Changgo 창고 is Korean for “warehouse”. And in this “beef warehouse”, you can get the coveted Hanwoo (Korean beef) at a reasonable price.
Changgo 43 창고 43 (“Warehouse 43”) is a Korean barbecue restaurant chain that has many branches across Seoul and mainly in business buildings like this one on the second floor of an office building next to City Hall. They differentiate themselves from the numerous Korean BBQ restaurants in the city by offering a value-for-money Hanwoo selection through bulk purchase, and grilling on a cast iron pan.
The banchan for the lunch set was limited to just a few items; the lunchtime crowd in the city centre does not have time to sit down and enjoy a long meal.
When we ordered the ala carte, more pickles and bantam were brought to the table. Now it’s beginning to resemble the Korean BBQ that I am familiar with.
My host ordered two cuts of hanwoo – the tenderloin and the ribeye. The marbling of the cuts was outstanding and comparable to A4/5 wagyu. But the humble Korean has nothing of those elaborate classification, just 1/1+/1++. The name “Hanwoo” is a guarantee of quality. None of the Hanwoo restaurant would risk their reputation to serve the Class 2/3 beef.
A piece of beef fat was used to grease the pan before the hanwoo was introduced onto the sizzling pan. The ribeye was grilled on the pan using its own fats. The resulting Milliard effect was delicious but carcinogenic I am afraid.
I really liked the way they placed the grilled sirloin on the radish, taking them away from direct heat and letting the fats from the hanwoo to drip into the stove for the next surprise. Unfortunately we were not served the grilled radish.
And for a little more, we were served a kimchi fried rice right from the cast iron pan. Chopped pickled radish was sautéed using the drippings from the hanwoo and a bowl of rice was then added and stir-fried with the radish.
Surprising simple and good, the fried rice had wokhei that only a cast iron stove can bring. Because of the thin layer of rice directly scotched by the heat, there’s a bit of crispy rice on the bottom that reminded one of claypot rice.
The food was good and reasonable priced. The service was prompt, but I am afraid does not speak English. There may be one or two persons that may speak Mandarin, but the menu is available in 3 languages (KR/EN/CH). When all thing fails, just point and order.
Changgo 43 City Hall 창고 43 시청점
75 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 중구 서소문동 75
Tel : +82 2 6020 7955
Visited Nov 2022