True story: I had Korean BBQ for the first time ever this weekend. I know. I KNOW. I’m ashamed but at least I’m honest. My one and only issue seemed to be that I simply did not know where to go? Do I just walk in to any ol’ BBQ place? (the answer is a big NO apparently, as I’m learning)… should I go to one in Korea Town? (I mean duh but what if there are others?!)… the struggle was clearly real, no one likes being a noob with no proper introduction but fortunately and finally, I had the opportunity to BBQ like a pro with two of my closest foodie friends.
Driving over to K-Town I’m thinking my guides know exactly where we’re going, they’ve got their go-to BBQ spot and we’re on our way to have the best of em. Overhearing, “we should take them to all you can eat first… huh…”, and “well ‘_____’ will probably be packed so maybe we try ‘_____’ ” I learned this was clearly not the case. First thing I learned about Korean BBQ: there’s a lot of excellent options available for your choosing in a very small vicinity.
We ended up at the AYCE (“all you can eat”) Kogi King off of Western which happens to be quite the popular spot for Koreans and non Koreans, young people and old(er) people, in other words: everyone. We sat down at our BBQ table and let our guides take it away with ordering; thankfully it’s a pretty straightforward concept and much less daunting than I was worrying over. You get a bunch of simple small dishes for the table (pickled do-das, noodles, onion salad, etc), order several bottles of Hite’s and Soju, have a look at the menu and say to your waitress, “I’ll have the AYCE menu for $17.99 a person”, order meat that sounds good, they bring it out, you BBQ it, you eat it, you get full and end it all with the meat sweats. It’s pretty easy! Highlights we’re definitely the kalbi and the bulgogi – we ordered brisket, beef tongue, short rib, and pork belly which were all delicious as well, those two items just had the best flavor. I’m not going to act like I know wtf “kalbi” or “bulgogi” even is, but its fuckin delicious, and its apparently two of their most popular items.
My favorite rule I learned while engaging in my first KBBQ experience was “rule number one”: don’t stop drinking. Now that’s something I can get behind. Korean BBQ is a totally fun and social way to dine, whether it’s a date or a group you’ll have a great time. The time to get Korean BBQ is when you feel like you’re so hungry that your stomach may actually be eating itself, because it is one extremely satisfying meat concentrated meal. Kogi King is the only one I’ve been to so far, totally worth trying (especially for the ‘all you can eat’ bit so you can try tons of stuff), but DAMN am I excited to explore more now that I have been inducted to the Los Angeles KBBQ “fun for food lovers” society.