For my last blog post about a food item, I decided to drag some friends to Honeypig, a Korean BBQ restaurant. It had great atmosphere and great food. Almost everything was in Korean. Waiters were shouting in Korean, all the signs had a Korean translation, and K-Pop music videos were playing on the TVs. I felt like I was really getting a Korean experience.
But where did this all start?
In the 1970s and 1980s, Korean immigration to the United States rose because of economic turmoil back in Korea. So, when Korean population started rising to 2.7% of the entire population, it was easy for Korean restaurants and dishes to become more popular. An interesting note about Korean dishes is that although they shared their dishes to America, they weren’t looking to gain massive popularity. That’s why Korean food, as of now at least, is very much authentic. According to John Surico of Serious Eats, they don’t have their own version of the pad thai or General Tso’s. My Korean friend Ben agrees. He says that Honeypig actually serves very authentic dishes.
So, when we sat at our table, dishes were already out ready for us. There were various of little plates, a small bowl of salad, and a basket of lettuce. Ben mentioned earlier before that a Korean meal is basically made out of a lot of side dishes. Then, in the middle of our table, is the grill.
Holly, Mike, and I ordered beef brisket and pork belly while Sam and Haley ordered squid and pork with fried rice.
The picture above shows the beef brisket cooking on the grill. The bowl on the left is the bowl of salad, next to it is the kimchi, and to the right is just a bowl of rice.
Holly, Mike, and I ate our meat with our rice, but according to Ben, it is usually eaten wrapped in lettuce, with bean paste, rice, peppers, and garlic. This is called Chadol Baki or Chadolbagi. Whoops. All three of us forgot about the basket of lettuce. But, it was great with just the meat and rice anyway.
Overall, Korean barbecue is not only good food but a great experience. In addition to the little dishes presented to you, chefs cook the meat in front of you as you are surrounded by Korean languages, symbols, and K-Pop music videos. It was a great Korean experience.
This recipe from TriFood gives you a very simple look at a simple chadol baki:
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes)
- green leaf lettuce