A few weeks ago, I went to 참한우직판식육식당 (Cham Hanwoo Jikpanshik Yookshikdang) with a couple of friends after having the restaurant recommended to me by my landlord. He had already taken my beau before, saying how he needed more “man power” as he fed him raw beef bibimbap. Since I’m a huge fan of beef, it was hard to find reasons not to go.
When we drove up to the restaurant, I was immediately surprised by how large the place was. It also won bonus points for having both table and floor seating available. Attached to the restaurant was a proper meat shop with its own butcher and everything. When we walked in, we initially assumed that the restaurant got their beef from this butcher, only to embarrassingly find out that all the meat we wanted to eat (for the grill) needed to be purchased directly from the meat shop. Though it took a few minutes of confused translating, the steps were pretty simple: 1.) Pick a seat. 2.) Go to the meat shop and purchase what you want to grill. 3.) Come back to your seat and start grilling.
After we got our seats, our very short trip to the butcher was a fun one. We all marveled over how fresh and gorgeous all the beef looked. The prices of the different cuts ranged anywhere from moderately priced for the decent stuff to fairly expensive for the beautifully marbled pieces. The three of us opted for one of the mid-range options along with some of the thin, fatty pieces of beef that were in the freezer (it was cheap and looked like beef bacon). We paid for our meat right there and went back to our table with our ready to cook beef, only to see that our waitress had already delivered all of our side dishes and soup.
The price of the beef we bought also included the price of all of our organic side dishes, which was a pretty sweet deal. Along with our usual sides was a cow blood soup that was boiling hot and rather tasty. We happily sipped on the broth while we cooked our tender pieces of beef on the grill with some garlic.
Unlike pork, which I personally think needs to be cooked all the way, beef has this magical ability to taste amazing, even when raw. Since I prefer my beef to be on the medium side, I didn’t have to leave my pieces of meat on the grill too long. As each piece cooked, the streaks of fat slowly melted away, leaving behind a tender, flavorful bite of beefy goodness. Though I wouldn’t recommend undercooking beef at any of the all-you-can-meat places, the freshness of the beef here left me feeling comfortable enough to consume those pink-centered morsels. The thinner, fatty pieces of beef, which cooked in seconds, were also quite heavenly.
Though we were feeling a little full after the grilled portion of our meal, I couldn’t help but obsess over the restaurant’s regular menu, which featured soups, stews, and the very famous 생고기비빔밥 (saeng gogi bibimbap), which is the classic bibimbap served with raw beef. Since I wanted to know what a healthy bowl of “man power” tasted like, I ordered the special version of it, which came with extra beef. What I got was a large bowl filled with vegetables, hot pepper paste, and a raw egg with a plate full of raw beef that had been seasoned with sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds on the side. I promptly mixed everything together with the bowl of rice I received, doing my best to make sure that every grain of rice was evenly coated with the pepper paste (which is how I usually mix my bibimbap). The result? Pure deliciousness. As much as I love the default bibimbap with cooked meat, eating it with raw beef takes it to another level. I know the texture can take some getting used to by those who aren’t used to consuming totally raw meat, but the flavor is so different and fresh compared to the usual.
Overall, 참한우직판식육식당 turned out to be a nice place that managed to satisfy that annoying craving for beef. Though it’s a little out of the way, it was worth the trip. I plan to go back soon to see what their beefy soups taste like.
Address: 광주광역시 서구 매월동 496-25 (about two blocks away from the main Pungam Intersection)
Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 10,000 – 20,000 per person (depending on the type of meat you select)