By: Chris Mcarthy
You might not have had an idea of the Korean barbecue, unless you visited the peninsula. Japanese counterparts speak of it with an animal yearning. Its not just to be eaten, but a condition to aspire. You would find street-side restaurants with the smokiest grills all over Korea but due to language barrier and the variations in taste and custom most of this flavored local cuisine is not approachable for tourists. However, restaurants equipped with English speaking staff are all rocking with traditional menus on the table.
There is an art of eating a Korean barbecue because it is served in a family style, which means everybody shares everything. It consists thinly sliced marinated beef, bowls of rice, miso soup and a dizzying array of small spicy side dish, all to be shared. There comes the art of sharing, which demands patience, rhythm and grace.
Korean barbecue is to be enjoyed in a group. Anyone having it for the first time must watch the most experienced barbecue person in the group. The Korean menu usually has English translations at the side. While placing order for the barbecue there needs to be consensus in the group because you will watch many small dishes arriving at the table, which you never ordered. First the sauces and the garnishings, then the pancham dishes will be displayed by the waiter, which will include spicy and sweet pickled vegetables, slippery seaweed and spinach dishes, creamy potato salad. Also the Kim Chi, known as the granddaddy of Korean cuisine made from spicy fermented cabbage. With all these on the table the group gets off.
When the meat reveals itself all hell breaks loose. The barbecuing itself is a highly choreographed ritual. The grill is brought out and fixed on the corresponding trough, which shows the lovely aromatic grill smoke, pop and sizzle of cooking meat. Many barbecues have switched to electric grills but some have maintained wood patterns. The kalbi beef short ribs in soy, sesame oil and garlic are cut into small rectangles. The waiters will expertly flip, tossing and doling it on various plates.
The Korean burrito has everything in a bite. The meat whether kalbi or bulgogi is sizzling hot and so tender. The rice fluffs the whole affair and mingles with spicy, wicked, awesome kim chi. The garlic clove and hot pepper gives the nice kick, while the cool lettuce calms down. Its perfect!
The post Korean barbecue belches may taste divine but smells hell. As a preventive measure do not drink carbonated drink while eating the barbecue. Gums and minks may help mask the breath. Resist the temptation to cough. Sometimes the kim chi belch cannot be stifled. It is the sign of a well-enjoyed meal.
Korean barbecue is also known as Bulgogi. Pound each slice of beef lightly, combine ingredients. Marinade and keep aside for 2 hours. Heat a table grill to medium high heat. Roast sliced pieces of beef. Bulgogi tastes best with smoky flavor of grill. It is served with various side dishes.
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