Feel like eating Korean BBQ on a freezing day, but don’t want to end up smelling (and looking) and meat?
We found a ‘healthy’ alternative after traipsing the streets of Hongdae and Ehwa (Seoul’s University Town) – the Kong Bul shopfront beckoned to us in the cold – with its cosy brick exterior and the warm lights within – so in we went!
(Yes, that’s our Udon in a jug!)
Super inviting !
The name is made up of the two main ingredients featured on the menu !
“콩” (kong) = Kong-na-mul / Beansprouts
불 (bul) = Bul-go-gi / Pork !
Its basically a lean pork and beansprout hot plate with lots of yummy gochujang (Korean spicy pepper paste)
The meat is lean so its low fat, and there’s no oil used – guilt free barbecue ^.^
The thing about Korean food (and I refer specifically to the kind you typically get in Korean restaurants and street cafes, not traditional Korean banquets), is that there’s not much in the way of presentation. Everything is generally mixed up, smeared with hot pepper paste, and eaten with copious amounts of rice or dduk (rice cakes).
It is really comforting to have, but after a while, you start to feel like your tastebuds get desensitized completely – and can only detect spicy and more spicy.
Sometimes, liquor helps to cut through all that fieriness.
Jin-ro Mae Hwa Soo (Green Plum Wine)
Abby and I liked it – it was sweet and quite smooth, quite girly. But LY made a face and said it tasted like cough medicine.
Then the food was ready, and we fell to.
Like I said, after a while, everything started to look the same.
Now I’m a person who can do spicy – but the kong-bul really killed me.
The beansprouts simply soaked up all that pepper paste – they were VESSELS for pepper paste.
I made it through the first few bites, acted blase, and then freaked out when the volcano erupted in my mouth.
I then stumbled around blindly for water, knocking a whole glass bottle of Chilsung Cider on the ground in the process and getting sorely embarrassed.
I then choked back a tumbler of the cider expecting sweet relief, but the only effect was gassing up all that chili again, sending me into a spice-induced coma.
NO MATTER, THREE CUPS OF ICED WATER LATER, I WAS BACK – the stuff was so crazily addictive, I figured I would just eat more rice to counteract the spice.
Even LY and Abby, legen – wait for it – dary spice cowards, soldiered on bravely, alternately soaking the dish in bowls of seaweed soup and eating chilled pickles.
If you are ever wandering the streets of Hongdae, in need of sustenance and a spicy adventure, try Kong-Bul !
Its a franchise with outlets all over Seoul, and even Busan, so you’ve got lots of different locations to choose from !