When it comes to Korean BBQ, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had our fair share of 삼겹살 (samgyupsal), or as my friends like to call it, wet bacon. While those fatty, common cuts of meat can be tasty, I’m the type of person that likes a little variety. On that note, I’d like to talk about a little place called 신마포갈매기 (Shin Mapo Galmaegi), a chain that specializes in 갈매기살 (galmaegisal).
So just what part of the pig is 갈매기살? It is basically the meat located right in the middle of the animal and underneath the ribs. This cut has become rather popular with the locals, most likely due to the fact that it’s both tender and doesn’t come with the messy fat that one has to deal with when chowing down on wet bacon.
I recently went to the Sangmu location with a friend after having gone multiple times with my coworkers for office parties. I figured it was finally time to enjoy the restaurant on my terms. When we arrived, the place was packed with hungry locals. Since it was just the two of us, we were able to get a small table fairly easily.
Once we were seated, we was quick to order two orders of the 마포갈매기 (mapo galmaegi) as well as two orders of 돼지껍데기 (dwaejikkeobdegi), better known as pork skin. We also ended up getting an order of 돼지갈비 (dwaejigalbi), commonly known as marinated pork that is delicious and awesome.
After we placed our orders, the wait staff was quick to load up our table with side dishes and bring fire to our table. After our meat was placed on the grill, our waiter filled up what looked like a meat moat with an egg mixture to slowly cook along with the rest of our meal. As we devoured our sides (love the kimchi tofu), we began to grow restless with anticipation.
The 갈매기살 was quite good on its own (my paranoia caused me to burn it a little), but it was taken to another level after being dipped in this interesting sauce that had onions and peppers in it. While I’m not entirely sure what the sauce was made of, it added a nice sweet and savory element to the meat. As for the pork skin, let me start off by saying that I’m usually not a fan. There’s something about those oily, chewy, often flavorless squares that I find unappetizing (I’m a spoiled American who likes her skins crunchy). The only time I’ll make an exception is at this restaurant. Each piece of skin appears to have been soaked in some sort of spicy marinade that makes it taste amazing when cooked. Though it’s not usually recommended, I like my pieces with a little char to give them a lovely combination of crunchy and chewy. Be warned that they have been known to pop while cooking.
We actually ordered the 돼지갈비 later after realizing just how hungry we were. As expected, it was yummy with a fair amount of sweetness. At this point, we also found ourselves fighting over the now fully ready egg moat, which had pieces of kimchi cooked into it. In the end, we walked away stuffed and happy.
Overall, 신마포갈매기 is a great place for those of you carnivores that are looking for less obvious options. One dish I’d like to recommend that was not in this review is the 메콤갈매기 (maekomgalmaegi), which is a spicy marinated version of the original house special. With its affordable prices, lack of floor seating (yay chairs!), and delicious options, there’s very little to dislike about this restaurant.
Address: 광주광역시 서구 치평동 1255 (located a few blocks away from Sangmu station)
Average Price Range: 5,900-7,900 per meat order (gets more expensive for beef)