I love dakgalbi. My first proper meal in Korea was dakgalbi; it is my ultimate comfort food and something I never get tired of. So, naturally, when I came across a place offering dakgalbi with cheese, I was almost ecstatic. I miss cheese, people. I am well aware that Korea is no Europe, and real cheese in Korea is almost as expensive as gold. Desperate time calls for desperate measures, meaning that when I am in dire need of cheese, that white, synthetic, plastic-kind-of-but-not-too-gross cheese is not too bad. Mind you, I say NO NEIN NEE 아니 to that yellow cheese pathetically sitting on top of those semi-hamburgers and sandwiches. The white cheese, however, I can deal with on a not so regular basis.
Strangely enough, cheese dakgalbi proved to be more than satisfying a feast. And I don’t think it was just because I was desperate.
Cheese dakgalbi is a new invention. 2 months ago, I think, at 고찌비 in Sinchon, there was only one type of food on menu. It is called 고찌비 (고/go for gogi = meat; 찌/jji for jjigae = stew; and 비/bi = bibimbab = if you don’t know it you are at a wrong blog) where you pay 15000 KRW for 2, or 21000 KRW for 3 etc for a pan of thinly sliced beef, jjigae (kimchi or dwaenjang or sundubu jjigae), and unlimited self-service bibimbab. However, to catch up with the new trend of meat-with-cheese that is washing over this city, 고찌비 had to evolve itself with a novel dish called cheese dakgalbi 치즈 닭갈비. At first it may sound not quite right, but once our pan came to the table, we immediately surrendered our doubts to the amazing smell of marinated chicken and tantalizing melting cheese:
The meat was not sensational, but tasted quite good. It was not really dakgalbi, but less spicy, less aggressively seasoned and resembled your standard yangneom (marinated) chicken you can easily find in any fried chicken houses. At least the protein was juicy and tender and tasted quite nice on its own.
But why eat the chicken on its own while you have melted cheese to pair with?
Calorie-ladden, excessively fat and with every bite the guilt in me mounted high as Kilimanjaro but I didn’t care.
At 12000 KRW per person, you might think that it is not cheap. Indeed, I don’t usually pay more than 10000 KRW for a meal, being a poor college students coming from a middle-class family, yet 고찌비’s portion is generous. Apart from the cheese dakgalbi, you have access to unlimited banchan, where they offer not only those standard varieties of kimchi, but also MUSHROOMS. I mean, mushroom? Pure luxury. The best part is that you can also make your own bibimbab, using free rice & banchan to create a bowl of that ultimate Korean comfort food for yourself. Don’t make too big a bibim bowl, though, for the cheese dakgalbi is very, very filling.
고찌비 is accesible from Sinchon station. The resto is a bit hidden though, it is located next to Innisfree, near Choi’s Tacos and almost opposite to Artbox.