Standing room only here. Patrons get in, they eat heartily, and they get out. That’s sort of the custom, but no one’s complaining. Locals don’t come here for ludicrously extravagant décor or annoyingly pretentious service. They come here to eat seriously good food, and the owners of Seo Seo Galbi deliver on that promise.
Once a pit stop for bus drivers, a place to grab a quick bite while on their busy routes, Seo Seo Galbi has since opened its doors to the general public. Located minutes from Sinchon Station in Seoul, they’ve been keeping people well fed for just over 45 years. There’s always a queue outside. No reservations to be had. First come, first served. Nothing fancy. Just plenty of quality beef. My kind of place.
And prices are more than reasonable. 150 g of deliciously-seasoned galbi will run you a modest 14,000 won. Food is served with all the traditional fixings, Korean peppers, and red pepper paste. My kind of place.
Smoke clouds the circular, steel BBQ table, but no one seems to mind. Everyone’s too busy huddled around, conversing with friends and relatives. Food in Korea is more than just what’s prepared and served. Restaurants of this nature are social playgrounds – they are places where interaction trumps presentation. That’s what I’ve come to learn about eating in Korea. These memories will stay with me long after I return to Canada. Getting there. Take subway Line 2 to Sinchon Station and hop out Exit 7. Walk straight to the first set of lights and cross the street. Seo Seo Galbi is just up the steep hill on your right.
Canada-born Gregory Curley is a professional photographer based in Seoul. His work has appeared in The Korea Herald, SEOUL Magazine, Elle, MTV, 10 Magazine, Morning Calm, CNNGo and CNN.
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