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December 14, 2022

The Best Korean BBQ Amsterdam has to Offer (Top 5)

Looking for an authentic Korean BBQ Amsterdam experience? Find out where to go for the best Amsterdam Korean BBQ and why it’s so popular.

The rise in popularity that Korean BBQ has seen in the last few years internationally has been all but inevitable. The food is exotic and familiar, the Korean restaurants Amsterdam has to offer are usually an intimate experience in a social and busy setting, and the customers have a great deal of control over the quality and quantity of their food.

Stay with us to learn about the best Korean BBQ Amsterdam restaurants, the history of Korean BBQ, and the best ways to enjoy it.

What is Korean BBQ Amsterdam?

Korean Barbecue is a method of grilling meat (usually pork, beef, or chicken) in Korean cuisine. The meat cuts can be marinated in various flavours before barbecuing them.

The experience of making barbecue at your table is just as important as the food flavours in Korean cuisine. While meat is the main event in Korean Barbecue, there is also a wide selection of several side dishes in small bowls in the centre of the table.

A full set of dishes at a Korean BBQ Amsterdam
top view of Korean BBQ with full side dishes

Why is Amsterdam Korean BBQ so Popular?

The past few years have seen a wave of everything Korean take the world by storm, from music and television shows to food. At the heart of this wave is Korean Barbecue. There are many reasons why ‘KBBQ’ began becoming more mainstream in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Great atmosphere

First is the setting and atmosphere of Korean restaurants. Most Amsterdam Korean BBQ restaurants have a club-like atmosphere that makes them suitable for fun and social meals. When you walk into a Korean restaurant, you hear music playing, and see large groups of people eating and having fun.

The atmosphere is quite different from the conventional quiet and isolated restaurants. The club-like atmosphere brings a sense of celebration that makes the experience more enjoyable and memorable.

Authentic experience

Another reason for Amsterdam Korean BBQ’s popularity is its authentic experience. Customers grill and serve their food at Korean barbecue restaurants. The tables have grills at the centre, and the diners are provided utensils to cook and divide the food as they please.

All-you-can-eat

Part of the unique and exciting experience of Korean food Amsterdam is the all-you-can-eat experience. The freedom to get as much of a new food as you like for a fixed price is appealing for the adventurous diner whose finances may be limited.

Next up, the best Korean restaurant in Amsterdam.

The best Amsterdam Korean BBQ Restaurants

1. Khan

Located in Buitenveldert, Khan is one of the most popular Amsterdam Korean BBQ restaurants; and it is popular for a reason. It serves authentic Korean dishes with recipes passed down for generations. The food is fantastic, the staff helpful and warm, and the price reasonable.

2. Hwa Won

Hwa Won is often described as the most authentically Korean restaurant Amsterdam has to offer. While it may not have the best setting and ambiance, the food more than makes up for it. Ignore that and prepare to have your mind blown by the delicious food that might have just come straight out of Korea.

3. Miss Korea

This all-you-can-eat Amsterdam Korean BBQ restaurant is a must-visit in the city. Diners sit comfortably around a table with an inset barbecue grill at its centre and get the chance to cook their dinner. The menu is extensive, including prawns, squid, a selection of vegetables, pork belly, and seasoned beef. While the menu consists of a large selection of conventional Korean dishes, they also serve other dishes, such as sushi, to attract a wider audience.

Miss Korea is a great spot to hang out with a group of friends and family and catch up while you barbecue to your heart’s content.

4. Soju Bar

This Korean restaurant opened in Amsterdam in 2022, and from the success it has enjoyed, it seems it is here to stay. Even though they don’t do Korean BBQ, they do have the best Korean fried chicken. The restaurant is a place to hang out with friends while having fun and enjoying good food. To this end, several fun activities make Soju a perfect place for a fun hangout, including the beer pong games and the karaoke bar. They even hired a Korean chef to ensure they serve the best Korean food Amsterdam has to offer

5. SEOUL SISTA

Seoul Sista is another staple of Korean BBQ in Amsterdam. It is in the city centre, and the restaurant offers extensive enough space to host large groups comfortably. They also offer an all-you-can-eat buffet for that friend with a healthy appetite! So if you are travelling with a big family or large group op friends, make sure to visit Amsterdam Korean BBQ restaurant.

Sharing good food and wine with friend
Sharing good food and wine with friend

The History of Korean BBQ

Korean Barbecue can trace its origins to the nomadic Maek tribal group. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, they had the time to marinate the meat, but they needed a way to cook it quickly; hence meakjeok. ‘Maek’ referred to the tribe, while ‘jeok’ referred to the skewers used to prepare the meat over an open fire.

While the meat continued to evolve and be refined, another development would significantly impact Korean Barbecue. The spread of Buddhism meant that meat fell out of favour, and a spread of smaller, primarily vegetable-based dishes was developed.

With the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, meat again rose in popularity, but the banchan had become essential to Korean cuisine, and it now has equal standing with meat. All this history culminated in the beautiful spread of Korean dishes we love at barbecues.

While the traditional Korean barbecue experience contains several elements, here are some consistent components of Korean BBQ:

The Meat

The richness and smoky flavor of charred meat are one of the foundations of Korean BBW. The other elements on the table do play a role and are delicious, but the meat is the star of the show. Bulgogi (marinated beef), also known as ‘fire meat,’ is one of the most popular varieties of Korean Barbecue. However, it is not your only option. You will generally have a choice of the meat you want to have, including samgyeopsal (pork belly), Dwaeji bulgogi (Spicy pork), Dak galbi, and Dak gu-i (Chicken). And the cuts of meat are just as varied.

At every Korean restaurant Amsterdam holds, meat will arrive at the table raw, and the restaurant will provide you with the utensils to grill it yourself.

Ssamjang: The Sauce

No matter the meat you choose to enjoy, you will need ssamjang to spread on them. It is a universal dipping sauce that combines the savory flavor of soybean paste with the heat of gochujang (chilli paste). In English, Ssamjang translates to ‘wrapped thick sauce’ as it is put on perilla and lettuce leaves and then wrapped around the meat.

The Ssam

In Korean Barbecue, Ssam describes the meat and vegetables after wrapping. You can use perilla leaves, sesame leaves, lettuce leaves, or a combination. Vegetables that you can add to the wrapping include cucumbers and bean sprouts.

Banchan: The side dishes

Banchan is an umbrella term to describe the feast of side dishes provided by Korean Barbecue. These side dishes provide some palate relief from the meat marathon you are about to participate in. Some popular banchan dishes include fermented and pickled vegetables, such as kimchi, kongnamul (seasoned soybean sprouts), potato side dishes, eggs (soy marinated or rolled omelet), jeon (pancakes), and rice.

The Drinks

With all the competing, complementary, and contrasting flavours on the table, you will need something to wash it all down. In Korean culture, drinking is a collective activity that comes with its etiquette. You will want to keep the drinks on the light side because of all the eating to be done. Common drinks served at Korean Barbecue include makgeolli, wine, and beer.

Doenjang jjigae: The Stew

If you still feel ambitious after all that eating, you can round out the meal with a stew. Korean restaurants usually serve stews towards the end of a meal. Doenjang jjigae is a fermented bean stew paste with vegetables and protein that you can enjoy with several dishes like kimchi and rice.

That’s all you need to know about Korean BBQ! Which restaurant will you be visiting?

Wondering what to do after enjoying a Korean BBQ Amsterdam? Check out our blog on the best things to do in Amsterdam at night!

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