Korean BBQ in Beijing
Every day for lunch, David (another student on the NSF EAPSI grant) and I go out to discover a new eatery since we do not want to pay for overpriced meals at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology where we do research. So today, we decided to go to Ha Nan Shan Korean BBQ across the street. As we sat down, we noticed that the place was pretty fancy shmancy, and the menu was pricier than most of the eateries we’ve been to thus far. As we looked through the menu, a waiter came up with four banchan, the mini side dishes that come with a Korean meal (Figure 1). The kimchi (Figure 1, top left) was a bit under-spiced while the wood ear and little mystery balls (Figure 1, top right) were cooked perfectly with a touch of saltiness. We didn’t touch the salad (Figure 1, bottom left) since eating raw vegetables in China may not end in a happy stomach. The last banchan was this amazing toned-down, sweet and savory taro “gao” (Figure 1, bottom right).
Sauces are an absolute necessity when it comes to Korean BBQ, and there was a wide selection at this restaurant. Each person pays an extra 8RMB for unlimited sauces, so we made a couple of our own concoctions (Figure 2).
We were somewhat overwhelmed with the giant selection of meats but settled on squid, pork belly and a stone bowl (for the vegetables).
The pork belly looked amazing in thinly sliced rolls (Figure 3), and it looked even better as the waitress helped us cook it. The meat just bubbled over the grill as puffs of hot air escaped from under the pork belly (Figure 4).
Squid (Figure 5) is always yummy when it is cooked just right, so it is probably good that we had someone doing it for us (it seemed as though we were the only ones being helped though…). The squid was especially scrumptious when dipped into one of the red sauces, which actually tasted like a mix between salsa and cocktail sauce.
And the meal was topped off with a traditional stone bowl (Figure 6). After the waitress mixed in the hot sauce, it became one of the best stone bowls I’ve ever had. However, it could have sat for a little longer to let the rice get really crispy.
- Prepare spending quite a bit more here than you normally would at an eatery.
- If you like pork, GET THE PORK BELLY.
- If you get the stone bowl, let the contents sit for a while longer than you would normally let a stone bowl sit.