Cheese Dung Galbi (Pork Ribs), Hongdae, Seoul: Because Not in SG, Yet

This blog strives to post food that is out-of-this-world, spectacular and worth remembering forever. Afterall you can never delete anyting on the internet. So blogging about amazing food lets me look back anytime and smile at those delicious days. However in this post, I am so embarrassed to write that this dish is not out of this world, not exactly spectacular (it didn’t even come close), and quite frankly, I have no desire to remember the taste forever. But I hunted down this dish because out of the many many Korean exports, it has not arrived on our sunny Singapore shores. Yet. These days, one has to find unusual ways of being a pioneer…

Cheese Dung Galbi (Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Cheese), 치즈등갈비, is just one of the many takes on American comfort food by the Koreans. No visitor to Seoul will deny the strong influence America has on the modern Korean “cuisine”. Just look at the chips/ crisps and ice-cream in the 7/11, and street food such as fried potatoes and sausages everywhere. 

In this particular dish, the Koreans took a hot plate, topped it with cheap easily-meltable cheese, grilled saucy baby back ribs, and served it all on a portable gas stove. To Korean-fy it further, some good old Korean rice cakes never hurt. Ta-dah! A new dish is born. You have got to applaud their ingenuity.

How does one eat it? Wait for the cheese to melt. Then using the plastic glove provided, hold up a rib and dunk it in to the melted cheese, lift up and twist more cheese around it. That’s it. This dish is to be consumed purely for comfort purposes. They didn’t even bother glamourizing it.

This dish is not hard to find. In Hongdae, it was everywhere! Short of time, we popped into the first place seen to offer this dish. Sat down, pointed to the picture, held up two fingers signifying two portions then pointed to level two spiciness. Shortly thereafter this hot plate arrived.

Having said that, this dish was not bad. The meat around the rib was tender albeit could have been meatier. And that sauce, at level two spiciness, was lip-numbingly spicy. If you love your heat, SHIOK! My friend was perspiring from the heat, I was revelling in the spiciness.

Very soon the cheese will go from liquid to crusty and that’s when the real fun begins. Scrap off the brown bits for some crispy cheese chips – it’s fun!

If you are heading to Seoul soon and desperately need a place to eat, do pop in to one of these cheese-ribs joint for an experience. >_<

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