On my bid to experience more Korean food, I am always asking people good things to try. Things generally that don’t involve kimchi! Dak galbi is often recommended and is something I really enjoy. I have now tried it a few times and would say it’s one of my favourite Korean foods. If you are visiting Korea (and aren’t a vegetarian!), give it go!
Dak gali translates to chicken rib, although it isn’t actually ribs. It is similar to Korean BBQ in that it is a communal meal. Everyone sits around a large pan, then chicken, rice cakes and cabbage are cooked in a spicy sauce. Other elements can then be added, such as ramen, rice and cheese. It is essentially a spicy Korean chicken stir fry. It can be a little spicy so it is not a dish for the faint-hearted!
How to Enjoy Dak Galbi
You begin by choosing what you would like in your dak galbi. Once you have decided, they chicken, sauce, cabbage and rice cakes are added to the big dish. As far as I have experienced, it is cooked by the staff and not by you. This takes off some of the pressure.
Like eating BBQ, you will be brought a selection of side dishes. These differ between restaurants, but generally comprise of kimchi, seaweed soup, and perilla leaves. I’m always hungry so I usually end up eating these before the dak galbi is ready!
When it is ready, you just pick at it with chopsticks, which is no easy task. If you choose cheese, which I think you should!, it is a gorgeous gooey tomatoey mess! As it is stir fry, it is less unhealthy than some other Korean food, although it is far some wholesome. It is often served with perilla and lettuce leaves. Like when eating BBQ, you then wrap you cheesey stir fry in the leaves. Perilla leaves are slightly bitter, and bloody lovely.
If you have chosen rice or ramen, this will be added about halfway through. It’s an ingenious way to make a meal stretch. Once then add it and mix it, it is like having a whole new mean! As someone who is unashamedly greedy, I find this fantastic!
As with all Korean restaurants, beer is obviously on offer, and actively encouraged. Korean beer brands, such as Hite and Cass, are incredibly cheap. As you would imagine, they are pretty tasteless. I have heard stories about the number of chemicals added during production due to the way they transport it. I often feel pretty ropey the next day and have heard this is too blame. If you are drinking it, perhaps go lightly! Mixing it with soju (Korean liquor) probably does little to help.
In my quest to experience as many Korean foods as I can, this is one of my favourites. Korean food is often fried or covered in kimchi, two things that don’t sit well in my terrible stomach. It is nice to have an option that is a little less heavy on the stomach.
Have you tried Dak Galbi? What did you think?