It’s no doubt that Korean BBQ has catapulted into a social phenomenon, particularly in Southern California. While there are countless KBBQ joints brimming throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, one relatively new restaurant, Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong, offers an extraordinarily unforgettable experience. Allow me, a Korean-American, seasoned KBBQ veteran, to take you on a virtual tour of this exciting food establishment.
The second you open the doors of Baekjeong, an entourage of robust, young men greet you in unison by heartily shouting, “Hello! Welcome to Baekjeong!” in Korean, instantly making you feel welcomed. You are then seated at a circular table, where side dishes, menus, and utensils have already been laid out.
The beef combo, a popular menu choice, is comprised of thinly sliced brisket, marinated boneless short rib, your choice of prime boneless short rib or prime rib eye, and your choice of soybean paste stew or kimchi stew. I usually opt for the kimchi stew, which beats my mother’s, and that says a lot.
After ordering, you can start munching on the side dishes as a delicious way to kill time before the real star of the meal, the meat, arrives. Some of these dishes are kimchi pancakes, syrupy sweet potato wedges, and spicy veggie salad, which has yet to be served in any other KBBQ establishment.
You can prep the veggie salad by thoroughly mixing the vibrantly red sauce with the bed of greens and bean sprouts underneath — this will be the perfect accompaniment to your grilled meat.
Speaking of grilled meat, what makes Baekjeong stand out from other KBBQ spots is its innovative grill. Whereas standard KBBQ restaurants use traditional rectangular grills, Baekjeong employs nifty circular grills. Around the circumference of these grilling pans are trench-like ditches, where two side dishes self-cook as the meat grills.
In one compartment, beaten eggs gradually firm up into steamed eggs with a custard-like texture, while in the other, sweet corn kernels and shredded mozzarella cheese melt into an utterly irresistible sweet-and-savory snack.
Another great aspect of Baekjeong is the service. Not only do the servers refill side dishes and honor any requests with lightning speed, but they also grill your meat throughout your entire meal. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong is a spectacular sensory experience, from the spectacle of the colorful side dishes, to the mouth-watering smell of sizzling meat, and of course, to the amazing flavor combinations that induce fireworks in your mouth with every bite.
All in all, a KBBQ experience at Baekjeong is sure to beat any other, and you will leave with your taste buds tingling, stomach satisfied, and heart happy, ready to return next time for more.