When I covered Korean BBQ last time, I barely scratched the surface. Since I eat BBQ much more frequently than Koreans do, I consider myself an expert on the subject.
From a nutrient/price standpoint, Korean BBQ is fantastic. You just pay for the meat and eat as much vegetables as you want. The meat can cost as low as $1.70 per 100 grams of meat, and some places have you get your own vegetables, which is just asking to be abused. A low carb paradise.
Today I will talk about one of the tastiest types of Korean BBQ, 뒷고기, pronounced “Dweet-Go-Gee”.
뒷means “back” and 고기means “meat”
The etymology of this word is almost interesting: Long ago, butchers would hide the best meat in the back of their shops. Thus, back-meet.
It tastes so good that butchers wouldn’t sell it? You'd think a meat this good would come from some really magical part of an animal or a case like veal where the animal is farmed in a very particular condition. If I had to make a guess I'd say DGG was cow clitoris or the vaginal walls of a pig butchered in mid-orgasm.
And I'd be wrong! DGG is the complete opposite. It's almost mystery meat; It's the skeletal muscle left over after the good parts of a pig have been harvested, cut near the joints.
So if 뒷고기is the leftover meat, why is it so popular, and why does it taste so good?
I have no clever answer for you.
Unlike most other BBQs, if you want to eat DGG, you have to go to a restaurant that specializes in DGG. It's not offered generic BBQs, and DGG restaurants only have DGG. Prepare to pay 3 to 3.5k per order. You'll probably get jewed on the veggies (never seen a place where you get self-serve) so I'd say 3-4 orders serves one.
The best places to find DGG restaurants in Busan are at Pusan National University, Kyungsung University and Hadan. I’ve already scouted out the talent all over the city so you don’t have to.
Pusan National University- The “Original” Gimhae Duit Go Gi 원작 김해 뒷 고기
The thing you have to know about “Gimhae” Duit Go Gi is that every DGG restaurant is called Gimhae Duit Go Gi. Why the first place decided to name itself after this shitty adjacent town with it's shitty airport I don't know, but it trended. Every other DGG restaurant started calling themselves 김해뒷고기. But if you pay attention to the food, menu, and cookware, you can figure out if a Gimhae DGG restaurant is a franchise of the original location or a copycat. Actually, no you can't.Everything in Korea is an imitation of something else.
At PNU, the most popular DGG restaurant has the balls to prefix “원작”to their name, meaning Original. This is where I had my first “best meal in Korea”. It's a hole in the wall, albeit a really big fucking hole. I have nothing but good things to say about this place- The price is 3k/serving, and the ajosshi that serves you the coal and the meat isn't shy about cooking the meat and veg for you.
Here are the characteristics of a Gimhae Duit Go Gi restaurant:
They serve finely chopped jalapenos (meant to be put in your brown sauce, not on the grill).
They serve you chopped carrot.
The onions are square-cut rather than sliced.
The grill is coal-fired, perforated all over, and square.
They tilt the grill with a soju bottle cap to help the fat drain for the first 10 minutes.
Across the street from this restaurant is a Gimhae Duit Go Gi restaurant that is identical in quality but not as popular. My Korean friends only go there when the original house is full. Why?First-mover advantage! Droppin micro-econ knowledge on you bro.
Directions: From exit 1 or 3 of PNU 128 on the orange line, walk away from the station. Pass both busy intersections and follow the one-way, two-lane road left. The original will be on your right, the sign is black and the restaurant has two sections. You'll pass a hole in the wall fruit shake shop right before it. You'll know by the smell, it's hard to miss.
Kyung Sung University – “Today” Gimhae Duit Go Gi
****A MUST TRY****
Only four of these onul, meaning “today” franchises exist, but I’ve only found two, around the corner from each other in KSU. I really doubt that DGG gets any better than here. Many people I've brought here say it's the best BBQ they've ever had. Unless you have a serious preference for beef over pork, in which case you're in the wrong country, it'll probably be true for you too.
This place has very tender meat, and it's so flavorsome because they throw onions, garlic, kim chi, and that sauced welsh onion that Koreans love so much onto the grill when the meat is almost done cooking. There are instructions in Korean on how to cook it properly, but if it's not too busy they'll do it for you. It's always busy.
No charcoal here, they use a super-slick gas grill so your burned bits will never stick. The room is very well ventilated.
Price is 3.5k/serving. Oh and they use 생 “seng” duit-go-gi, which in this context means never-frozen meat.
Open from 4pm till really late.
Directions: From the main campus intersection with Family Mart and the Kebab Guy, there are four ways you can go. One street goes from Almost Famous to O'Taco and Aussie Burger. The other street extends towards Thursday Party and leads back towards the subway. You want to walk on that street, away from Thursday Party. Both franchises are at the second intersection. Turn right and walk 5 seconds for the one with the short guy that looks like Jackie Chan, the frowny Chinese bitch, and the non-descript other guy. Or, walk 5 seconds past the intersection and look to your left for the understaffed one with two young dudes, one of which is cool and the other one of which is an asshole. I recommend frowny Chinese bitch, the short guy is the friendly manager.
Onul Gimhae Duit Go Gi gets 5 hats out of 5
Hadan- More Duit Go Gi
Hadan is at the south end of Hell and just an absolute bitch to get to, so I've only eaten DGG here twice. Once in this story, and once with Brett. The time I ate with Brett, it was totally different. Instead of getting sloppy chunks of meat, we got two steaks that we cut ourselves. They also gave us some queer yellow spice to put on the meat. I don’t remember it tasting any different. I’m only mentioning Hadan because the area is notable for Duit Go Gi. It’s just so damn far that I would never go there unless I had the misfortune of living so far south on the orange line.