Meat is priceless in Seoul. You would be lucky if you find some in your bowl!
I learnt it the painful way after going to a Chinese restaurant near my house for a casual dinner last year. It was my third time there. The last 2 times I got noodle soups less than 6-8 usd each. The seafood noodle soup(Jampong) had plenty of toppings; however, the chicken noodle soup had basically noodle and broth only.
That rainy evening in winter, I craved so badly for big chunky meat. I could eat a cow! So I told myself to splurge and I ordered the cheapest meat dish I can see in the Chinese menu. That was Stir fried Beef with vegetable at a price of 22,000(22 usd). All right!
When the waiter brought a plate of,what seems like to me, stir-fried noodles with shredded veggies. I explained to him in a mixture of very broken one-word Korean, some body language and English, that this wasn't the dish I ordered.
To my dismay, he insisted that it was what I ordered. To prove that he was wrong, I picked up my chopsticks and raked the noodles in search for beef. With no evidence of chunky beef in the dish at all, I smiled at him and asked him, " Solgogi, Odi-yo?", which translated into "Beef, where is it?
He took my pair of chopsticks and picked up a few strands of something which I realised was beef. My jaws dropped to the ground immediately, too numbed to response.
From then onward, I would go straight to the supermarket to get meat whenever I have meat cravings. Indeed there is some meat in regular meals in food courts or restaurants - they are very thinly sliced meat, very minced meat(as in meat dumplings), processed meat(Spam, ham, hotdogs) and canned tuna.
In response to this incident, I would like to share with everyone my interpretation of Ginger Beef Stir-fry, remade in my kitchen.
Icecat's Ginger Beef Stir-fry