Mention kalbi to a Korean and watch his mouth water. Beef short ribs are something of a national obsession here, served braised to fall-off-the-bone tenderness or savored in the delicate soups and soulful stews for which the Land of Morning Calm is famous. But the most popular way to eat kalbi is grilled (kui). Korean chefs have developed an ingenious method for handling this flavorful but hard-to-eat cut of beef: The meat is sliced and butterflied to create a long, paper-thin strip, which is grilled right on the bone.
Dine at a restaurant in Korea and the waitress will set a charcoal-filled brazier in the center of the table. Each person cooks his kalbi to taste, then wraps the meat in lettuce leaves and dips it in a sweet-salty pear sauce.
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