Will the Real Korean BBQ Please Stand Up

The majority of Korean BBQs here in the States conjure up a very "beefy" picture- marinated beef of all cuts with pork in equal or slightly smaller proportions. And perhaps some sort of seafood if the eatery offers them on its menu. Of course, AYCE (all you can eat) Korean BBQs have gained momentum as more meat-loving customers are demanding... well, more meat.

Reality and my naive understanding of Korean food collided on a trip to South Korea last year. During my 5-day stay, I only had 0.5 servings of beef- if that at all. A day or two into the trip, the tour guide explained that seafood, along with pork, are the predominant animal protein in the country. The hilly terrain makes it difficult to raise cattle so it has never been a big part of the Korean diet. Also, a little known fact is that Korea once imported much of its beef from the U.S., and the largest current beef supplier to the country is Australia. A strong currency, high import duties, and the continued ban on U.S. beef have combined to create record beef prices

So how did Korean BBQ get so distorted from one side of the Pacific to the other? 

The abundance of beef in Korean BBQ is as Korean as Orange Chicken in Chinese cuisine. While it's delicious, it's absolutely untraditional and a spoof to the culture. It's time to bring back some authenticity to the cuisine so everyone can experience the brilliance of real Korean food.

Pictured above (clockwise from top left): 
Assorted veggies and meat hot pot, samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), pork 2-ways (shabu shabu and grilled), fresh sashimi, pork and squid cabbage shabu shabu, pork samgyeopsal (unseasoned pork grilled at table), kimchi dumplings with chicken "yakisoba" and rice dish. 


Joanna said...

You are so funny, E. Let um have it, girl!

Bonnie said...


delwin said...

Pictures are from Korea, right?

Elizabeth said...

@ Joanna: I try :)
@ Bonnie: I can't look at Korean BBQ the same way after experiencing the real deal! Loved the pork and seafood there!
@ Delwin: Yup! Our delicious proof of the trip!

Annie Lee said...

Love this post and the new layout of the site! Healing Foodie rocks!!

Elizabeth said...

@ Annie: Thanks!

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