Header image courtesy of @kung_jungkorean (via Instagram)
The sizzle of fresh meat as it hits the hot grill, the savoury and spicy sauces to dip them in, the seemingly endless supply of side dishes, the smoky smell hanging in the air—ah, Korean barbecue, how we love you. As the temperature dips, KBBQ makes for a cosy and hearty meal to be enjoyed in small groups, so here are Hong Kong’s best joints to hit up. Pro tip: If the staff are Korean, do butter them up with small talk, then hit them nicely with the phrase “서비스 많이 주세요” (seobiseu mani juseyo; “please give us lots of service”). “Service” is what Koreans refer to as little freebies, so some nice auntie might just slide you drinks or small sides on the house!
We’ve been to enough Korean joints to know if the tables next to you are speaking in Korean, then the food will be quality nosh. Such is the case with Sorabol, which does not look particularly fancy, focusing instead on their ingredients, which they fly in directly from Korea weekly. Portion sizes in this Michelin-recommended restaurant are also very generous, so prepare to loosen your belt. Expect premium cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and seafood, presented marinated or in original flavours.
Hidden away in the upper floors of nondescript buildings, this fuss-free buffet restaurant chain is one of our favourite spots for KBBQ—and we love that it’s so hard to find, making it a true gem for those in the know. For about $220 per head, diners can choose from a huge array of marinated meats and seafood, soups, and desserts. And the best bit? Check out their extensive selection of appetisers, where you can load up on as much kimchi, bean sprouts, and sweet soy potatoes as you can stomach!
Myung Ga is a bit more upscale than your standard Korean barbecue restaurants, which usually have a rougher, down-to-earth vibe. Their meats and seafood are sourced from pollution-free regions and prepared without MSG—a bit of a rarity when dining out. The must-try on their menu is definitely the succulent beef short ribs (from $208) to be grilled at your own table, which only leaves you craving for more. If you manage to snag a window seat, you’ll also be able to enjoy dinner with a great view of Victoria Harbour.
The Seorae chain already has approximately 300 restaurants across South Korea, so you can be assured that their delicious presence in Hong Kong is here for good reason. Gather around the tables, each with their own grills, and tuck into the grilled beef Seorae style ($138) and the pork belly ($123). Seorae’s grills are also surrounded by a little trench, into which the staff will pour plain egg batter, kimchi egg batter, and garlic, into three separate sections. Mouth-watering!
This is the epitome of authentic Korean pojangmacha (포장마차; a Korean food stall on the street) vibes, complete with round tables, individual extractor vents, and round oil-can barrel stools to store your bags in. Don’t let its casual atmosphere fool you; the food served here is top-notch. Order the marinated beef short ribs ($248) and the nicely marbled grilled sliced beef chuck flap tail ($248), and or simply spring for the assorted US top-grade beef platter ($398) to munch through a selection of everything. Don’t forget to wrap the meat in a piece of lettuce, with some garlic and gochujang chilli paste before popping the whole parcel down the hatch!
BBQ 7080, 15 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau | (+852) 2566 7655
A Koreatown resto where there’s always good times to be had. While not really a traditional KBBQ in the grill-in-table sense, the staff at Dalin will bring your table a hot plate on a portable stove, and pop by regularly to help with your cooking—great if you can’t handle heat or simply can’t be bothered. The star of the show here is the Maga Dalin BBQ skewer ($328), a huge hanging skewer strung up with pork belly, seafood, and various vegetables and fruits—definitely not an endeavour to undertake by yourself. No visit to Dalin is ever complete without copious amounts of alcohol, so line your stomach and crack open those soju bottles!
Dalin Pocha, 78–81 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2658 9382
The Charcoal Room sets itself apart from Hong Kong’s plethora of KBBQ joints in that it is the only one to use oak charcoal grills. Cooking on a charcoal flame instead of your usual gas grill will apparently seal in the meat’s juices and essences using the shortest amount of time, as well as give your food a smoky flavour. Go for the prime chuck tail flap ($210) or the Jeju eel ($238), though we must say their Wagyu tenderloin sandwich ($318) is also superb, with four thick, juicy A5 Kumamoto beef cuts toasted to perfection.