Looking for some delicious Korean food in Austin? Maybe a place to get Korean BBQ? Rest easy, you’re in the right place.
While Austin isn’t known as a destination for outstanding Korean restaurants, we have some hidden gems serving delicious food that you need to know about. And if you aren’t that familiar with Korean cuisine, don’t worry. I realize that Korean food isn’t always accessible as other Asian cuisines like Chinese, Japanese and Thai… so in this guide I’m going to introduce 5 great Korean dishes at 5 Korean restaurants in Austin.
A Guide to the Best Korean Food in Austin
9200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753
Open 4PM til late
This is THE SPOT for Korean style grilled pork belly also known as samgyeopsal… basically thick cut, raw, uncured bacon! The way it works is you grill the pork belly, cut it into 2 inch long strips, and cook til it’s golden brown on the outside. Then you add sesame oil and salt, garlic, jalepenos (if you’re brave), and a special sauce called ssamjang. Then you wrap it all in lettuce then put it all in your mouth and enjoy the bacon-y goodness.
This delicious pork wrap is one of our favorite things to eat in Austin, and we’ve been to Together with friends many dozens of times. Go with a group because the minimum order is 2 servings of pork belly and communal grilling is quite an experience. Other notable dishes include the seafood pancake, kimchi jjigae, and the complimentary side dishes that come with your pork belly.
The owners of the store are super sweet and eating their cooking in this hole in the wall is reminiscent of really being in Korea.
713 East Huntland Dr – Austin, TX 78752
Open 11AM – 10PM
Do you ever eat your noodle soup cold with ice cubes in it? It sounds weird, but on hot days that we experience all too often here in Texas… Korean Mul Naeng Myeon (literally “water cold noodles”) and it’s cousin, the spicier Bibim Naeng Myeoun make for a refreshing meal. The Mul Naeng broth is light, slightly sour and typically comes served with a few pieces of meat and an egg and pickled veggies. Bibim Naeng Myeon is more like a cold noodle version of bibimbap.
Cho Sun Galbi is a great place to order this traditional but not well known (at least in the States) dish, and if you want your Korean meat fix too, you can add a side of bulgogi or galbi (marinated beef slices or cross cut short ribs) for an 5-6 extra bucks. And if you want more kinds of Korean BBQ, Cho Sun Galbi is a great place to grill beef various cuts of beef the way you like it (although Together Restaurant reigns supreme for pork belly).
6808 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752
Open 11AM til late
It seems that every culture loves fried chicken, and the Korean version is especially delicious (and is gaining notoriety worldwide thanks to chains like Bonchon). The best spot for Korean fried chicken in Austin is Rockin’ Rice, a traditional Korean restaurant tucked between a Korean liquor store, Korean bakery, and Korean karaoke bar.
Here you order by the whole chicken (so come with a friend or two), which is then fried to order, chopped up, and sauced to your preference. They have a few flavors including original (pretty much just fried chicken), spicy, and honey + soy glazed. My hands down favorite is the honey + soy glaze… I crave that stuff at random times. Luckily, Rockin Rice is open til 2 AM on the weekends, so you can get your fix almost whenever you want.
6613 Airport Blvd Austin, TX 78752
Open M-Sa 9AM-8PM
If you think that eating out all the time is expensive, then this next place is for you. Mom’s Taste isn’t necessarily a dine in restaurant per say… it’s more along the lines of a My Fit foods or Snap Kitchen for Korean Food. Here you can buy all manner of soups, side dishes, and desserts in plastic containers of various sizes.
The soups are great, but the best value and most delicious thing here hands down are the inexpensive pre-marinated meats. You can get a portion of raw, premarinated bulgogi meat large enough for 2 or 3 here for only 6.99. An extra large portion that can feed an army is only about 10 bucks.
And, if you want to take a step up to premarinated beef short ribs marinated in pear juice, sesame oil, and garlic (galbi), for a mere 20 bucks we like to buy a portion that can feed 2 people for a several meals. Talk about eating like a king on a pauper’s budget!
7310 Burnet Rd Austin, Texas 78757
Because Korea is surrounded on 3 sides by the ocean, it makes sense that the country’s cuisine includes a lot of seafood. Like their neighbors, Koreans also enjoy eating raw fish… but instead of putting it on bite sized pieces of rice, Koreans like to eat it straight up sashimi style or in a mixed bowl of rice, veggies, and hot red paste. The Korean sushi bowl equivalent of chirashi is known as Hoe-deopbab, which comes served with a few kinds of fish, salad, fish eggs, and a raw egg.
You can find this delicious dish at a Japanese sushi / traditional Korean spot tucked away on Burnet road. Hoe-deopbab it’s a great alternative to Japanese style sushi, there’s a lot more variety of flavors in the bowl and you’ll usually save a bundle by getting this tasty dish vs when you buy traditional sushi. At Ichiban, if you don’t see any Korean food on the menu when you go in, you can specifically request a Korean menu.
Want to know more about Korean food in Austin? I’ve wrote a more dense, comprehensive listing of Korean restaurants in Austin a few years ago… so if you don’t mind a more difficult read, head that way.
This guide is part of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance 2015 City Guide. For more info about the Best Eats in Austin, check out our complete list of guides to delicious food in ATX!