Eating raw meat may not be for everyone, and even for Koreans, it is a love-it-or-hate-it experience. But for those who love it, or who have a more adventurous palate, yukhoe, a Korean dish similar to beef tartare, is not to be missed.
Yukhoe, literally "raw beef" in Korean, consists of thin slivers of high quality beef, typically lean rump, in a nutty, umami-packed marinade. It is usually served with a raw egg yolk and julienned Korean pear, while the marinade ingredients tend to vary by region.
Long a favorite of older generations, it is becoming increasingly popular among younger Koreans, with various new interpretations of the dish popping up all over Korea.
The Korea Herald explored some of Seoul’s yukhoe eateries, ranging from the more traditional to those who have given the dish a modern twist.
Hyeongje Yukhoe can be found in one of Korea’s oldest and largest traditional markets, the bustling Gwangjang Market in Seoul's Jongno-gu.
Hyeongje Yukhoe boasts a comprehensive selection of dishes including yukhoe, yukbimmyeon (raw beef and spicy cold noodles), yukhoe bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables), yuk sashimi (thinly sliced raw beef), yukjeon (beef pancake) and nakji tangtangi (live cut up octopus with yukhoe). The restaurant, which has been in business for over 16 years, was the first in Gwangjang Market to serve nakji tangtangi, and is the only one to serve yukbimmyeon, according to owner Jeon Song-gwang.