Wangbijib 왕비집 is 王妃家 in Hanji and would be easy to remember as one of the best Korean BBQ restaurant in Seoul for tourists. Why do I say tourist? Because they are tourist friendly but not necessary pocket friendly.
There are three branches in Myeongdong alone, so you can be sure of their popularity. And since they have become a franchise, the meat and food are all centrally procured so the quality among the shops is assured as well. But if you are particular about the lineage of the place you eat, then you must go to the place were it all started.
There’s no reservation at this store, so be prepared to wait in line. But fortunately for us, the queue was rather short and it was our turn even before we have finished studying the menu to decide what we are ordering. BTW, the beef are also available in the frozen format for bringing home in the airplane friendly packaging and would keep “fresh” as long as the flight is less than 8 hours.
농협 Nonghyeob is the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, something like USDA for Korea. 안심한우 Ansim Hanwoo is beef certified to be true Korean beef. There are 5 grades; 1++/1+/1/2/3, and all good BBQ restaurants would serve 1++/1+ at least. This is evident from the marbling on the beef. We ordered an original flavour sirloin 생등심 saeng deungsim to taste the delicious flavour of hanwoo.
업진살 Eobjinsal is the lower belly of the abdomen of the cow. It is a fatty cut and can be chewy. So it is recommended to grill this to medium or more. Don’t worry that it would dry out because of the fattiness of the cut.
What I like about eating Korean BBQ in these restaurants is that we do not have to do it ourselves. The waiters know exactly what are the recommended doneness for each cut of meat. The sirloin was done to medium rare while the beef belly was done to medium and this cut is more chewy.
Yangnyeom Galbi 양념갈비 is marinated short ribs and Wang Galbi 왕갈비 is the traditional cut of short rib commonly seen at specialised Korean BBQ restaurants in Korea. Most of the time we get the L.A. cut (which is sideway cut of short ribs) instead of this way of slicing the ribs.
Nicely marbled and full of flavour, everyone loves this sweet–salty meat boasting a heady mix of garlic and ginger. The best doneness for yangnyeom galbi is medium or more to let the meat to produce the Maillard effect and sauce to be caramelised.
I loved the burnt bits on the side of the rib bone the best because of the smoky and satisfying taste of these carcinogenic good eats.
Wangjibip offers free-flow of banchan. But the selection of banchan was not that exciting except for the sweet potato egg salad.
Not only did they move away from the traditional potato salad by using sweet potato (resulting in that mustard yellow colour and sweet taste), they also drizzled the salad with some condensed milk to intensify the flavours.
Haemulpajeon 해물파전 Seafood Pancake is often the add-on for a Korean BBQ meal besides the stew or noodles. I like the pancake’s crispy texture as it was quite doughy. Many places used a slightly more watered down version of the dough to produce a thinner pancake. Unfortunately there was little seafood, but nevertheless it was quite tasty.
This Korean BBQ chain is not the cheapest but definitely one of the highest quality that I had in Seoul. Service was good, staff could speak good Chinese for non-Korean speaking tourists. One has to remember that Hanwoo is very limited in quantity; that’s also why you would not be able to get it in Singapore. Therefore a Korean Hanwoo BBQ is a must-do itinerary for Seoul. If you want value-for-money, you would have to go find it at Majang Meat Market 마장 축산물시장 instead.
Wangbijib Myeongdong Main Store
26 Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel : +82 2-3789-1945
Visited Nov 2022