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I don't get Korean BBQ/Hotpot

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by SField, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. SField

    SField Senior member

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    What the fuck is it with this make your own food bullshit?

    Someone just took me to a Vietnamese 7 flavors of beef which was really fantastic, loved almost all of it except the 2nd course where you dip raw beef into cooking liquid. Wtf is the point of this? It makes you smell, it really isn't that good, and I don't pay to cook my own food. I also don't get Korean BBQ. I think the meat we got was shit, and it was charcoal, but still, what is the allure of this? Making messy lettuce wraps... also hot pot... why the fuck would you go out, pay money, and then make your own food?

    This is a cultural thing I don't get. It also might be because I don't think it tastes very good. I like it much better when people make my food for me.
     
  2. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    ChicagoRon took me to Korean BBQ once. I loved it. In general, I agree about paying to cook your own food... but it was fun. Just a couple friends, some beers, a little grill and a ton of meat and condiments. I dunno. I enjoyed it, and everything we had tasted great.
     
  3. SField

    SField Senior member

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    ChicagoRon took me to Korean BBQ once. I loved it. In general, I agree about paying to cook your own food... but it was fun. Just a couple friends, some beers, a little grill and a ton of meat and condiments. I dunno. I enjoyed it, and everything we had tasted great.

    The one thing I liked was this marinated beef short rib. Sliced thinly it works quite well. The other stuff, to me, was horrendous. Also the grill isn't nearly hot enough to get any kind of color on the meat without turning it into rubber.

    Liked the banchan a lot more than the meat, and gave up on the meat after the first round.

    If you ever go back to Chi town, go to the Viet place across from the Patisserie (in Argyle), the fairly clean looking place and order 7 flavors/courses of beef. The platter with the 3 kinds of sausages and meatballs, and the soup at the end are really just awesome. Best find in Chicago for asian besides TAC.
     
  4. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    Right next to Tank Noodle? Just east of it? I've always wondered about that place, but when I go up there it's a strict rotation of Tank/BaLe/Patisserie P. I'll check it out though.
     
  5. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Right next to Tank Noodle? Just east of it? I've always wondered about that place, but when I go up there it's a strict rotation of Tank/BaLe/Patisserie P. I'll check it out though.

    No it's not next to tank, it's across the street from the french bakery, I think beyond the El bridge. If you look inside it's fairly clean and has stairs to a second floor.

    Ba Le and Patisserie are the only places I go. I think Tank is fucking disgusting. I had better pho in LA. Also a Vietnamese friend explained to me that the type of food I ate in that restaurant (7 flavors of beef) is much more vietnamese and typical. Have had vietnamese at other places too, and I don't mind it at all.
     
  6. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Korean BBQ is a primordial thing, it's about the equivalent to the everyman of the west breaking out a BBQ grill and cooking - except there's no room to do that in Asia so it's better done at a restaurant where they can give you side dishes and stuff too. It's no steak, but there are better ways than others - I'm actually kinda surprised that you liked the marinated stuff, because that is written off in Asia for being a way to hide low-quality meat usually. The marinated short rib sliced laterally that you're talking about is called 'L.A. galbi' - they attribute it to America.

    An abridged hierarchy of K-BBQ meats would be something like:
    beef sirloin, in heavily marbled Asian style - gets up to about $200/200g at some places here
    Beef short rib, bone-in, heavily marbled, tenderized, - about $50/200g+
    Beef short rib, boneless, unmarinated, about $50/200g or more
    Beef short rib, either or, cheap version - about $15-30/200g
    boar or kurobuta intestine, $50/200g+
    Pork belly, kurobuta style or something else special, about $30 or more per 200g
    Pork throat, never exceeds $10/200g, lol
    Pork bulgogi, marinated heavily, probably loin cut - $10 or less/200g
    Pork skin, cheap


    Hot pot, totally different can of worms.
     
  7. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Umm, the meat at this place was what I'd consider to be one or two grades above dog meat. It was that and sliced brisket. Absolutely disgusting (the brisket). The meat you've posted pictures of is not available where I was.

    It's not that I liked the marinated stuff (which the koreans told me is usually not what one would order,) it's that it was better by comparison. Really just not a fan of it to be honest. I get the logistical reason for it in Asia, but here it makes no sense to me.
     
  8. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    For a college student, it's cheap as fuck ($10-20), tastes decent and it's all you can eat.
     
  9. SField

    SField Senior member

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    For a college student, it's cheap as fuck ($10-20), tastes decent and it's all you can eat.
    Umm, Korean BBQ is expensive, and it isn't all you can eat. I'm told the best places in LA like Genwa and Chosun Galbi are like $30-50. This one in Chicago would be $20 at the absolute cheapest. Then if you consider the prices for decent meat that Impolyt is quoting, it certainly doesn't look like a cheap option, and I'd frankly spend my money on something better.
     
  10. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Senior member

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    It's hard to find good Korean BBQ in America. I much prefer the ones in Korea.

    Damn, I kinda miss Korea a lot. Haven't been there in 3 years!
     
  11. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    Umm, Korean BBQ is expensive, and it isn't all you can eat. I'm told the best places in LA like Genwa and Chosun Galbi are like $30-50. This one in Chicago would be $20 at the absolute cheapest. Then if you consider the prices for decent meat that Impolyt is quoting, it certainly doesn't look like a cheap option, and I'd frankly spend my money on something better.
    Pick a place, literally any place in Koreatown, they will have a $10 or $12 all you can eat. The meat is low grade as fuck, but for $10 AYCE, how gourmet are you expecting it to be? You get some basic sides (kimchi, rice paper, rice, salad, the fluffy egg thing) to go with and it beats the shit out of any other $10 meal. I know nothing about "higher end" K-bbq places, but the appeal for the cheapest places are definitely there.
     
  12. Another New Yorker

    Another New Yorker Senior member

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    Hot Pot is really good. Had it a bunch of time in Chengdu and Chongqing.I like goose tongue, eels, that coagulated pork blood stuff, and beef fat.

    My parents home make it in New York but honestly, it tastes best with the exotic ingredients.

    Abalone hot pot is the best thing I've ever had.
     
  13. changy

    changy Senior member

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    What the fuck is it with this make your own food bullshit?

    Someone just took me to a Vietnamese 7 flavors of beef which was really fantastic, loved almost all of it except the 2nd course where you dip raw beef into cooking liquid. Wtf is the point of this? It makes you smell, it really isn't that good, and I don't pay to cook my own food. I also don't get Korean BBQ. I think the meat we got was shit, and it was charcoal, but still, what is the allure of this? Making messy lettuce wraps... also hot pot... why the fuck would you go out, pay money, and then make your own food?

    This is a cultural thing I don't get. It also might be because I don't think it tastes very good. I like it much better when people make my food for me.


    Cooking at the table in the form of bbq, hotpot, shabushabu etc. is common practice in Asia. If you don't like it, don't eat it. It's extremely rude to call it bullshit just because you are unfamiliar with the concept.

    Hotpot allows for better control of how well done you want the food to be. Thinly sliced beef used in hot pot will cook in 5-10 seconds. If you precook the meat in the kitchen, they will be dry and flaky. Similarly, why eat fondue? Why not just melt cheese over bread?

    Like Drew said, BBQ in Korea is a lot better. Just because your friend took you to a shit restaurant doesn't mean it's the same everywhere. Would you eat at Olive Garden and assume that's representative of Italian cuisine?
     
  14. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Umm, the meat at this place was what I'd consider to be one or two grades above dog meat. It was that and sliced brisket. Absolutely disgusting (the brisket). The meat you've posted pictures of is not available where I was. It's not that I liked the marinated stuff (which the koreans told me is usually not what one would order,) it's that it was better by comparison. Really just not a fan of it to be honest. I get the logistical reason for it in Asia, but here it makes no sense to me.
    (was it Woo Lae Oak?) I think that maybe it's restarauteur'ing, K-BBQ restaurants in America may all be locked into their genre and price range and don't have the incentive to give you anything better, nor do people expect it. In the Korean-American community there are special Korean-style butchers who cut down the meat in Korean cuts, freeze it, ship it across the country - in America the three or four central hubs for Korean food wholesale are LA- Chicago - New York - NoVa, or Atlanta (?), so all processed fresh food, the kimchi, the wholesale meat and seafood, they get made and picked up there. Dry goods come from LA, NYC, NoVa. There's not a lot of choice, it's just standardized stuff, not always the best quality. There's basically only one store to choose from, really, when it comes to a lot of that stuff. Mainly though, they're just selling a) a foreign experience to non-Korean people (and Asian people in America generally eat tons of Asian food, not only from their own culture, but anything to have noodle soup or white rice) b) sustenance to Koreans, c) some sort of non-food related social thing to Koreans by having a store space, d) just food as they know it. And how few of the people who came to America and started restaurants for a living actually had sizable talent or skill in the food industry? That is not a huge factor when opening a Korean restaurant. Fuck, I can't really cook Korean food, but I could sure as hell open a K-BBQ restaurant that would please many. It's just a very different form of restaurant and food culture from the west. I can't even count it among my favorite foods, nor would I miss it a lot if I couldn't have it, but I understand what it's supposed to be.
     
  15. dtmt

    dtmt Senior member

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    The restaurant still does pretty much all the work, they clean, marinate and slice the meat, cook the rice and side dishes, prepare the grill (which is at least charcoal if the place doesn't suck), and clean up everything afterwards. I'd hardly refer to one intermediate step before putting the food in your mouth as "cooking".

    Anyway, the thing that's really great about it is that every bite is completely fresh and sizzling as it's literally right off the grill. I really have no desire to go to western style steakhouses any more as the meat is cold and tasteless before you even get 1/3 of the way done with it.
     
  16. WorkingOnIt

    WorkingOnIt Senior member

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    Also, it just depends on the people. There are some Korean BBQ places that cook for you. They bring the meat to your table, cook it, and plate it for you. Maybe it's just a Virginia thing though, as I've never seen this in California.
     
  17. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Cooking at the table in the form of bbq, hotpot, shabushabu etc. is common practice in Asia. If you don't like it, don't eat it. It's extremely rude to call it bullshit just because you are unfamiliar with the concept.

    Hotpot allows for better control of how well done you want the food to be. Thinly sliced beef used in hot pot will cook in 5-10 seconds. If you precook the meat in the kitchen, they will be dry and flaky. Similarly, why eat fondue? Why not just melt cheese over bread?

    Like Drew said, BBQ in Korea is a lot better. Just because your friend took you to a shit restaurant doesn't mean it's the same everywhere. Would you eat at Olive Garden and assume that's representative of Italian cuisine?


    I don't like it, and therefore won't. I don't see the appeal of going somewhere to cook your own food when you can do it at home. Especially if you're going to a good place that's selling you decent beef, at one hell of a markup. I'd rather go to a decent restaurant that's selling me that beef cooked, if I don't want to make it myself.

    I think that even if the raw ingredients were good, I wouldn't enjoy it at all. I also think the idea of Fondu is pretty stupid so I'd apply the same principle there as well.

    I just don't get it, but my asian friends fucking love it. They wonder why I never tag along with them to go to these places, but it's just how I feel. When I do end up going, it's just to hang out with them but I usually eat very little as I find the food to be fairly appalling.

    For korean food, I far prefer rustic stuff like jajamyun or japchae (please forgive my atrocious rendering of the korean language.) I do want to try the stews I've heard a lot about. I'd be far more interested in the home cooking than going to some place and putting shitty meat on a low powered grill, and come out of the place smelling like hell.
     
  18. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Also, it just depends on the people. There are some Korean BBQ places that cook for you. They bring the meat to your table, cook it, and plate it for you. Maybe it's just a Virginia thing though, as I've never seen this in California.

    They do this at Genwa.
     
  19. SField

    SField Senior member

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    (was it Woo Lae Oak?)

    I think that maybe it's restarauteur'ing, K-BBQ restaurants in America may all be locked into their genre and price range and don't have the incentive to give you anything better, nor do people expect it. In the Korean-American community there are special Korean-style butchers who cut down the meat in Korean cuts, freeze it, ship it across the country - in America the three or four central hubs for Korean food wholesale are LA- Chicago - New York - NoVa, or Atlanta (?), so all processed fresh food, the kimchi, the wholesale meat and seafood, they get made and picked up there. Dry goods come from LA, NYC, NoVa. There's not a lot of choice, it's just standardized stuff, not always the best quality. There's basically only one store to choose from, really, when it comes to a lot of that stuff.

    Mainly though, they're just selling a) a foreign experience to non-Korean people (and Asian people in America generally eat tons of Asian food, not only from their own culture, but anything to have noodle soup or white rice) b) sustenance to Koreans, c) some sort of non-food related social thing to Koreans by having a store space, d) just food as they know it. And how few of the people who came to America and started restaurants for a living actually had sizable talent or skill in the food industry? That is not a huge factor when opening a Korean restaurant. Fuck, I can't really cook Korean food, but I could sure as hell open a K-BBQ restaurant that would please many. It's just a very different form of restaurant and food culture from the west. I can't even count it among my favorite foods, nor would I miss it a lot if I couldn't have it, but I understand what it's supposed to be.


    Not sure, it was out in the middle of the burbs in some place with the tiniest parking lot I've ever seen. Very asian.

    Some of the banchan were very nice. Meat was not. I'll have much better experiences in LA, that I know for sure.
     
  20. erictheobscure

    erictheobscure Senior member

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    I have a hard time evaluating Korean BBQ objectively since I grew up with the stuff. I guess I agree with you that it's not the best experience in the world, but I still find it satisfying. At least you went to a place with charcoal and not a little gas grill. But I guess Korean BBQ isn't really about the Maillard reaction or the charring. And which cut & preparation of meat you get makes a huge difference. I personally like tongue (hyuh mit gui), but a lot of the other non-marinated cuts are pretty boring. Korean BBQ places have evolved quite a bit over the last couple of decades--the sticky rice-sheet wrapper that substitutes for the lettuce at some places, the condiments that you get, etc.

    I'm curious about the Korean foods that you do like. Japchae is probably among my least favorite Korean foods--I find it pretty pedestrian in flavor. Korean blood sausage is pretty tasty (though admittedly among the best of the world's blood sausages). And the newfangled Korean fried chicken is pretty awesome.
     

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