On our way back from Busan, we were driving along the northbound Gyeongbu Expressway when we stopped over for dinner. Dad suggested an old barbecue place near Chupungnyeong IC that his friend recommended. The place is called Chupungnyeong Halmae Galbi (추풍령 할매갈비: Grandma’s Pork Ribs at Chupungnyeong) and supposedly it is the headquarters of a barbecue chain running under same brand name.
The place looked like an ordinary family house renovated for business. The house was situated near the expressway but surely in the middle of nowhere – no other businesses or houses nearby. If we did not have my GPS we would have had hard time finding this place as there was no one to grab and ask for directions. In the end, our expectation was at its greatest after a difficult journey to grab a bite.
Unlike common restaurants in Korea, this place do not provide a lot of side dishes. The owner focuses solely on the main menu which is the spicy BBQ pork ribs marinated in gochujang (Korean chili paste) sauce. Many Korean gogijib (고기집: BBQ restaurants) offer a list of different types of meat but here at Chupungryeong Halmae’s the only meat on the menu is their famous BBQ ribs.
The founder “Grandma” opened up a small BBQ rib joint 60 years ago and now her grandson is running the place. It says that the owner’s goal is to always provide premium Korean pork that is fresh and never frozen. The marinated meat looked very red and spicy but despite of my fear the ribs were not killer spicy. The meat is cooked over charcoal and you can almost taste the flame within the flesh. You can choose to add rice and/or noodle dish on the side if the meat is too spicy for you.