Saturday, June 10, 2006

bring on the meat!

Awhile back, Mr. Cupcake and I went for Korean BBQ with some friends. It was late, and they were staying in Santa Clara at the time. Mr. Cupcake was itching for some BBQ, so we opted to go to Han Sung. Han Sung was recommended to me by a local Korean acquaintance of mine. He likes it because they bring the wooden briquets out to the table.

It was a little tough to find because their sign doesn't actually say Han Sung in English; only in Korean. Fortunately, SK reads/speaks Korean, so she was able to spot it. Like everything else in Santa Clara, it's located in a strip mall, so if you go, you'll have to rely on street numbers.

When we arrived, it didn't appear to be very busy from the outside. This made Mr. Cupcake a little nervous. When we go to places that appear a little shady, we take note of the number of people inside. If it's full, then that usually means it's safe. Fortunately, when we walked in, we saw there was another room that was bustling with customers.

We looked over the menu and opted to order double portions of beef and pork to cook over the grill. We also ordered a bowl of cold soup and a bowl of Mandu (dumpling) soup. SK ordered for us because our server's English was a bit weak.

First came out all the sides. There was the normal stuff like various types of kimchi to the more exotic like the greens with what looked like BBQ sauce. Mr. Cupcake was fixated on the BBQ greens and wanted me to eat it, but I passed. I could already tell that we ordered too much food.

Next came out the marinated meats. I think we had spicy pork which is the redder meat in the picture.

CI was excited to grill the meat, but had to take a back seat because SK took charge. Here you can see her professional chopstick work.

While the meat was cooking, my mandu soup came out. The bowl was huge, and I knew there was no way I could finish. I didn't really care for the soup very much. The dumplings fell apart in the soup and it just didn't have that much flavor. I've definitely had better elsewhere.

Eventually, the grill became very hot, and SK's arm started to BBQ as well. Mr. Cupcake joined in and helped out on our side of the table.

Finally, we had some meat! I took a bite of each. I thought the pork was better than the beef, but I prefer spicier foods. I didn't have much trouble eating either though. SK and CI on the other hand weren't very impressed with the meat. They thought it could have been marinated longer and should have had more flavor. Mr. Cupcake's inner Korean determined he could make this at home. He didn't think it had enough flavor either. It turns out I was the lone soul who liked it.

Our total cost was $50 per couple including the tip. We had a ton of leftover food and I should have definitely gone without the soup. I guess I'll know for next time, well if there is a next time. I want to visit Si-Gol-Jip that is suppose to have more homestyle Korean food. Anyway, if you're itching for Korean BBQ, this place is pretty good. I hear lunch is a good deal at $10/person. I like that they bring out the briquets, though SK almost had permanent grill markings when the server started playing with the grill top. She lost control of her tongs and the grill went flying towards SK. Luckily, it narrowly missed SK.

Oh, one of the downsides of this place is that you definitely stink afterwards. All the smoke absorbed into my hair and clothes. So, if you go, don't wear your Sunday best.

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