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hipster steak tartare – Cheongdam-dong yukhoe restaurant (육회본좌)

One of the cool things about being in Korea is those unexpected synchronoisites between back home and out here. One of my favourite dishes in London is a steak tartare at The Wolseley. It is one of those perfect combinations of food, venue and hangover reduction.

Sinsa-dong yukhoe (육회) restaurant, Seoul

I always thought that raw minced beef, egg and a few capers and onions – or steak tartare – was a uniquely European thing and then drunk one night at 3:00am someone said “do you want to go and get some raw beef?” and I learnt about yukhoe (육회). Now I think this a generic term for a raw beef dish but generally it refers to a Korean style steak tartare which is, quite frankly, better than the Euro version.

Sinsa-dong yukhoe (육회) restaurant, Seoul

Now, despite my mediocreness at cooking I can actually give you a recipe so you can make this at home. It is minced fresh raw beef which has been marinated in sesame oil and mirin/ sweetener, egg on the side, matchsticks of pear and Korean seasame leaf to mix in. When good the meat so tender that it reminds you of premium grade tuna (chutoro) with the taste spot and softly on.

Sinsa-dong yukhoe (육회) restaurant, Seoul

We went to a small backstreet place in Sinsa to eat it and I will upload the coordinates to my Gmap when I get a moment as it is worth trying. I knew I would love the restaurant as soon as I walked in. The grandma doing all the cooking behind the counter was rocking American Apparel pretty hard and the menu was pretty simple: raw beef with stuff with beer or soju on the side. I mean what is not to love.

Sinsa-dong yukhoe (육회) restaurant, Seoul

We had the yukhoe mentioned above but also the raw beef in two other dishes: a yukhoe bibimbap (비빔밥) and naegmyeon (냉면). For those of you who are unfamiliar with Korean food that is basically raw beef mushed with rice and some leaves and raw beef with cold long noodles. Again a complete success and use of raw beef in ways I hadn’t expected.

Sinsa-dong yukhoe (육회) restaurant, Seoul

  • Name – 육회본좌
  • Address – 101-24 Nonhyeon-dong , Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul / TeJc Gmap here
  • Price – KRW20,000 to 30,000 a head

19 Comments

  1. I had this dish recently, in Kimchee, a Korean restaurant in Holborn… I really liked it, especially the sweetness of the pear against the meat and yolk. Revelatory…

    • Yup – just such a good dish. Kimchee opened after I left London so haven’t been there! However, it is definitely one worth making at home I think. I have also had it hear in kind of slider size as a small appetizer. A good starter for a lazy cook!

  2. This is one of my favourite Korean dishes – I just love the combo of the beef and pear. Sadly, I can’t always order it, as some of the dullards around the table get a bit squeamish about raw beef.

    • When I come back it is definitely a dish I will make myself. It is just such a good dish. I would guess – thinking about it – that the Japanese have some variant as well. Definitely want to try that.

  3. YUMmm this is one of my favorites =D

  4. I’ve had in yukhoe in Jin Lung Bao, a Korean restaurant in Causeway Bay. But I prefer the Korean ox tongue sashimi (how it’s referred to on the English language menu) at Yi Pai Ya, an izakaya in Causeway Bay which specialises in ox tongue (grilled, stewed, Japanese style sashimi, tataki, etc.). Have you had that yet in Korea? :b

    • I have to admit I haven’t tried that yet – it sounds quite fun. Now to try and decode where and how to find that in Seoul. Unfortunately it isn’t always easy as my Korean is bad and the English resources here are terrible.

  5. nulle

    yum, giving it a try when in Seoul next time, you sure the price is correct?? like missing one or two zeros? 200-300 KRW (25-30 cents USD)

    • Nulle – sorry you are right. I dashed off this post before going to Shanghai so was obviously already thinking in RMB. Updated it!

  6. Sunfug

    Amazing isn’t it? You write a post in Seoul and 1,000′s of miles away salivary glands perk up, a stomach rumbles and fingers reach for the keyboard as my brain scans through friends who would be up for some Korean Tartare! Terrific pictures as well.

    Incidentally, if you find yourself in S. London, The Bear in Camberwell does a superb Tartare ( and is a great independent boozer in an unlikely location to boot). On our visit It came with perfectly fried, super-crispy chips cut from the ends of the potato. The texture contrast with the beef was brilliant and I admired the chef’s well thought out thriftiness. I’m sure these frites are specific to the Tartare because my son (to whom chips are as bamboo is to a giant panda) got regular, perfectly cooked, frites for his nutritionally balanced lunch.

    http://www.thebear-freehouse.co.uk/

    • Sunfug I guess you may have to go to New Malden although the enclave of Korean restaurants near Tottenham Court Station/ Oxford Street seem to have a fairly wide menu. Though I remember them being ridiculously expensive.

      I would probably just go to a good butcher and get some high quality beef and pioneer it myself… well quite honestly I would ask Jen to cook it :/

  7. nulle

    sunfug, you should try the mom and pop restaurants in Seoul. I wish the quality of Korean food in my neck of the woods is anywhere near the quality in Seoul (and closer to my place.)

    @TomEats,
    200-300 RMB per person would sound very spendy to me and the food quality/service have to justify the price(or the rent.)

    • Nulle – for raw beef I am happy to pay a bit more though the cost in KRW is more like USD 20 which I think is still pretty good.

      It was with 2 or 3 dishes a head and a few beers. That said I generally find the food in Seoul to not be that cheap. Fairly average mum and pop meals are USD 10 or more. I think Seoul is one of the more expensive cities I have lived in. Whilst there are some places to get really ‘local’ food it doesn’t match HK with bowls of noodles for HKD 26 etc.!

  8. yukhoe, yookhwei, yookhey… whatever you wanna call it.. is one of my favourite things EVAH. evah.

  9. Oh, wow. Tartar is one of my favorite dishes but it has been a while since I don´t eat. I miss one I used to have in my hometown but since being in HK, I haven´t had a really good one. Cannot wait to have one.

  10. nulle

    @Tom,
    Seoul is an expensive place to eat…lunch at a korean grill in gangnam cost 10-15 USD per head…dinner could easily go above 25 USD for standard meal. Then again, prices in Shanghai and Beijing are pretty close to NYC prices. Tokyo/Japan is just as bad spending 10 USD for an average McD meal…

    yeah, miss the cheap and tasty HK eats.

    • Yup Seoul really is expensive which is a bit of a shame. Everywhere seems to be averaging out at an ‘international city price’ in the world’s major cities. What I don’t understand is how the original inhabitants afford it. Still when staying with friends in Shanghai we generally eat for well under USD 5 a meal. Well under… We are probably eating non WHO recommended stuff though.

  11. i can’t believe u JUST found out about yukhoe after living is Seoul for so long !!!!!!!!!!
    It’s one my favorite things to put on my tongue & I have it all the time (don’t tell my guru) & the sole reason why i can’t be fully orthodox Hindu yet.
    (& i don’t understand why you call it hipster steak tartare… do you mean that it’ll be the nu steak tartare in the West..?..)
    Minced raw beef isn’t solely a European thing (it’s called “steak tartare” because the TARTARs brought it over to the West)– Yukhoe 肉膾 is actually an ancient Chinese thing (like most Korean & Japanese things) back when it was still trendy to eat raw foods in China, like say, 2000 years ago. Then the Chinese developed quick flash stir-frying & delicate steaming & abandoned the raw food movement to the Viets, the Koreans & the Japanese. Japanese “yukke” is just the island version of Korean yukhoe.

  12. Sc

    How much would that be?

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