The best yukhoe (Korean "raw meat") I've had was at LaYeon, the three-Michelin-star restaurant at the Shilla hotel in Seoul. It was made with hanwoo beef (from a Korean native breed of cattle) that had been subtly flavoured so you could taste the natural sweetness of the meat. On the same trip, I ate yukhoe at a roadside stall, which made variations using raw heart and raw liver, and it was good in its own way.
It's not difficult to prepare, although leave a little time to partially freeze the beef, which makes it easier to hand-slice. Depending on your freezer, the beef will need 15-30 minutes. Use that time to steam the rice to serve with the yukhoe.
Choose a boneless piece of beef with little exterior fat. It's very difficult to find Korean beef outside Korea (they use most of it domestically), so if you want a luxurious version, use wagyu beef that is not overly marbled.
Put the beef on a plate and place it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes, or until firm and a little icy, but not frozen solid. Cut the partially frozen beef across the grain into 5mm (¼in) thick pieces. Stack the pieces, then cut them into 5mm (¼in) strips.
Put the sesame seeds in an unoiled skillet and place it over a low flame. Shake the pan almost constantly until the sesame seeds are toasted. Cool. them before roughly crushing them in a mortar. Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Core half a nashi pear, then cut it into thick matachsticks. Coarsely crush the pine nuts. Slice the spring onions lengthwise into thin strips, then cut into 4cm (1½in) pieces.
Season the beef with the soy sauce, 10ml (2tsp) sesame oil, the sugar and sesame seeds. Mix well, then taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
Shape the beef into a slightly fattened patty and place it on a plate. Make a small crater in the centre of the patty then put two quail eggs in the indentation.
Mix the spring onions with 5ml (1tsp) of sesame oil and the gochugaru and place around the beef. Add the sliced garlic and nashi pear, then sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Mix the ingredients together before eating with the lettuce leaves. Serve with banchan (Korean side dishes) and steamed rice.