000.

tasty road 2014 bukmakgol

Tasty Road 2014 covering Bukmakgol. Picture courtesy of Bukmakgol Facebook Page.

I am sure foodies in Korea are well aware of the popular food hunt programme “Tasty Road” by Olive TV, done by the Producers BC oppa and SJ oppa, and Director JK oppa that I met through another programme collaboration years back. I really love the show as they do have a couple of fairly good finds (usually hidden restaurants). Sexy Singer Uhm Jung-hwa and Actor Jang Dong-gun also visited this place back in spring 2014 (this year)!!

bokmakgol famous visitors

We didn’t wait too long for the food. Sides were served pretty fast, followed by the main dish:

bokmakgol samcheongdong

The radish water kimchi (Mul-Kimchi) that was a very satisfying dish with a cooling, slight sour taste.

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And then the main dish: Stone Age Beef Ribs. The stories behind the name?

The owner at Bukmakgol revealed that he was inspired by comic books about the old stone age where protagonists eat huge beef ribs without cutting them into smaller chunks. Holding the ribs in one hand and a makgeolli (Korean Traditional Rice Wine) bowl at another and eat like a stone age man boss, is an experience the Bukmakgol wants to provide.

bokmakgol galbi

bokmakgol galbi

Nicely coated in the sweet and peppery garlic sauce, these tender, juicy ribs are looking great in the spectacular visual presentation by the chef.

bokmakgol samcheongdong

According to the owner, these huge ribs are from the “second cut” (or some might call it “blade end” cut) from a cow’s rib section. The restaurant only takes ribs section no. 6 through 8 to make this particular dish. Section 6-8 are ribs from the cow’s shoulder. They are known to have larger chunks of fat that makes the meat really delish if the ribs are prepared properly.

bokmakgol size of galbi

We ordered a medium sized galbi. That comes 3 pieces of ribs. It might look mini from the pictures. But it is actually very meaty and heavy. Although the ribs were cooked to tender soft texture, it still took us some time to cut the beef into chunks simply because the portion is just CRAZY huge. *Cough* Now I need a shoulder massage before tucking in.

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MBC’s food hunt programme 찾아라! 맛있는 TV starring Jang Su-won’s “dining diary”.  Photo courtesy of Bukmakgol’s facebook page.

Another picture taken from their official facebook page to show u how big the ribs are. These tender, juicy, succulent meat actually requires very little effort to pry from the bone. Certainly my type of ribs; D

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The dish also comes with stew assorted vegetables. The chopped bell peppers, onion, zucchini and bokchoy add a sweet note to the dish. Yummmm….

복막골

One last picture to show the size of the ribs. Very clean bones explain the tenderness of the meat.

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mmmm… I am definitely going back for more.

collage makgeolli

It is also good to pair up the ribs with the sweet and milky makgeolli (Traditional rice wine). We opted for the “country style” makgeolli, which turned out to be surprisingly great. A good match with the ribs — what you’ll definitely need to wash down the greasiness from the fats.

kimchi at bokmakgol

On a side note, they serve excellent house kimchi. The typical sweet and spicy type that I adore most. We refilled it so many times that I lost my counts.LOL.

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My Verdict: Hands down. One of the best galbi available in Seoul. The chef totally nailed it. Though it was quite expensive (38,000 for one dish fit for 2), considering the taste, the portion and the “stone age” experience in a fancy Korean Traditional House, I think it is well worth the money. Excellent for friends gathering or entertaining important guests who visit Seoul. They have private dining rooms as well.

Contact Information:

Bukmakgol 북막골
30-2 Samcheong-dong, Jungno-gu.
중로구 삼청동 30-2
Tel: 02-730-0980

Operating Hours: 
Lunch: 11am-3pm
Break: 3pm-430pm
Dinner: 430pm-9pm

Directions:

1. Getting out from Anguk Station Line No. 3 Exit No. 1. Take the route on your right-hand side. (Facing the street and the exit at your back).
2. Go straight for about 10 minutes, you will pass by Olive Young drug store. Before you reach an alley, you will see Baek Sang Photography Studio. It is hard to miss it as there are huge family portraits and newborn baby portraits hanging at the windows of the studio. Continue walking straight.
3. By now you will find yourself walking on a path with a whole stretch of stone wall at your right hand side. Walk further down until you reach the MAIN road, then turn right into the main road.
4. Go straight. Locate Bob-ryun Temble (법련사) and Gallery Hyundai (갤러리현대), a building that look like below:

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There’ll be a bustop infront of the Gallery Hyundai. Wait for Maeul Bus no. Jongno 11 “종로 11”  (mini bus in green).
5. Alight the bus 4 stops later, at Korea Institute of Finance Station (금융연수원 정류장 [Read: geum-yong-yon-su-won])
6. Continue to walk down the street with the Institute of Finance at your right hand side, for another 100m.
7. You would see Bukmakgol’s sighboard by now, just before Homestead Coffee.

bukmakgol signboard

8. Turn to your right into the alley beside Homestead Coffee. You’ll find yourself in a secluded area where you’ll see the only Korean Traditional housing: that’s Bukmakgol.

bokmakgol samcheongdong

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9. Get into their courtyard and check for the availability of the seats. The restaurant gets really crowded in the weekend, especially dinner time.

 

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