8 KOREAN BBQ
WHERE PORK RULES THE ROOST!
Korean barbecue is no longer a fad or a phase or even a hot, trendy concept. No, it’s now fully ingrained into the Los Angeles culinary landscape.
Korean barbecue is vastly popular for its do-it-yourself tableside grilling style where, most of the time, you grill your own meat, typically beef, pork or chicken. The concept hasn’t involved much, that is until I heard about 8 Korean BBQ where curated flavors of Mangalitza pork belly come to life like never before.
If you’re not familiar with the Mangalitza hog, it is a rare pig of Hungarian origin often mistaken for sheep due to its thick woolly coat. The meat is a luscious ruby-red color, a lot like beef. And Mangalitza fat melts at a temperature lower than regular pork fat as it is tender and juicy even after cooking.
At 8 Korean BBQ, a full-service Korean barbecue restaurant where the staff does the cooking for you, allowing you the opportunity to simply sit back and enjoy the experience while your food is expertly prepared, the pork belly is prepared and served eight different ways.
The most popular menu item, and let’s be honest, the only way to go, is Combo A, which features eight flavors of pork belly along with a seafood soybean stew and mozzarella kimchi fried rice. It’s a must have. And of course, you can always add additional dishes if you’re feeling ravenous. Beef dishes include Argentinian grass-fed beef, USDA Prime, and Japanese Wagyu.
But let’s get back to the eight wonderful flavors of pork belly, which consist of wine; original; ginseng; garlic, herb; curry; miso paste; and red pepper paste. The meat comes all at once but is cooked in two waves. And each style of pork belly is so flavorful that the pork never tastes the same and feels overwhelming. Each serving is unique and presents its own delicious detour. I personally loved the garlic; curry; and spicy red pepper paste. Well, truth be told, I enjoyed them all, but those particular three were my favorite.
The setting is casual at 8 Korean BBQ and it isn’t overly smoky inside. I also like the personable staff and the fact that they do the grilling for you. Marinated pork is often my favorite dish at Korean barbecue but this style of pork belly is completely different.
I should also point out that they do not charge per person, instead you pay by order. Each combo is supposed to feed between three and four people and costs between $55 and $75 dollars, which is a pretty great deal considering how much food you get.
I was a huge fan of the mozzarella kimchi fried rice but after eating so much fab pork belly, I could barely eat any of the ridiculously divine rice. But it did taste out of this world good the next day with some leftover pork belly.
While the all you can eat craze has faded, it’s now about the quality of the meat and I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a tastier treat than the pork belly feast at 8 Korean BBQ.
8 Korean BBQ is located at 863 S. Western Avenue in Koreatown and 6681 Beach Blvd in Buena Park.
Story By; Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: 8 Korean BBQ