Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ginza Bairin (Seoul)

The best tonkatsu in town ? Probably Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, the pork cutlet master, just a short walk from Gyeongbokgung: this Ginza institution developped an incredible sense of perfection for such a common dish.

Their Katsudon is more than alright and not too salty, but don't leave this place without trying the regular tonkatsu. You decide the level of tenderness of your meat (medium or roskatsu is really ok), and enjoy a flawless texture and color, a perfect cooking and tempuration. The tonkatsu sauce is more Japanese/vinegar than Korean/sweet, but you've got to try it as it is and with just a bit of freshly squeezed lemon.

You also have to try their 'katsusand' version. 'Sand', that's short for 'sandwich', and the helluvan experience. On the menu it looks quite simple : four tonkatsu cuts wrapped in white bread. But the texture when you cut a bite with your incisives, and then when you liberate the hot and cold mix with your molars, discovering the mustardish sauce in between... wow.

The place itself, in a recent building behind Kumho gallery and the Polish embassy, was meant to be an art gallery (the small streets behind Samcheongdong-gil changed dramatically with their new galleries and shops). The atmosphere may look cold with those tall white walls and tall black furniture, but the food and the quiet music compensate largely.

Ginza Bairin
93 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, ROK 110-190
Tel +82.2.734.9765
(for the original in Tokyo: 7-8-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Tel 03.3571.0350)


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