Updated: Apr 30, 2021
This cheap and delicious restaurant will definitely blow your mind away! I almost did not want the world to know about this hidden gem. If you are lucky enough to read this, burn after reading...
I love Korean BBQ and this is the best (and cheapest) one in town.
If you have lived in foodie heavens like New York, LA or Hong Kong before, there is a big chance you might be disappointed by what Lisbon has to offer in terms of Asian options. Especially for Korean food, I have never found one decent Korean restaurant that my stomach approves until...this one.
The first time I went to this restaurant was in 2019, when the restaurant just opened. It is the first restaurant that specializes solely in Korean barbecue in Lisbon.
It was also a lovely surprise when the bill came. We had 6 people in our group and by going dutch, each of us only paid 10 euros!!! It was a satisfying meal of mainly meats, we were so full in the end that we could barely walk. We did not consume any alcohol that day though.
What is Korean Barbecue?
Korean barbecue refers to the popular method in Korean cuisine of grilling meat, typically beef, pork or chicken. Such dishes are often prepared on gas or charcoal grills built into the dining table itself.
The moment I walked into the restaurant, I knew I hit the jackpot when I saw every table has a built in grill pit and a big smoke extractor hanging on top of it. Finally something authentic!
How to eat Korean BBQ like a pro?
Step 1: Choose the meat.
The meat is the star of the Korean BBQ. The most popular is "bulgogi" - usually made from thinly sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin. There are also other cuts of meat, such as pork belly, pork shoulder, beef ribs etc...Personally I like the slightly fattier cuts for the juicy flavor.
The meat is usually marinated into different sauces (mirin, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, sliced onion, chili powder...) to tender the texture and adds different flavors. Among all tastes on the menu, I would recommend first-timers the safer options: garlic flavor, and spicy bean paste flavor.
✨Pro tip: Don't be afraid of the fattier cuts - they usually are most juicy and contain best flavors.
Step 2: Prepare the grill.
There are two types of the grills: one is just a simple grill, the other comes with some side dishes (cheese with sweet corn, egg cake, and kimchi). It usually takes 3-5 minutes for the grills to be pre-heated until it's ready for the meat.
✨Pro tip: before putting meat on the grill, you can grill some onion or garlic to marinate the grill for extra flavors.
Step 3: Wrap with lettuce and enjoy!
When the meat is ready, you should grab a lettuce and wrap the meat inside like a mini taco. The lettuce adds some freshness and crunchy to the bite, and also helps with the guilt that you are devouring plates after plates of meat. Also add inside some garnishes, such as chilly powder or sweet chilly sauce.
✨Pro tip: hard-core foodies will also put some raw garlic inside the wrap. Flavor explosion!! (be careful your breath will smell like garlic for a long time hehe)
You should also try "Soju" - a very tasty Korean alcohol.
Soju is a typical Korean liquor made from rice and tastes very smooth. It is so easy to drink and will get you drunk before you even realize it. Don't be fooled by its innocent look - it contains 16% alcohol - stronger than the wines! The pure version is a bit pungent, so I much prefer the fruit flavored ones. By far my favorite is the grapefruit soju. It is an imported product so it's not cheap.
Fun experience indeed but don't dress up for this.
Having Korean barbecue requires some work - you have to grill the meat and assemble the lettuce wraps by yourself. It is super fun and interactive, especially for a group of people. However, this particular restaurant is not fancy at all - very casual and relaxing vibes. Oh and a reminder, the smoke smell will be stay on your hair and clothes, so wear something casual please!
Stay hungry Lisbon! See you next dinner.
Cheap, delicious and fun! Perfect for groups - Han Table Barbecue.