Meok Ja Gol (MJG) Korean Barbeque Restaurant on Kingsway and Nelson, Burnaby

Updated: 15th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

I bet you will find Meok Ja Gol (MJG) interesting enough to want to check it out — we did.

Even though I work one short block away from MJG, I had never paid any attention to it.


This is because MJG is hidden in a recess from Kingway in Burnaby.  The best way to find it is to know that it is located east of Nelson on Kingsway.  But then the address is not really Kingsway … kind of weird I know.  If you are driving and want to get to MJG, the entrance is on the short road almost parallel to Kingsway called Newton St.  Forget what I just said … just drive to the back lane on Kingsway!

I feel for MJG.  They are a very unique and interesting restaurant and yet the location sucks.  What a shame.


MJG is so authentic Korean that they can hardly speak English at all. They were so authentic that they even have loads of Korean magazines and newspapers neatly stacked for the customer’s use.  Even the TV was playing Korean serial drama.  They asked if we wanted to switch to another channel but we told them we’re fine … Suanne loves Korean love drama with dashing young handsome Korean actors.  LOL!

Suanne and I went before 5PM … the place was empty at that time.  Actually, MJG had only a couple of tables taken the whole time we were there.  We like the cleanliness of MJG and also the rustic villagey feel to it.


They brought us some hot tea in a plastic container just as we got settled down.  I assume that Korean restaurants commonly serves tea this way.


They have a really big menu … 16 pages of glossy pages with lots of pictures. Even their take out menu is printed in high gloss and comes in a 16 page booklet.  You can’t beat that, can you?  If there is an award for the best take out menu, MJG will win hands down.

Without even bothering with the rest of the menu, Suanne and I already know what we wanted.  It is on page #1 … the one thing that MJG is known for … the MJG Dinner BBQ Combo.  Read on … this is NOT any kind of Korean BBQ you normally see around.  This one is high tech.  LOL!

Ordering is simple:

  • For 2-3 people: $49.95 with 12 (best) items
  • For 4-5 people: $99.95 with 13 (better) items
  • For 6-7 people: $149.95 with 17 (bestest) items.

With this combo, you don’t need to order anything else.  There are more than enough food for everyone — trust me!


We were warned that it will take at least 30 minutes to prepare.  Sure, we could wait said … we had all the time in the world that afternoon.  I was actually quite pleased with the wait because it meant that good food cannot be rushed.

Since everything is Korean, it was hard to entertain ourselves during the long wait.  If you go, bring along a book or something.  Let’s talk a bit about ho hum matters.  OK … for one, they have one of those wireless service buttons on each table.  I was not sure initially what it is because there is no icon or something to indicate what it is.  I guess this also acts as a panic button of sorts in case the BBQ flares up.

I can’t get used to Korean chopsticks.  They are so flat and narrow that it’s hard to get a grip.  Japanese and Chinese chopsticks are easier to handle.  Also, you will notice that Korean spoons have very long handles.  I think there is a practical reason for it but am not sure why … anyone knows?


The above is their high tech BBQ computerized device (their brochure said so!).  It was pretty interesting.  It is a complete eating system designed from the ground up not just for table top charcoal BBQ but also for soup, etc!  Read on … you will know what I mean.


This is what the wait was about … the charcoal.  They need 30 minutes to heat it up.  It was a pretty glow-y sight … and very hot.  I can feel the heat radiating from where we were sitting.


They do everything for you.  When they left the charcoal by the side of the table I thought I am supposed to handle this myself!  They opened up the grill and put in the two baskets of charcoal.


Underneath the charcoal is a tray of water.  I guess the water serves a dual purpose of moderating the heat and also to prevent the entire BBQ’ing cavity from getting too dry.


The delicious looking meat is put on skewers specially to rotate at a constant speed in the BBQ machine.  Our combo included beef ribs, beef ribeye, chicken and prawns.  Mind you, I am not even half way there on this blog entry!


The grill are placed on top to cover the grilling cavity.  The skewers are rotated automatically and grilling takes 5-7 minutes.  Again they will handle everything for you, including keeping time.  [I thought this is computerized!].


The soya bean stew pot is then placed on top of the BBQ opening.  The action goes on underneath while we continue with the meal.  The soya bean stew was great.  It was really nice drinking the hot steamy stew from the hotpot.  Tasted a lot like miso soup but a bit more thicker.


The Soya Bean Stew can be drank by itself or as I prefer, pour it into the rice.  It was so steaming hot that one could not eat this with haste.  This kind of food gotta be enjoyed one spoonful at a time.


They will assist in taking the skewers out and place them on the hot grill surface to rest for 1 minute.  Oh …. this is the bestest, most tender, moistest beef we had ever had.  This is simply the most perfect BBQ beef.  For the two of us, there was a lot of meat too.


Look at it again … wickedly delicious!  Typing this is a torture … makes me want to go out to MJG tonight again.


The chicken is very “heong” with green onions burnt to a crisp.  Super moist and juicy.


The prawns were large but kind of dry.  We had to dip it on soya sauce to moist it up a bit.  I ate the whole thing … shells and all.  The shell was so crisp I just had to eat that.

I want you to know that I am describing this meal out of sequence.  They actually have a well paced meal with well controlled timings.  I wanted to show you the star of the meal first.  The following are the rest of the good stuff in the combo.


We actually started off with the salad.  It was very cold.  It was very crisp.  It was very fresh.  It came with a sweet dressing.  It was very good.  It was a perfect start.


Next was the “Water Dumpling”.  I am not sure why they call this “water” dumpling.  It is perhaps a direct translation from Korean.  It is like wonton, except that …


… it is much more smaller.  We like it.  Unlike wontons which are dominated by meat (pork), this one had a nice balance with green onions and such.  Actually we went through the entire plate very fast.  It was that great.


The other star of the combo is the Grilled Mackerel.  It is served on a sizzling hot plate and simply marinated with soya sauce.


A squeeze of lemon to add a little tanginess to the fish …


… and a little dab of soya too.  We enjoyed this a lot.  This was served before the BBQ was done.  So we had time to pick up the pieces of fish meat slowly leaving only the cleaned out bones and head at the end.


The Seafood Pancake is a $5 upgrade from the combo.  I think they serve the normal pancakes along with the combo but they recommend this upgrade which we agreed to.


Like all the other items, this is so well made and delicious.  We actually took only a slice each because we were simply too stuffed to finish off this.  We had it to go.  Frankly, this one item alone is more than enough for lunch for one person and a bit.


I find that Korean rice is a bit more starchy and sticky.  And they serve rice in a metal bowl.  Again, maybe there is a reason for it which I am not aware of but I find it hard to handle hot food in a metal bowl.


Of course the Banchan was served first and foremost.


There are altogether six types of Banchans … including the all important kimchi.

One last thing to share with you (above) … I will leave it to your reading.

This is a very interesting meal.  The more people the better and is meant to be shared.  I remember someone comment on this blog lamenting that there is no charcoal Korean BBQ in Vancouver — so here it is, there is ONE that I know of.

This is one meal you must include in your list of “Things To Eat Before I Die”.



Meok Ja Gol on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Quinn

    Sounds really delicious. Don’t think we can find authentic Korean food like that in Adelaide. Aren’t charcoal bad for health?

  2. raidar

    It does sound delicious. I’ve never seen a BBQ like that in a Korean restaurant here.

  3. Winnie

    Hi Ben,
    I was looking for a Korean BBQ place for my mom’s birthday dinner this sunday. Your review just came in time!
    So compare to Cho Sun Korean would you prefer BBQ at MJG or Cho Sun?

    1. Ben

      Hi Winnie: To me … I prefer MJG hands down over Cho Sun. MJG has more fun factor with real charcoal BBQ. Bring along a lot of people!! Ben

  4. Food Blog Creeper

    The place looks awesome! I actually enjoy the “homey” feeling when it comes to places like these and knowing that they take time to ensure quality makes the experience that much better.

    As for the metal bowl, I think the idea is that when you put hot food in a metal container/bowl it stays hot and when you put cold items in a metal container/bowl it will stay cold.

  5. Loca

    were can I get a cooker like that, name brand? For skewers and soup… what a great idea!

  6. Kevin

    Wow is all I can say about the food and this review!

    That looks great for a big group dinner…mmm I need to gather up some friends.

  7. Sherman

    That’s a lot of food Ben! I’ve driven by this place many times and I’ve always wanted to try it. Thanks for being the guinea pig!

  8. SJ

    No MSG in this restaurant!!!
    I really like this place!!!
    I enjoy their ggan pung gi too!!
    Korea has tons of tasty foods. You just name it. Then I will be your guide.

  9. Sue

    This a great little place. Mum and I loved the fact that after finishing our delicious meal, our clothes didn’t absorb any of the smoky smell that usually is one of the drawbacks of going out for Korean BBQ.

  10. carolyn

    the panic button is NOT an emergency button

    when you press it, its a bell that calls the waiter or waitress to come to your table.. instead of waving your hands up for an attention

    how it works, each button and table has a number
    when the button is pressed, the table number will appear to a computer monitor

    most Korean restaurants will have this system.. its pretty cool

    next time, if you visit a good bbq place called HANOORI
    (kingsway and corner of imperial)

  11. carolyn

    btw, this place is a hidden gem
    it gets busy at night.. this restaurant is well known for good hotpot soup

  12. LotusRapper

    Wow that looks SO delicious, Ben. Now I gotta go try them.

    As you know I work in the area and I’ve walked by them a few times when I do my semi-regular lunchtime neighbourhood lunch exploration. Yes they are hard to notice even from the Kingsway sidewalk. But I presume this is the kind of place known to Koreans by word-of-mouth. One time I ventured in to ask about their lunch menu. While things looked interesting, I didn’t stay as I felt for one person the prices were on the high side (maybe I’m just a cautious lunch-er).

    But this 2-3 person package for $50 is a deal for sure.

    BTW: IIRC the metal rice bowl thing is a legacy from WWII and Korean War where Koreans adopted using metal tableware as a reflection of the military presence. Not sure if I’m right on that.

    Great review !

  13. Chubbypanda

    “Water Dumplings” are a direct translation from the Chinese “Shui Jiao”. It really indicates a type of dumpling that is boiled instead of steamed. This Korean variant has the same type of filling, but uses a thinner wrapper and the wonton wrapping style. Very interesting.

  14. Holly

    I think koreans use long spoons because of the hot soups they eat with every meal. It is easier to use because the soup is served steaming hot and so you don’t get burned.

    Thanks for the great write up. I have now put MJG on my wish list for my birthday dinner this year. Hope the birthday angels are listening.

    I have also found their lunch specials to be reasonable and their bulgoki was especially memorable as it was well seasoned and moist. Their kalbi was just ok, and I still think Chosun has the best lunch kalbi.

  15. Frank S

    Great job in posting pictures of the coals, they made me miss having some great bbq. Being a korean myself, I find it interesting to see what it is about our culinary culture that causes confused looks for others.

    Sadly, I haven’t been able to try this place while living in Burnaby. Thank you for the introduction to what seems like another nice and cozy establishment to try out. By the way, your pictures are stunning, and mouth-watering!

  16. mikeyjrd

    thanks for the post, i did not know they did wonders in this place…the front door kind of look creepy…

    my question late is, if you can remember, for that $50 combo you ordered, you only get four skewers of bbq stuff, as pictured, only for that whole meal??

    there is a lot food for that dinner combo but I’m more into the bbq stuff. Whats a cheap bbq item you would suggest as an add-on for 3 people…

    1. Ben

      Hi mikeyjrd: The truth is MJG had gone downhill over the past little while. I work near there and go there often for lunch. Their machines are breaking down and the last time I brought my friends there, it was a disappointment and the food was not as exciting as it did the first time we had it there. Ben

      1. mikeyjrd

        thanks for the reply..

        its happens a lot in Korean places cuz people usually order the same stuff over and over…it becomes not as exciting as you said..

        I haven’t been to this place before and i’m interested in the charcoal bbq; just to see the difference..i hope that this place won’t turn out to be a one time Korean place…

        So you couldn’t remember how much bbq stuff they give you for that $50 combo? Me and my friend can finish it if its just the 4 skewers and take-home part of the pan-cake and grilled fish….

Leave a Reply