If you love food porn, the Korean Stone BBQ is a great place to get your fix. There’s something mesmerizing about watching waitstaff blowtorch beef, making the meat sizzle, darken and take on a gleaming, succulent look.
It’s also a haven for purists. They’re all about authenticity here, according to co-founder Tony Seo: everything, from the marble slabs used to barbecue to the homemade kimchi, is meant to give you a genuine Korean experience.
In short, there’s none of that Chinese-Korean fusion nonsense. It’s just imported meat and old-school cooking.
Seo says using a blowtorch to cook meat is normal in Korea, as is barbecuing on stone. The latter has other benefits: the marble boards used in restaurants warm up slowly and supposedly cook meat more evenly than a metal grill.
We don’t notice a difference in taste, but the meal certainly takes on a slower pace – rather than worry about over-charred pork, we get to chat as the stone heats.
The leisurely cooking is popular with large groups of friends, many Korean or Korean-Chinese, who come to the modest space. Even hidden in a back corner of Coastal City, it’s lively on a weekday night.
The Korean Stone BBQ offers a variety of dishes with a focus on meat. The original steak’s (RMB78) open-flame treatment brings out the flavor and texture of the beef, while the pre-seasoned pork strips (RMB48) hit home with a juicy, bacon-like taste.
The Korean miso soup (RMB38) is loaded with veggies and carries a spicy kick, while the cheesy fried rice (RMB35) combines the strong flavors of seaweed and kimchi with mozzarella.
With the hearty food, a Korean crowd and K-pop blaring in the background, this restaurant may be as close as Shenzhen gets to a quality, mid-level Korean joint.
Price: RMB100-150 for two
Who’s going: homesick Koreans, savvy foodies, meat lovers
Good for: authentic Korean, quality meat, unwinding with friends
[Photos by Daniel MH Chun]