Restaurant Profile: Keen on Korean

When it comes to notable food trends, Korean cuisine has steadily gained favor with people seeking bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and an exciting dining experience. As it turns out, Cary has no shortage of quality Korean restaurants.

Here’s our exclusive roundup of local places to check out and enjoy time and again.

Seoul Garden

Jae Yuk Bossam is seasoned pork belly with daikon radish, kimchi, pickled garlic and Napa cabbage.


With an original location in Raleigh, it’s all about the food at this unpretentious spot that formerly housed the eatery Golden Pig. A wide-ranging menu provides plenty of bona fide options such as japchae (seasoned glass noodles with vegetables), monkfish soup, steamed pork belly, and spicy kimchi stew with tofu, pork and rice cakes.


“I have really good connections with Korean food distributors, so we are able to get the freshest quality ingredients,” said proprietor Li Woo, who hails from Suwon, South Korea.

“All our chefs are Korean and have been cooking for many years, so the food they are preparing is really authentic,” he added.

Soups are prepared daily using meat bones to make broth.

Dolsot beef bibimbap from Seoul Garden includes seasoned vegetables and a fried egg.

Must-Try Dish

Dolsot beef bibimbap, which includes seasoned vegetables and a fried egg, cooked and served in a hot stone bowl.

Pro tip

Ask for the spicy red sauce to add some zest to your meal. Also, be adventurous when it comes to eating the banchan (small side dishes) like bean sprouts, daikon radish, pickled cucumber, stir-fried fish cake and kimchi.

Before You Go

Bear in mind the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. Call-in reservations are accepted, and lunch specials occur weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

815 West Chatham St., Cary
(919) 234-6002

Honey Pig

Honey Pig’s spicy pork bulgogi box will leave your mouth pleasantly tingling.


This stylish, expansive restaurant opened in late 2019 and offers Korean barbecue in a la carte and combo options. Proteins include seven varieties of pork belly, beef brisket, prime rib, soy-sauce marinated chicken, jumbo shrimp and more. You can also select from a tempting menu of soups, stews and prepared dishes extending from a short rib box to stir-fried spicy squid.


“We are focused on high quality rather than just quantity of food,” said proprietor Unah Ko, a native of South Korea, but diners can count on generous portions and friendly service.

Low-profile gas grills at each table make cooking easy.

“We have a downdraft system, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too smoky or any odor getting on your clothes,” Ko said.

If you need anything during your meal, simply press the nifty call button located at your table.

Customize the Korean barbecue with a variety of protein choices, from pork belly and marinated beef to chicken and jumbo shrimp.

Must-Try Dish

The top-notch spicy pork bulgogi box, which is among the most flavorsome and piquant dishes we tried. Your taste buds will be tingling in a good way. Pair it with a bottle of soju alcoholic drink made from rice.

Pro Tip

If you have a salad with your meal, try the house-made blueberry dressing.

Before You Go

Call-ahead reservations are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Be aware that the restaurant is closed on Mondays. Lunch service is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and specials are offered only on weekdays.

1065 Darrington Drive, Cary
(919) 234-0088

Korean Dining Etiquette Tips

Politeness is vitally important in Korean culture. That said, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind during mealtime.

  • If sharing food from communal plates or bowls, always transfer food to your own dishware.
  • Transfer food from communal plates by turning chopsticks around and using the wider ends. This way the narrow, germ-infested ends are pointed away from the cuisine.
  • When eating food accompanied by a communal sauce bowl, avoid dipping directly from the vessel, but rather use a spoon to ladle sauce onto your own plate.
  • If dining with natives of Korea, no one should begin eating until the eldest person at the table starts consuming food.

Seol Grille

Beef and pork dumplings are made in-house at Seol Grille.


Expect an elevated experience at this Korean barbecue refuge, which debuted in January 2020. Modern décor meshes with subtle traces of traditional Asian flair. Don’t miss the striking handmade pottery placed throughout the spacious dining room. Most guests come for the all-you-can-eat proposition, but you also can choose rewarding dishes like the house- specialty Seol chicken with sweet-and-spicy garlic sauce, cold naengmyeon noodle and ddukbokki, which comprises sauteed rice and fish cakes, cabbage, onion, carrots and a hard-boiled egg in a spicy red pepper sauce.

Japchae is seasoned glass noodles sauteed with beef, mushrooms, carrots, onions and bell peppers.


The all-you-can-eat experience comes with a 100-minute time limit proviso. In addition, if one person in a party orders tabletop-cooked Korean barbecue, everyone else must do the same.

“Some customers are nervous about cooking at the table, but we have servers who can help them,” said co-owner Sharon Huh, a Korean native whose family has been in the restaurant business for many years.

Seol Grille also has a make-up air filtration system that constantly supplies fresh air into the restaurant, Huh says.

Diners enjoy tabletop-cooked Korean barbecue.

Must-Try Dish

Scratch-made steamed beef and pork dumplings that practically melt in your mouth. Vegetarian-friendly “Impossible” dumplings also are available.

“Even the dumpling skins are made in house,” said Huh.

Pro Tip

Be sure to savor the house-made chimichurri sauce with onions, oregano and parsley.

The Seol chicken at Seol Grille comes with sweet-and-spicy garlic sauce.

Before You Go

The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, and on weekends, it’s best to call ahead before visiting.

2310 Walnut St. (Centrum at Crossroads), Cary
(984) 241-9112

Worth Noting

Buldaegi BBQ House

Enjoy the hands-on table grill experience in a cozy setting. An all-you-can-eat option is available Tuesday through Sunday at lunch or dinner by reservation only. Notable lunch specials include marinated bulgogi, house curry udon noodles, and tonkatsu, a deep-fried pork cutlet.

2470 Walnut St. (Centrum at Crossroads), Cary
(919) 703-0400

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