Over at Sorae Bulgogi in Soraemaul we tried three types of VERY traditional bulgogi.
The Eonyang Bulgogi comes from the southeast near Ulsan. It’s thin slices of been mixed with garlic and sesame oil and pounded like hell. It’s squeezed and massaged and eventually pressed by hand into a ball. At the grill it’s basically shredded with tongs and comes out tender and beefy.
The Gwangyang Bulgogi is mixed with onions and apples. The thin strips of ribeye are grilled over charcoal very quickly, flipping constantly. It’s kinda like chadolbagi brisket at other Korean restaurants. With this kind you can get some crispy edges and great textures.
The final kind is Seoul style cooked on a domed grill with broth around the edges. I’ve been told by a historian that the grill is fashioned after a Mongolian helmet. The top part gets that lovely kiss of charcoal. The broth is mild.
Unlike the bulgogi in modern Seoul and overseas, this isn’t that sweet. The Seoul style isn’t sweet at all. Even after ten years I’m still getting an education.