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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. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    you can get the waitress to cook your food for you. most koreans just prefer to cook it themselves
     
  2. yjeezle

    yjeezle Senior member

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    It's more about the company and camaraderie/drinking/etc. than "cooking your own food".

    if it's "about the company" then why am I paying to cook my own food?

    might as well have a real bbq at your own house, eat legit good food, and charge a $30 cover!


    because sometimes you're with some boring ass company or you're with people that you aren't comfortable with but want to get to know better. then you have something to do while you ask questions about the other dude while acting like you're paying attention.

    also there's something about serving someone food that build camaraderie (idk)

    How to you wrap the food in those rice sheets or radish slices? I'm very good with chopsticks, but I cant put everything together neatly, especially if I use that oil and salt condiment.

    don't overstuff
     
  3. pvrhye

    pvrhye Senior member

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    14,000krw gets me all I can eat at about half a dozen places near my home. Advantages of being in Korea I suppose.

    I agree on the cooking it though. It's a major turn-off for me. I just want to eat.

    Regarding getting it on the leaf? Do be so dainty about it. Just grab a slab of meat, a little rice and some ssamjang, toss it on the leaf and shove 'er down the hatch.
     
  4. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    K-BBQ's roots, at least the basics and the dining culture are just a farmer's (very special occasion) dinner table. The basic elements are a protein, maybe some fresh greens, some pickled kimchis and a side or two, and some fermented soy-based sauces like dwenjang (the grainy Korean cousin to miso) and ssamjang (gochujang mixed with doenjang - ssamjang is what you get on a K-BBQ table everywhere but is mistakenly called gochujang by many)... obviously if an animal was slaughtered, the amount of fresh whole meat you could throw on a grill would be a luxury. Koreans in the days of yore would hang up a pig by the legs and stab the belly, collect all the blood, clean out the insides, which all get eaten, and then the meat would be probably sold to the highest bidder, so the idea of sitting around eating nice thick slabs of belly like we do nowadays is luxuriant, by old Korean standards, and for very few. The very high class back a hundred years ago or more would've been old dudes in screened-in rooms sitting around with young naked chicks grilling the best meat for them on tiny little charcoal grills. The low class, which was and is still about 99%, would be eating the snout.

    There are times when you don't want to cook your own food, that is true even for Korean people. Much of their food is communal and cooked at the table, but not all. The cooking at the table thing, that's just one facet I guess.

    Why is K-BBQ so popular and mediocre everywhere? You can put together a K-BBQ restaurant anywhere, the food is made up with about 20%-30% special Korean stuff you need to buy at a special grocer, and the rest you can buy at any supermarket in America - onions, green onions, potatoes, carrots, etc. The meat you can order frozen, you can butcher your own if you're a motivated K-BBQ restaurateur; it's not exactly like sushi where everything in the fly-over states is thawed out blocks of fish from Sysco or you pay thousands of dollars for it. K-BBQ is just mediocre stuff sold for mediocre prices at mediocre expectations.

    Anyway, the real thing is that basically anything like K-BBQ, hotpot - it's not about the food as much as the drink. It's supposed to be a piss up. The food is not expensive because you aren't there for the food, you're supposed to drink about 2 liters of soju per person or 3-4 liters of beer and the places will make their easy margin on that. That'd be like $100 in America, so I guess they don't go as hard normally, but I'm sure many do. Eat a piece of pork belly dipped in salt and gomashio, drop a shot of soju to wipe you down, repeat.
     
  5. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    if it's "about the company" then why am I paying to cook my own food?

    might as well have a real bbq at your own house, eat legit good food, and charge a $30 cover!


    Sure, go ahead
     
  6. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    my college roomate was korean and we ate korean a lot in those years but always at divey places (one in particular) that did not have the room or the equipment to make you cook at the table. Then once he took me to a "real" korean place in LA's Koreatown with the table grills and my reaction was much as SField's. Never been a fan but damn I do love the taste of Kal-bi, just cook it for me you lazy bastards.
     
  7. Kslim

    Kslim Senior member

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    Korean BBQ is delicious! If anyone lives in/around San Jose, I highly recommend Secret Garden off El Camino.
     
  8. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    my college roomate was korean and we ate korean a lot in those years but always at divey places (one in particular) that did not have the room or the equipment to make you cook at the table. Then once he took me to a "real" korean place in LA's Koreatown with the table grills and my reaction was much as SField's. Never been a fan but damn I do love the taste of Kal-bi, just cook it for me you lazy bastards.

    Did you eat at that little Korean place on Milvia (or whatever that street was called) near the Berkeley City Hall? We used to go there fairly often late at night, because it was one of the few restaurants in town where the kitchen didn't close at like 9:00.
     
  9. rxcats

    rxcats Senior member

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    I went out to a Korean BBQ with a group from work. It was some place on Geary that one of my Korean coworkers really likes. I couldn't stand the place. It reeked from all of the smoke and I couldn't get home soon enough to shower and change clothes. I honestly don't know how they can get away with all of the smoke. With all of the ordinances in SF, you would think one of them would require places of business to have carbon monoxide detectors! I'll bet my carboxyhemoglobin level was significantly above baseline after that night out. NEVER AGAIN!
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Was it Brothers Kalbi or Korea House? I've been to the latter and it did suck, and it was also really expensive if I recall. I'd give LA it's Korean restaurants but the things that are making you guys uncomfortable about K-BBQing, like the smoke and cooking your own food - that is what happens at shitty Korean restaurants in America, and I guess it's pretty clear that there's a lot of them - better places would address this so that it doesn't become the experience.
     
  11. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Did you eat at that little Korean place on Milvia (or whatever that street was called) near the Berkeley City Hall? We used to go there fairly often late at night, because it was one of the few restaurants in town where the kitchen didn't close at like 9:00.

    that place was high class compared to Steve's BBQ.
     
  12. rxcats

    rxcats Senior member

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    Was it Brothers Kalbi or Korea House?

    It was Brothers. I remembered the name as soon as I saw it. It is the same name as the deli in Burlingame/San Mateo (used to be there anyway). My Korean coworker/friend really loves the place and I don't have the heart to tell her what I think of it. Not really my cup of tea.
     
  13. whodini

    whodini Senior member

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    I'm really kinda surprised by this. I've never had a family member or friend say in all seriousness that they didn't like KBBQ because of the taste or because they had to cook it themselves. Even when I'm given the option to have them cook it for me, I still prefer to cook it myself so that the food stays hot and fresh regardless of which point of the meal I'm at. Yes, I do cook in general but I've never minded the scenario even as a little kid.

    I'm not sure if I've had "real" Korean food outside of all the places I've been to around ktown in LA or other cities, but whatever it is tastes fairly similar and I love it. The combination of flavors is what I really love, the ability to go from spicy back to sweet then to salty before cleansing your palate and starting over. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
     
  14. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    I'm not sure if I've had "real" Korean food outside of all the places I've been to around ktown in LA or other cities, but whatever it is tastes fairly similar and I love it. The combination of flavors is what I really love, the ability to go from spicy back to sweet then to salty before cleansing your palate and starting over. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.


    + the excuse to eat tons of kimchi.
     
  15. whodini

    whodini Senior member

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    No kidding. I could eat that stuff every day.
     
  16. ennui

    ennui Senior member

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    that place was high class compared to Steve's BBQ.

    Steve's BBQ is not really Korean food, and I've had many a meal there. [​IMG]

    Palace BBQ down in Sunnyvale is workable.
     
  17. NaTionS

    NaTionS Senior member

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    Palace is where I would always go whenever I had a craving for Korean bbq. But now they don't have kalbi for lunch anymore and I'm not looking to pay their dinner prices for mediocre bbq.
     
  18. MikeDT

    MikeDT 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.
    I love doing that, and mutton is also great when cooked this way. BTW Chinese and Mongolians do it as well. I'm actually cooking this hotpot at home most of the time, rather than in a restaurant.
    Wtf is the point of this? It makes you smell,
    It only makes you smell if you're not careful and manage to spill the juices on yourself.
    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.
    It's fun and interactive. [​IMG] things might be boring otherwise.
     
  19. otc

    otc Senior member

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    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.

    Ate this tonight...was really looking forward to it and was not impressed.

    I think we got a bit screwed because it seemed to be our waiter's first night on the job...there were 4 of us eating and 2 of us went with the 7 courses of beef and he was like "you know thats a lot of food...blah blah....serves 2-3 people" so we split one order. That was definitely a mistake...it would have been a fair amount of food for one, but it was not enough for 2 hungry people.

    The first course beef salad thing was good but not really anything special. The hotpot course was some boring shit (in the spirit of this thread)...whoopee, I get to dip my own thin beef into some boiling liquid.

    The meatball/sausage plate had potential and some of the bits were quite good (do they change this one up depending on the day?). The meatball and the sausages wrapped in some sort of leaf were winners. I will agree that the soup was very good but splitting that little bowl between two people was sort of a drag.

    I'm not sure where the 7th course of beef went....I thought I counted 3 items on the sausage/meatball plate but it is possible that there were actually 3 types of sausage with the meatball which would bring us up to 7.

    I know that the bad service was a fluke...but I keep feeling like I am missing something. One of the other people at the table had lemongrass pork wraps which I would be much more inclined to order if I go back than the beef menu.
     
  20. Jdeansmith11

    Jdeansmith11 Well-Known Member

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    Korean BBQ is great! It's delicious and fun to eat since you have to work for it, as long as you don't under/over cook your meat.
     

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