Learn To Eat K-BBQ like A Pro With This Important Tip!

Have you truly mastered the art of Korean barbecue?

IMAGE Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill

By now, you've probably embraced Korean barbecue beyond a celebratory meal, eating it as often as you could. But have you mastered the art of Korean barbecue? Soban K-Town Grill can point you to the right direction.

Soban, which means "small tray or table," offers a very personal experience for your Korean-barbecue. It's not your usual buffet style, and instead, you can order ala carte items, or set courses. A good choice especially for beginners, is their well-curated Mega Meat BBQ Set (P1,000). It's sure to fill you up to that right degree (330 grams of meat per person is no joke!) while giving you one important lesson about eating Korean barbecue: you can cook and eat Korean barbecue in a certain order. 

This set is already arranged in the right sequence you're supposed to eat it, layered on a stand, all you have to do is follow it from top to bottom. In this way, you do two things: slowly build flavor on your palate, and keep your grill nonstick until the last strip of meat is cooked. Try cooking and eating meat in this order: 

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When it starts to sweat like this, it's perfect.
Photo by Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill

1 The fresh, lean beef cut

When you're eating Korean barbecue, it's always important to start with the freshest, thinnest beef cuts. They've got a simple, but satisfying, clean beef flavor that's simply the perfect way to start a feast. This is the perfect dish to start while your palate is still clean.

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Right when your beef starts to sweat, pick it off with your designated tongs, or if you're brave enough and have a tongue that can handle heat, pick it up with your chopsticks and straight it goes to your mouth! All those meaty juices explode right on your palate. Throw in some sliced garlic into that grill for some really tasty treats to add to your lettuce wraps.

Choose from the many available banchan, or side dishes, to fill your lettuce wraps with.
Photo by Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill
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These beef wraps particularly go well as a wrap with juicy, tart, kimchi, garlic, and a dab of gochujang dipping sauce.

These thick cut pork belly are extremely juicy!
Photo by Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill

2 The fresh, fattier pork belly

With your palate and your grill both still relatively clear of strong flavors, you get to enjoy the nuances of this tender, tasty, simple pork cut. Unlike beef though, pork has a particularly richer mouthfeel because of the more prominent fat content. If you're not ordering a pork cut, the general rule is to go for a fattier cut next, such as a marbled beef belly.

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The simple seasoning makes a world of difference.
Photo by Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill

3 Lightly seasoned pork

This cut of scored, peppery pork is a real delight as the seasoning simply amplifies the flavor of pork. It's deceptively simple but incredibly delicious.

Usually, pork belly cuts are thicker and cook for longer. Soban's version of these cuts are scored which allows it to cook quicker and more evenly compared to traditional pork cuts. This means that it all browns quicker, cooks to the center without having to flip often, and most importantly, will be filling your tummy a lot faster.

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As you would expect, flecks off the seasoning will be left on your pan. If you'd cooked that before the beef cuts, you'd have altered the flavor of the beef or scooped up some bitter burnt flecks of pepper.

These are marinated and aged for a day, letting those sweet, earthy flavors of gochujang work their magic.
Photo by Courtesy of Soban K-Town Grill

4 Marinated pork belly

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This order of eating Korean barbecue is all about building flavor on your palate. We started with the most subtle flavors while our palate was clean so we can really tune in to the natural taste of beef and pork. Then, we build with a little seasoning to take it up a notch. Lastly, we go for a real flavor punch, the marinated gochujang pork belly. If the earlier parts of the set had been the rising action, the crescendo, this last cut brings your taste buds to the climax.

On a practical note, cooking the marinated cut will also ensure that you won't need to change grill pans halfway through your meal. Unlike the other dishes that barely leave a mark on your grill, marinated galbi will leave a lot of caramelized, hardened sugars on your grill. That marinade stuck on the grill is what makes this cut extra special, extra juicy, extra delicious, and extra scrumptious, but will also render your pan unusable after a few batches.

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Then again, with all the banchan we can use as palate cleansers, why not ask for a change of grill and do it all over again?

Soban K-Town Grill is located at 3F SM Megamall, Pasig City. 

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