Ever since I was a kid, I loved Korean barbeque. Korean barbeque restaurants typically have a large offering of foods, including side dishes and main entrées. No matter what, I would leave these trendy barbeque joints satisfied and drowsy from all the food.
The typical Korean barbeque restaurants serve anywhere from five to fifteen “appetizers,” or banchaan before hauling out big chunks of meat, ready to be cooked table-side. These banchaan vary from traditional kimchi to steamed eggs in a bowl. I like to wait and combine the small appetizer dishes with the main course to create savory lettuce wraps—also known as saam.
The style of serving numerous side dishes, or appetizers, along with a main course dish is common in Korean households. Such buffet-style eating is bound to satisfy ever diner because there is a plethora of options to choose from. Foodies unfamiliar to Korean cuisine will be delighted to find that a single trip to a Korean barbeque can immerse them into the Korean culture and its foods.
As for cooking the meat on the dining table, I am unsure of where that method originates from. However, cooking meat table-side has some obvious benefits. The meat will be warm, and cooking the meat yourself will simulate eating at home. These benefits are great when eating at a Korean barbeque with friends and family because cooking the food yourself stimulates the atmosphere of a cook-out party. Another benefit is that you can use the grill to heat up other food. I like to cook kimchi on the grill.
Anyways, whenever I’m in New York, I always go to a small and cozy Korean barbeque called Mapo BBQ. The place can only seat about eight parties of four, but the barbeque there is phenomenal. Also, I prefer Mapo BBQ because the restaurant serves an incredible amount of side dishes—more than what most other Korean barbecues serve.
Their Korean barbeque is well-marinated and has significant marbling which adds to the taste of the meat. The lettuce they serve with the meat is so fresh that I wonder if they have a garden in the back. Biting on the fresh lettuce emits sharp snapping noises.
149-24 41st Ave.
Flushing, NY 11355