Taste of Korean BBQ

Jun 27, 2016 · 3 min read

What we think of as our tastes can get in the way of things we actually enjoy. You can be a prisoner of your taste, but you can also be liberated from it. @tomvanderbilt

Traditional Korean cookery can and should be a useful part of our way of eating. Beef Bulgogi and Pork Belly are the topics of my example because I like to recommend them :D

Q: Do we have to cook it ourselves?

A: Kind of.

Please don’t burn the meat. It is a sin. The tong is on the table for your use.

The function of an open table grill is to give the diner the option of personal preference. Like bacon, people can enjoy a crispy charred piece or a moist flavorful one. It’s even possible to get both since you can choose to eat the meat at different times while it cooks in front of your table.

For pork bellies or short ribs, the best time to turn is when the meat starts to sweat beads of pinkish moisture. Usually high heat is the best choice, because it gives the outside a crisp cover while the inside remains tender and succulent.

The meat is always easier to cut when done rather than when it is raw. Grab the tong and scissors and cut the meat into bite size pieces.

Rip the lettuce into a smaller portion. The lettuce is like a base cracker for a variety of toppings and is used rather like a taco shell although the combination is best fit for a bite size.

My first choice is to lay down the thin sliced pickled radish, then put a small portion of green onion salad on top.

Then I dip my pork into the sesame oil with salt and pepper, and lay a sliced grilled piece of garlic from the sizzling grill.

Lastly I apply a bit of fermented bean paste right on top of my combo to finish.

This is my favorite combination, but of course you can vary the items and substitute them with personal preference.

My only advice is to keep the combinations small enough to enjoy all of the varieties in one tasting.

I believe the most important essence of Korean barbecue is to combine multiple items to create a taste that you love. You can experience the sensation of taste where indefinite series of simple tastes can change according to the number and variety of their combinations.

In a table of three there are three tastes, three appetites and all individually have to make their own flavors. If properly done, it can result in a meal of fusion remembered with pleasure in creating food according to personal tastes. There is no right way to combine things and the idea is to invent your own flavor, not new rules. Keeping it small is the only rule that I can think of to make the experience more enjoyable. Small quantities of simple tastes in every bite can be an unforgettable flavor.

After reading this all you really need to do is experiment and reflect on the combination you have created. In the words of M.F.K. Fisher,

“To eat more curiously, more intelligently.”

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