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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Bulgogi Brothers

Tucked away inconspicuously on the second floor of a neon-swathed building on Samsandong’s main thoroughfare, above Paris Baguette, is Bulgogi Brothers, a fabulous Korean restaurant.

The very first time I came here was with the Vice Principal’s son, an interesting young man recently out of the armed forces after completing his two years of compulsory service.

Upon entering, the customer is greeted with a touch of class. An unknown female vocalist sings a plethora of songs from different genres in a laid back acoustic jazz style. Listen out for her rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit – it’s rather eclectic!

The decor theme is a classic wooden design. The waiters and waitresses are clad in elegant black uniform and speak flawless English. The ambience exudes class and sophistication.

I ordered the speciality bibimbap with mushrooms, Katherine opted for Kimchi Jjigae. The bibimbap was served in a hot skillet pan and must be constantly mixed around the bowl to prevent the rice from becoming burnt and crispy at the bottom.

The meal is served with a delightful nutty tea, although BB’s trademark strawberry smoothie is also a popular favourite.

Expect a basket of sweet and roasted potatoes and sweetcorn with your meal, along with other common accompaniments – mashed pumpkin, lotus root and a selection of sauces.

For dessert we received a complimentary cup of plum tea, in a mug with the strapline ‘Life is short – stay awake for it’.

As far as the rest of the menu is concerned, fried mandu (dumpling) in a spicy seafood sauce makes for an ideal starter to share between two.

The restaurant is reasonably priced. Two standard main courses shouldn’t set you back more than 25000 won altogether.

If you’re lucky enough to acquire a window seat, you’ll be able to take in views of the hustle and bustle of Samsandong’s primary commercial scene.

If the locals eat there, that’s usually the sign of a good restaurant. I have been to Bulgogi Brothers three times, and on each of these occasions I was the only waygookin present.

If you’re looking for authentic Korean cuisine, I can think of no better place to dine than Bulgogi Brothers. It’s ideal for a weekend lunchtime treat.

Because of its location it may be considered a hidden gem, as many waygookins passing by may be more allured by the neon swathes lighting up the surrounding establishments, and by the nearby Starbucks, Lotte Hotel and  the Rococo nightclub advertisement truck. The restaurant occupies a narrow piece of real estate above eye level and unfortunately may be overlooked.


The establishment is part of a franchise, with a total of 29 branches across South Korea. But it is an international franchise, having recently opened up a branch in Manila, Phillippines. That being said, the authenticity of the food cannot be questioned.

If you have a relative coming to visit, somebody who may be uncomfortable with the Korean custom of sitting cross-legged on the floor, someone who may not want to be gawked at by the locals, then Bulgogi Brothers is ideal for them as it offers a fusion of Korean cuisine in a distinctly Western setting, and this provides for an interesting dichotomy in the dining experience.

To learn more about my life in South Korea as an English Teacher please visit my blog Waegooks Diary.


Written by Michael Hollin.

Photos by Michael Hollin.