Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Where’s the Beef?

Posted in Generalities, Korea at 6:22 pm by graceandpoise

Aside from the ubiquitous kimchee, Korea’s most famous dishes are undoubtedly those stars of Korean barbecue, bulgogi and kalbi (examples seen below).

Bulgogi Kalbi

Last week contained an unusually high number of visits to Korean-cuisine restaurants because of the conference, and I have come up with a question nobody has yet been able to answer for me. You see, bulgogi and kalbi are both blessed with the flavors of a yummy marinade, which masks (or at least tries to make up for) the fact that both are made from some pretty crummy cuts of meat with a whole lot of excess fat and connective tissue. The pork version of kalbi is, more often than not, literally 60 or 70 percent fat.

Pork Kalbi

In speaking with some of my Korean and American colleagues, it would seem that outside of the American-style steakhouses that are becoming more and more popular, nobody has seen a truly good cut of beef in any Korean restaurant or store. So I ask: since it’s obvious to me that they must be killing the whole cow in order to get the bulgogi or kalbi meat, what in the world are they doing with all of the good cuts of meat?


  1. Shawn said,

    Bologni and hot dogs?

  2. Becca said,

    My guess would be exporting it… in the U.S. we have a thriving horsemeat economy (yes, here in Texas, disturbingly, it is legal to catch wild mustangs for the slaughter)…. 99% of it gets exported abroad. Maybe that’s what’s happening in Korea as well.

  3. DanceMonkeyDance said,

    I love food. It sounds like Seoul would not be the worst place. Keep the blog entries coming.

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