In my never-ending quest to visit as many of Atlanta's 50 Best Restaurants (according to Atlanta Magazine last summer), before a new list comes out, this week's adventure took me to the Honey Pig, in Duluth. First off, I didn't have nearly the issues that I had with the language at Myong Ga Won so I definitely started from a better place.
After conferring with the waiter, I ordered Honey Pig Samgyupsal (the house special and eponymous dish), with an assortment of sides. Had I been with someone, or likely demanded it, I could have had my meal cooked on an iron pan right here
at my table (Hibachi-style). Because I was alone (and it would look fairly pathetic), the waiter asked me if he could prepare my meal in the kitchen.
About 15 minutes later, two guys came out of the kitchen carrying plates and bowls and laid this all out before me:
Left to right, clockwise, starting with the obvious:
- White rice
- Bean paste, jalapenos and pepper paste *
- Green onions *
- Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) *
- What I swear they told me was cold kimchi soup
- Bean sprouts*
* Re-reading the menu, I learned that these are, collectively, "seasonal Korean side dishes".
- Radish wraps, marinated in wasabi. These deserved their own photo. These things were nasty. How can you make radishes take worse? Apparently, you marinate them in wasabi...
- Sesame oil, and
- Honey Pig Samgyupsal - basically thick slices of grilled pork belly meat (uncured bacon)
After a few minutes of staring at all of this and studying my silverware (two really skinny steel chopsticks and a giant spoon - I now realize that seeing this combo on the table should be some type of harbinger), one of the servers came over and asked if I'd ever eaten there before. I had no problem saying, "No", with a very straight face. So he points at the lettuce, the radish wraps and the pork belly and says:
"Eat it like a burrito!"
Revelation!! Sadly, my celebration was short-lived as with every bite, something fell out of the other end of my lettuce wrap. So I did the next best thing. I asked for another bowl of rice and more hot pepper paste, and ate two bowls of pork belly and rice, with hot pepper paste. It was good, but a REALLY expensive lunch. I don't know that I feel the need to go back, but it was a much better meal than my last attempt at Korean food.