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Holy Smoke!

  • Feb 28, 2010
The Singaporeans have a snack known as barbecued pork and the primary chain which sells it is Bee Cheng Hiang. It is a snack that almost every Singaporean has to snack on during the Chinese New Year period. One of its official CNY snacks! Interestingly, it sells very well and the chain has since expanded its franchise to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. So, it's definitely a hit with all these countries.

In fact, amazingly, I've a cousin in Toronto who actually yearns for this snack. I only found out about this last year on my visit to Toronto. I'm very surprised! No doubt it's a good snack but I really am not hooked on it. Considering that some would queued for hours just to buy a pack of bbq pork? That's beyond me!

Anyhow, when it comes to Korean barbecue, known locally as Gogi gui, I'm totally hooked! This is a full meal comprises of not just barbecue just also a varied array of banchan (Korean side dishes).

Korean cuisine is as interesting as Japanese cuisine, with a wide variety of dishes to choose from. Don't worry though, they are mostly cooked, unlike the Japanese sashimi & sushi.

As the fascination in Asia in recent years with Korean dramas escalates, Korean cuisine has become highly popular as well. Afterall, the first major Korean drama, Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum, 대장금, 大長今) was based entirely on Korean cuisine! If you haven't seen this drama, you must! It's the best of Korean dramas and you will certainly enjoy it! It is the Korean drama that has epitomized everything Korean and pushes Korean food to center stage in the whole world so much so that one can find many Korean restaurants by the name Dae Jang Geum in Korean towns across United States & Canada! Unbelievable!

Well, in the palace they don't eat Korean barbecue, not in those days anyhow. But it is Korean barbecue that I choose to write a review on because this is one of my favorite Korean way of dining.

I was a child of 10 when I first visited Korea in the middle of winter and boy was it one of the coldest places in the world! It must have been -20 deg. C or even more. I don't remember. Neither do I remember much of that trip but one thing I did remember was a full course Korean meal (known as Hanjeongsik in Korea), aromatic barbecue & the practice of feeding the diners!!! Yes, not only children but also adults alike! I felt like a royalty back then! Boy, it was awesome! Imagine, dining on tatami mats and being fed spoon by spoon, I think men would love the idea every day of their lives!!! ;-)

I haven't tried Korean barbecue in Korea since then but have had them in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong instead. It is still as good and I am still hooked on Gogi gui! I'm a meat person generally and the way the Koreans marinate their meats are just beyond words! You'd have to experience them personally to know. So far, my friends have led me to good restaurants and I haven't had any that's not great. Generally though, it's good to ask around first. Otherwise, if it's packed, then it's guaranteed to be good!

Gogi Gui is best when in the company of friends. Grilling meats is fun at the table and everyone has their fair share of cooking. I love my steaks although you may actually order pork or chicken if you wish to. The meats are usually marinated with soy sauce garlic, sugar, sliced onion.
With a wide array of side dishes and beers, you can easily chat with your friends and eat till early morning! Spare lots of time if you're going for Korean BBQ with friends, that's the best way to enjoy this awesome meal!

Holy Smoke! Holy Smoke! Holy Smoke! Holy Smoke!

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February 28, 2010
I actually have all the tools to make this and I do make them quite a lot! I make a killer sizzling BULGOGI and I am just learning the ropes to do those mixed rice plates. Nice review...hm...I do have some Korean ribs marinated and ready to cook in the frridge...I am hungry!
February 28, 2010
Oh my, those lucky ladies around you! :-) You do the cooking & they feed you? ;-)
February 28, 2010
that's the general idea... ;-)
February 28, 2010
I had Korean two nights ago (Dolsot Bibimbap). I don't know if you have visited Soondubu House in Toronto during your visits, but I review it here: http://www.epinions.com/review/Buk_Chang_Don...pi/content_416078663300 It is an excellent and inexpensive dining experience. A little more "fast food" than the Korean restaurants near me...but the food was GOOD. And that means more than atmosphere to me!
February 28, 2010
I'll have to check with my cousin about it. She took me there and it was cheap and good but I forgot about the name. It was always packed too and it's definitely in Korean Town. That was the only Korean restaurant I visited in downtown Toronto though. I much prefer Vietnamese when in Toronto because it's not common over here (unless one lives in Vietname, that is) :-)
February 28, 2010
I have some mediocre Vietnamese around me...it was better in SC.
More Gogi gui (korean barbecue) reviews
Quick Tip by . February 28, 2010
Just one word: YUMMY!!!
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
Ranked #3
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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About this food


Korean barbecue, or gogi gui, refers to the Korean method of grilling beefporkchicken, or other types of meat. Such dishes are often prepared at the diner's table on gas or charcoal grills that are built into the center of the table itself. Most diners enjoy doing their own grilling at the table. Some Korean restaurants that do not have built-in grills provide portable stoves for diners to use at their tables.

The most typical form of Korean barbecue is galbi made from marinated beef short ribs.[1] However, Korean barbecue also includes many other kinds of marinated and non-marinated meat dishes, and can be divided into several categories.

Korean barbecue is not only popular among Korean consumers but enjoys international popularity.

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