OMG this was hands down one of my favorite meals of my entire California trip – maybe even the year? Dare I say it? Let’s proceed so you may see why I’m making such gradiose statements. After my weeklong business trip, I crashed with my brother and sister-in-law in their new Los Angeles apt. I wanted Korean food because LA is known for it’s largest population of Koreans next to Korea. So Friday night they picked this Korean BBQ joint that only serves……pork. Grilled pork. I honestly did not expect the culinary deliciousness that was about to ensue.
We sat down and are met with this:
It’s this huge cast iron grilling pan set int he middle of the table. It’s scattered with a generous heaping of VERY delicious Korean kimchi and marinated bean sprouts slowly being warmed up. I have to tell you, my mouth is watering just thinking of that kimchi – it was perfection. Spicy, that perfect amount of sour pickledness, tons of garlic….the way kimchi is meant to be.
Then comes the accoutrements to be eaten with the pork to add freshness to each bite: fresh lettuce wraps and shredded scallions dressed in sesame oil and a little salt and hot pepper flakes:
Then there appeared something I have never ever seen before – thin rice paper wrappers. Think of wonton wrappers but instead of dough, they are made of this soft chewy rice to wrap your pork in:
At the top of the above photo, you see the two tradition Korean spicy sauces to eat your pork with. One paste is made of red pepper flakes while the other is based in fermented soy beans and garlic.
The menu offers a variety of pork cuts. We got the pork belly…….mmmmhmmmm.
The server cuts up the long cuts of belly and places them on the pan. You wait for those babies to cook up to a nice crispiness while the pork fat runs all over the vegetables and kimchi.
Grilled to a nice brown perfection:
They add some tofu and acorn squash to the mix.
Now you start the assembly of the all star players: take that rice paper, add the pork belly, top with some of the Korean red sauce (kochujang) and then add the shredded scallion and toss that whole thing in your mouth.
The pork belly is smoky and crispy and tastes like the best fatty thick slab bacon you’ve ever had…the red sauce adds a bit of salt and garlic. The scallions add a fresh onion taste and the rice paper holds it all together in its glorious chewiness. OMG…..
Then when every bit of that glorious pork belly has been consumed, they add rice and more greens to the cast iron pan:
….and it all cooks down together to make a Korean bibimbap with the pork juices, the kimchi, the bean sprouts…everything.
Wow. So many layers to this meal and I love how it all comes together to provide several courses throughout. Stuffed but so incredibly satisfied I thanked my brother and his wife a thousand times for bringing me to Honey Pig and then started to wonder outloud as to why nothing like this existed in NYC. I’m sad. This was so delicious and worth it. And if pork belly is not your thing, there are other cuts of pork offered.
We had that “just visited a Korean BBQ joint” smell to us but we could care less. God, this was the best meal. If you are in LA, you MUST visit Honey Pig…the name of this place says it all. Honey Pig – please open a branch in NYC? I really do think you would do incredibly well. I will vouch for it.
Honey Pig, 3400 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA