samhyupsal dinner set

Best affordable restaurants to eat Korean barbeque in Seoul

One of the best things to do while visiting Korea is immersing in the rich food culture. The new flavors will make your palate amused and might even have you missing some of the Korean dishes when you are back home. 

Korean cuisine is considered healthy given that the dishes are typically composed of diverse vegetables and often feature fermented elements. While these dishes permeate into the daily lives of the locals, the most famous dish in the country is the Korean barbecue. This article will cover some affordable locations recommended to try the typical, mouth-watering Korean Barbecue in Seoul.

What exactly is a Korean barbecue?

The focus of a Korean barbecue is the marinated meats. The most common meats served in Korea are pork, beef, and some seafood animals. Some of the best barbecue options are Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) and beef Galbi (소갈비).  

In addition, there is a proper way to eat a Korean barbecue. Koreans would take a lettuce leaf and wrap the meat inside with some sauces in it. You can visualize this as something similar to eating a small burrito. You can add anything you like to your small lettuce wrapping including rice, some sauces, or other vegetables. 

In addition, it’s common to see Koreans enjoying a barbecue with a group of friends while drinking some alcoholic beverages such as Soju.

Nice Piggy – 착한 돼지

Nice Piggy is a recommended option given its affordable pricing and convenient location.

Nice Piggy also known as Chakhan-dwaeji is a buffet that offers diverse meats and desserts. At the restaurant, you will find pork meat, beef, shrimp, chicken, and different types of Korean style marinated meats. Not only that, but they also have a large variety of dishes including fried chicken, pizza, pasta, french fries, salads, cola, fruits, desserts, and more. 

This restaurant is a great option for those who don’t have time to explore the Korean cuisine, and it’s a great way to try different meats at once.


Nice Piggy’s prices start at around:

  • 10,900 Korean won (USD9.20 ) per person during lunchtime on weekdays.
  • 11,900 Korean won (USD10.04) per person during lunchtime on weekends.
  • 12,900 Korean won (USD 10.88) for dining any day of the week.

Similar to other buffets in Korea, Nice piggy sets a limit of two hours to eat as much as you can. 

There are many Nice Piggy chains around Seoul, but we recommend the one located near Sinchon station as it is of easy access, and it has many tables. Furthermore, the vivid Sinchon area, which is close to Yonsei University, is a hub for coffee shops and other amenities to enjoy after having lunch or dinner.

Maple Tree House – 단풍나무집

Maple Tree House is a barbecue restaurant popular among locals and tourists. Their menu is presented both in English and Korean, and you may refer to their English website if you wish to check them in advance.

Maple Tree House is characterized by its premium meat. They serve dishes such as Usamgyeop (grilled beef loin), which cooks faster than other thicker meats, rib steak, pork collar, Korean style marinated beef (한우). 

At Maple Tree House, the staff uses different grills for each kind of meat, which contributes to a clean flavor each time you try something new. Although not as affordable as Nice Piggy, the restaurant is a great option if you are looking to try a more in-depth Korean barbecue experience. 

The original restaurant initiated with the goal of offering good quality meat and has expanded with stores in Gangnam and Samcheon dong. Maple Tree House is a great option for those looking for a balance between premium meat and price.


Their prices range from 30,000 to 40,000 Korean won (USD25.31 to USD33.75) depending on what you order. 

Season’s Table (계절밥상)

The theme of this restaurant buffet is seasonality. This means that the menu varies depending on the season of the year. In Korea, the four seasons are considerably noticeable, you’ll easily tell whether it’s winter, summer, spring, or autumn. 

Season changes impact agricultural production in Korea. In this sense, Season Table focuses on utilizing fresh ingredients that are produced during a particular season. 

At Seasons Table buffet you can enjoy the following dishes:

  • Bossam
  • Korean style fried chicken
  • Jjimdak
  • Vegetable pancakes
  • Bibimbap
  • Samgyetang
  • Bulgogi
  • and more

The main barbecue option at this restaurant is Bulgogi, but the large offerings of Korean traditional foods are a great complement for a fully Korean culinary experience.


Their prices are the following:

  • 14,900 Korean won (USD12.6) per person for weekday lunches
  • 23,900 Korean won (USD20.20) per person during dinner any day of the week and on weekends.

Similar to Nice Piggy, the time limit to eat at the restaurant is  2 hours.  This buffet is a great option to try the vast diversity of traditional Korean dishes at once if you don’t have time to try them separately. 

There are many spots in Seoul where you’ll find a Season Table restaurant. There is one in COEX, Gangnam, and another one on the fourth floor of Namsan Tower. If you are touring Namsan Tower, it’s a great idea to stop for lunch or dinner at Seasons Table.

Korean food characteristics

Typically, a Korean food serving includes banchan (반찬) which are side dishes, rice, kimchi, and the main dish, which is usually meat or a special soup. At a Korean restaurant, you’ll be served diverse sauces such as Gochujang, soy paste, sesame oil with seeds, among other sauces. It’s a filling culinary experience.


Korean food is unique in its own way. Not only do Korean marinated meats have a rich flavor, but the food overall is quite balanced.  You’ll see that even though the pork is grilled and has some fat, it’s accompanied by vegetables, sesame oil, and healthy side dishes. In a way, Korean cuisine is quite balanced. 

One of the main characteristics of Korean cuisine is fermentation.  Koreans ferment a great quantity of their foods including soy sauces, pickled vegetables, salted seafood and kimchi. The proven benefits of fermented foods is that they  provide probiotics which are beneficial for a good digestion

Now that you know how healthy Korean cuisine can be, don’t miss the chance to eat as much as you can in Seoul.

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