Culinary class act: Bul & Gogi Downtown Korean barbeque is a must try for hungry students on a budget

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What is it?

If there was a meal to cure a miserable, late winter day, a sizzling stone bowl packed with rice, your favourite meat or tofu, veggies, and kimchi from Bul & Gogi Korean BBQ may be your best choice.

Bul & Gogi is an often overlooked dining option when students first begin exploring the James Street North neighborhood.

What it lacks in foodie popularity, it more than makes up for in its delicious and generous portions of Korean BBQ and other South East Asian cuisine.

Must-order item

If you’re coming to Bul & Gogi, you better come hungry.

To tide yourself over before your big lunch/dinner, start with the mildly spiced, warm and chewy skewered rice cakes. Don’t be mistaken by their size, these cakes can be a little filling if you are having them by yourself, so they are perfect for splitting with a friend.

While there is a vast selection of BBQ, hotpot and noodle options, my personal go-to will always be one of their stone bowls.

It’s a simple, elegant way of serving the reliable meal of rice, protein and a ton of veggies, alongside a tray of a daikon, kimchi and other extras to spice up your meal, all served and cooked in steaming granite bowl dressed with sesame oil.

If you’re feeling especially hungry, I highly recommend adding an egg for an extra dollar. Watching your egg cook before your eyes as you mix it in your piping-hot bowl is simple, culinary bliss.

How to get there from Westdale/Ainslie Wood

Take any downtown bus to Main and MacNab Transit Terminal. Walk over to King Street through the bus terminal, and then walk down James Street North until you reach Cannon Street East.

The restaurant is directly across Smalls Coffee and Mixed Media art supply store.

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Price range

Appetizers start at $4 to $10. Most of their options are priced at the lower end of that range.

Stone bowls are incredibly filling, and depending on your choice of protein, the bowls will run $9 to $12, including an added serving of miso soup. Larger portions of soups, noodles, stews and BBQ rolls are generally around $7 to $8.

Korean BBQ platters start at $7, all the way up to $20, but all options include miso soup, steamed rice and salad.

Why it’s great

It’s hard not to love the James Street North and Cannon Street East location. It is conveniently located for students travelling to the downtown core, and it provides one of the more affordable dining options on the street.

The staff are always friendly, and even provide a fridge full of free ice cream or popsicles for anyone who dines in.

For me this place has been a consistent dining choice for the same group of friends I’ve had since high school. It caters to our gargantuan appetites, without having to go to one of the pricier, all-you-can eat locales.

Bul & Gogi has always provided a reliable meal to break up a day out in the sun or much needed comfort after another winter semester week.

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