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.
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?
I’ll let the food do the talking for a while.
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.
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.
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.
The setup is simple. Gas stove with a Korean style BBQ plate on top.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is also salad to lessen the guilt of eaten all the pork belly. They are nice. Fresh greens too.
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!
We started off cutting the pork belly into smaller strips. Cooking one piece at a time …
… 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”! …
… 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”.
After a while, we dispensed with the scissors. We jokingly asked our waiter to take it away, we did not need it.
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.
Assembly is an art. It does not take long to master it.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Please don’t tell anyone about this place. Let this be a chowtimes little secret, shall we?