Pork Belly Beer House on Bidwell and Robson, Vancouver

Updated: 12th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com

This is the type of food that is up my alley. Totally.

I find it very exciting writing about places like this. This is a no name restaurant. The awning outside has no indication that it is a restaurant at all. The only sign in English that says that this is a restaurant is written on a couple of 50 cents cardboards. They must have bought it from a dollar store. On the cardboard is only the words BBQ, Beef, Chicken and Pork. It doesn’t tell you much, does it? This has got to be the worst restaurant signboard in Vancouver … maybe even in the entire country.

This restaurant is so unknown that I can’t find any mention of this on UrbanSpoon or on Dinehere.ca or Yelp. To think that this place existed right in the middle of the busy Robson St and there is nary a mention on the internet just adds to the mystery.

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I would not have found this place myself. Shirley wrote to us detailing this place. She was telling us how she accidentally chanced on the restaurant and how excited she was having found this place. Yeah, she can’t tell us the name of the restaurant but she gave us directions.

That place is called Pork Belly Beer House. What a name huh?

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I’ll let the food do the talking for a while.

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What do you think?

It is all you can eat too. $16 per person.

That included rice, soup and bancan. We did not even bother with the rice and soup.

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If you ever poke your head into the restaurant, you will likely just head out. It is greasy and disorganized. The lightings brightens up the place unevenly. The walls are adorned with pictures of pretty Korean actresses and actors … and warnings that uneaten food will incur a fine of $10.

The tables and chairs are a joke. There has to be four, maybe five different types of chairs. They probably bought it from an auction or Salvation Army … something like that. Almost all the tables that we could see are different too. They even have exactly the same IKEA table I have in my study room … just one IKEA table and that did not align quite right with the adjoining tables.

Yeah … most people will just head out seeing this place.

But the place is full. We are the only non-Korean there that night. Most of the customers are … Korean students.

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Their English is poor. Communicating with them was difficult. But our waiter was eager and was very helpful. He he he … too helpful that we felt he was beginning to encroach into our personal space. He was helping us cook, instructing us how to eat, telling us to slow down, touching our plate and chopsticks. For a while, I thought he was about to sit beside us to serve us. But we know he meant well. He was just helpful when we told him we have never eaten this type of food before.

Apparently they had been operating in this place for 4 years already. The waiter said that this is the only Korean BBQ on Robson. When I asked if there are other restaurants like this in Vancouver, he said “yes”. When I asked again if they are the only such restaurant in Vancouver, he also said “yes”. LOL!

We like our waiter. This interaction adds so much more fun to the dinner.

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The setup is simple. Gas stove with a Korean style BBQ plate on top.

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A pair of scissors to cut the pork belly into smaller sizes. After the first round, we totally ignore the scissors. We want to eat the pork belly as a whole strip.

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Please don’t tell my doctor that I enjoy this.

Canada, this is the way bacon must be cut … 3 mm thick!

Learn from the Koreans. While I think that the Chinese cuisine is richer in variety and history, the Koreans sure are passionate about food. They know how to make eating an event. My thoughts immediately turned to the memorable meals I had in Meok Ja Gol and Man Ri Sung.

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The plate above is two third of what remains of a serving. We had two plates. Lots of meat!

Pork belly sounds like a better word than bacon.

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As you would always find in a Korean restaurant … Banchans. No introduction needed here.

The left is the banchan. On the right are the garnishings that goes with the pork belly. I love the jalapeno and the raw garlic slices. It does give a lot of sharpness to whole deal.

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There is also salad to lessen the guilt of eaten all the pork belly. They are nice. Fresh greens too.

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Two dipping sauces for the pork belly. The one on the right is just salt, pepper and oil. As if there is not enough oil from the pork belly. LOL!

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We started off cutting the pork belly into smaller strips. Cooking one piece at a time …

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… and eating one small piece at a time. We could make it as crisp as we want. Suanne likes it done just right, like above. For me, I like it crisp … heavenly crisp … like the Chinese “jee yow jar”! …

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… like this. I know. I know. Artery clogging.

But this is so good. Anyway, my doctor said I have really low cholesterol level so this should be OK … in “moderation”.

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After a while, we dispensed with the scissors. We jokingly asked our waiter to take it away, we did not need it.

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It is very greasy, very oily eating this. The bacon fat splattered all over the table. I had to clean the lens on the camera when I got home. Tough getting the stains off the lens.

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Assembly is an art. It does not take long to master it.

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Our waiter is a funny guy. He told me that the right way to eat is to squish the assembly, hold it with two hands, close my eyes and stuff it into the mouth all at once.

He is right. It actually tastes better.

Or was he pulling my legs? He was laughing when I mimicked him. I am not sure if he was happy or what.

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In the middle of our meal, our waiter then said that we are having half the fun and is doing it wrong.

After all, this place is called Pork Belly BEER house. You must drink with the food otherwise it is all wrong.

Instead of beer, he said I must do the ultimate … Soju.

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I totally regretted ordering this. This is like jet fuel. 19% alcohol.

My face turned red in a matter of seconds. My head felt light just after one shot of it. Suanne took a sip and wished me good luck.

That was all I had … just two shots. More than enough for me!

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We had a great time. This is fun food but we do realize this is not something a lot of people will like because of all the fat.

But we like it … a lot. And we know that a lot of people will like this too.

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Please don’t tell anyone about this place. Let this be a chowtimes little secret, shall we?

Pork Belly Beer House on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. The secret is out now… I love Korean BBQ, and $16 is pretty good deal, thanks for spilling this ‘secret’ 🙂

  2. MMMM, having memories of BBQ a few weeks back. I wouldn’t mind going again but regular fatty foods are not a good thing. I should try other stuff on their menu to check out what else they have. Quite different huh!

  3. Holy crap, AYCE samgyeopsal! What a wild concept! Make it at home all the time, but dining out would certainly ease the cleanup of my grill. 🙂

  4. Just realized from your photo of the menu, they have yangnyeom chicken here too. Another great food while drinking. I need to visit. 🙂

  5. Mmmmmmm. Now this is the place to go for me, essentially AYCE bacon ! I’ll pencil it into my calendar for the day after my next triple bypass 😀

  6. hey Ben,

    I just wanted to let you know that there is another place in vancouver that sells pork belly lettuce wraps. Its on Denman next to true confections? or sweet obsession i forgot which one it is lol but yea on the outside, the restaurant displays a menu with all the typical food found in korean restaurants however when u walk in they actually have no menu.
    the only thing they serve is this pork belly stuff and a spicy tofu kimchi hotpot.
    this place isn’t all u can eat though and i think with every 2 orders of prok belly u get a free hotpot.
    anyways I personally like the place you went to instead because its cheaper and has better tasting sides but you should check it out if you feeling curious. Its much cleaner at the other place

  7. Hey! I’ve been here before with some Korean friends. I barely knew this place existed until she brought us there. It’s pretty good for it’s price.

  8. I’ve been to another place where they did the BBQing for you — much prefer it that way. What service!!

  9. Lol. Comparing the chairs to Beer Pork Belly restaurant and Zen, Zen wins the chair contest…

    I remember going to Beer Pork Belly restaurant and did exactly what Ben said. I glance around and left because of the awful vibe, the vibe that your not in a food safe restaurant…

    The restaurant concept is unique and appeal to a certain clientele but they should clean up there restaurant! Its not hard to add some paint here and there. Some fake flowers on the wall…

    I would probably eat at this restaurant in Korea but Downtown, Vancouver. High quality and the cliche standard of a restaurant in Vancouver is very important to people. (in my opinion)

  10. wow… interesting find! i love how some of these nondescript places (and sometimes scary looking) end up being great. love the waiter stories too… you don’t find waiters like that in many places!!

  11. thanks for the post Ben! always wondered what when on in here. never seen a non Korean in this place. funny post. what they didn’t have lemon soup to wash your hand in?

  12. i think the other place on denman is called the westender korean cafe. for non bacon Korean across the street from here is Ma Dang Goul. which is very reasonable Korean home cooking food.

  13. …wow, what are you doing to me, Ben…you know that if you post something with pork belly, I’m just going to have to eat there…

  14. Oooh! I passed this place a couple of years ago and really wanted to go but never found the time! Thanks for blogging it!

  15. I don’t think this restaurant is good.
    dirty table,greasy curtain,dishies,
    most of pork was fat part,we couldn’t eat at all.
    we can get pork “fat” at the super market for free.
    portable gas says”use out side only”
    owner is swearing in front of kids,
    too bad.

    1. What did you think pork belly was?

      1. Ryan<What did you think pork belly was?

        is that all you want to ask? you don't know any other real pork belly restaurant? sorry for you.
        if it's cheap,you don't care how dirty table they have,sticky plates,owner is swearing in front of kids.

        1. You are listing the exact reasons why I continue to go there.

          1. Hey DylanK: We all miss you so much. Seriously. When I was in a dinner with JS/TS and Grayelf, we talked about missing you. Life treating you well? You have to share your finds with us … you are after all the person who discovered 9 Dishes. I was telling everyone that the chowdown in 9 dishes they are organizing will NOT be the same without DylanK. You gotta take a break from life and get back with the guys … and do those epic 9 hour chowdowns with fmed, Keev and all. 🙂 Ben

        2. Hi Jacky: You actually sounded real emo and have something personal against this one restaurant in particular. I could be wrong but what is the deal really? There are worse restaurants like this for all I care. Anyway, I am interested to know about the “other real pork belly restaurant” you seems to say you know. Can you tell me who they are? I have not come across anyone like this one. Ben

  16. Oooooh…pork belly!!! My favorite!!! Mmm…definitely putting this place on my list!!! LOL!

  17. of course this restaurant have to be Cheap!
    Dirty filthy and if they charge more than $16,
    we’ll call 911 right away.

    1. ….lol call 911 because they charge too much!!

      here comes the WHAAAAmbulance.

  18. Please forgive me about swearing. I deeply apologize about my misbehavior. The customers are kings and queens. I feel very sorry about the incident. Hopefully forgive me. I will do my very best to serve you. Thank you very much.

    1. Hmmm……I wonder if this is Rainy/Jacky…..
      Still very interested in the other samgyeopsal (pork belly) restaurants around.

      1. Hi Ryan: I don’t think “Owner” is Rainy/Jacky. From all indications “Owner” could very well be the actual owner of Pork Belly Beer House. The email address provided is legit and it is a Korean email address. Yeah … me too. I am interested in another pork belly restaurants myself. LOL! Ben

  19. never been there, might try it out

  20. FYI this place is infested with rats/mice. There was a small mouse IN the burner the owner brought to our table. When I lifted the burner the mouse jumped out and ran across the table on to a chair and away.

    We all looked to the owner in complete and utter shock and his only reply was “LOL Mickey Mouse!”. Surprisingly we did not ever go back after this…

    1. Unbelievable !! Maybe they should be expanding their menu to include “mouse belly” …….

      Reminds me of a time when I was eating alone at Daisy Garden (Kam Gok Yuen) in Chinatown. A largish rat slowly and quietly *walked* along the baseboard of the wall about 5 feet from me, as if he was a house pet just going from one part of the room to another. NONE of the staff who saw it batted an eye, while my jaw nearly dropped to the table top. I too have not been back to them since then.

    2. Ben said: “Our waiter is a funny guy. He told me that the right way to eat is to squish the assembly, hold it with two hands, close my eyes and stuff it into the mouth all at once.”

      Maybe that was the waiter’s way of keeping Ben from potentially seeing that the “meat” he was about to stuff into his mouth was not of a porcine origin !

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