Holy Cow! Galbi now costs $45 per serving in L.A. Koreatown

July 24, 2014



(Illustration – Paulsoon Kim)

Galbi, the famous Korean crowd-pleasing dish, will cost meat lovers a pretty penny the next time they visit Koreatown joints in Los Angeles, where prices have skyrocketed to upwards of $45 per serving.

At Choseon Galbee, one prime serving of non-marinated galbi will set customers back $44.99, and marinated galbi $43.99. At Genwa, galbi is served at $42 per serving. At Soowon Galbi, it’s $42 for a non-marinated serving and $40 for a marinated one. And at Park’s BBQ, too, one serving of non-marinated galbi is $42.

Continuously rising beef prices, an increase in California’s minimum wage — from $8 to $9, which went into effect July 1 — and increased demand for the dish are the main culprits.

“We purchase only prime-grade beef, but galbi already costs more than $10 per pound,” said an unnamed Koreatown restaurateur. “The prices are an issue, but there’s also a problem with supply when so many people are looking to buy it.”

“Rising beef prices and the rise of the minimum wage made an increase in our prices inevitable,” another unnamed restaurant owner said.

Livestock supplies have plummeted and are the lowest on record in 60 years — beef prices have seen an 80 percent increase since 2009.

It looks like the price of beef will see another 5 percent increase in August, said Jo Young-seop, president of E-Hwa Food Product. He said a pound of beef will soon go over $9 at Korean grocery markets.

Customers are, as expected, unhappy with higher costs.

“I knew meat was becoming pricier, but I didn’t think it was to this extent,” said a Korean customer only identified as Lee. “One of the pleasures of living in America as an immigrant was being able to eat as much meat as I wanted to, but now that’s becoming a thing of the past.”


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