The Basics of Korean BBQ

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Korean BBQ, also known as “Gogi-gui,” is a popular dining experience that involves grilling various cuts of meat, often beef, pork, or chicken, at the table. It is a beloved culinary tradition in South Korea and has gained popularity around the world. Here are the basics of Korean BBQ:

Meat Selection

Korean BBQ offers a wide variety of meat options, typically sliced thinly for quick grilling. Popular choices include bulgogi (marinated beef), galbi (marinated beef or pork ribs), samgyeopsal (pork belly), and dakgalbi (marinated chicken). Each meat option has its own unique flavor profile and cooking time, allowing for a diverse and flavorful dining experience.

Grill Table

Most Korean BBQ restaurants have tabletop grills, usually gas or charcoal, embedded into each dining table. This setup allows guests to cook their meat right at the table, adding an interactive element to the dining experience. The grill is often accompanied by ventilation systems to manage smoke and prevent the strong aroma from lingering.


Alongside the grilled meat, Korean BBQ is typically served with an assortment of banchan, which are side dishes. Banchan can vary from restaurant to restaurant but often include staples like kimchi (fermented vegetables), pickled radish, crispy seaweed, soybean sprouts, and various seasoned vegetables. These side dishes provide a balance of flavors and textures to complement the grilled meat.


To enhance the flavors of the grilled meat, Korean BBQ is often enjoyed with various accompaniments. These may include ssamjang (a spicy dipping sauce made from fermented soybean paste), sesame oil with salt and pepper for dipping meat, fresh lettuce leaves or perilla leaves for wrapping the cooked meat, and steamed rice or lettuce wraps to create flavorful meat wraps.

Grilling Techniques

Each type of meat requires different grilling techniques to achieve optimal taste and tenderness. Generally, it is advised to grill meat over high heat to sear the surface and lock in the juices. However, it’s important to closely monitor the cooking process to ensure meat is cooked to your preferred level of doneness. The staff at Korean BBQ restaurants are often available to assist with grilling or provide guidance if needed.

Social Dining Experience

Korean BBQ is known for its communal and social atmosphere. It is often enjoyed with friends, family, or colleagues, making it a popular choice for gatherings and celebrations. The interactive nature of grilling meat at the table encourages conversation and shared enjoyment of the meal.


When dining at a Korean BBQ restaurant, it’s important to observe a few etiquette practices. For instance, it is common to grill and eat the meat in small portions so that it stays fresh and hot. Additionally, it is considered polite to wait for everyone at the table to have their meal served before beginning to eat.

Korean BBQ offers a unique and flavorful dining experience that combines grilling, interactive cooking, and a variety of vibrant flavors. Whether you are a meat enthusiast or a fan of Korean cuisine, exploring Korean BBQ is a must-try culinary adventure.