Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ggul dwe ji (aka honey pig)

ggul dwe ji (aka honey pig)
7220-c columbia pike, annandale, VA 22003
tel: 703) 256-5229
what was consumed: korean bbq (sahm gyup sahl, seng galbi) - YUM ... dwenjang jjigae, hehmool pahjeon, and of course, soju & korean beer~
i'm korean. i grew up eating korean food and my mom makes some of the best korean food out there. as a result, i don't go out to eat korean food all that much. but when i do, it's usually for korean bbq. but here's the thing. not only did i grow up on korean food, i also grew up in so.cal where korean food is sometimes better than food actually in korea. what's my point? my point is that i've been pretty spoiled when it comes to korean food and i have in turn become quite critical of restaurants. now, that isn't to say that i won't eat at mediocre, or even bad, korean restaurants. but i will say something about it and even make a stink about 'em. no matter - there is value in all of them whether it be good food, good times, nostalgia, etc.
so, as i was asking and looking around for good korean restaurants in the 3rd largest korean immigrant population in the US (yes, the dc/metro area is 3rd behind LA and NY), people kept refering me to ggul dwe ji.
ggul dwe ji offers "korean style" bbq, where you cook it yourself at your table. while some prefer to have their food totally cooked before it comes out, there's something about bbq-ing your food so that it's just the way you like it. you can make different combinations (between the gogi (meat) and the bahnchan (side dishes)), you can cook the gogi to your preferred temperature, you see all of the fat ooze out. DELICIOUS.
while there really aren't vegetarian options (as is the korean way. while meat is not a huge part of the korea
n diet, traditionally, there is often a bit of beef/pork/chicken/fish somewhere), there are other options for those who do not want bbq (why anyone would not want bbq, however, if unfathomable. that person is just being silly. pure silliness!). they have the bahnchan, other soups, and korean pancakes (marguerite's favorite).
i have never been to ggul dwe ji and have been immediately seated, even when reservations were made (though we waited for a shorter amount of time when reservations were made). ggul dwe ji is usually filled with loads of people all the time and if you're really lucky, you'll get seated next to a group of older ladies drinking and smoking, reminiscing of their childhood. no matter. once seated, we ordered pounds of gogi (usually pork) along with beer and soju - there really is nothing better than soju with k-bbq (for real) ... though i won't get into that now (invite me out and i'll give you my take - ha!). the servers bring out the pan to put on top of the coals and it is big and round. they start to pile on the gogi next to uncut pieces of kimchee and soy bean sprouts. the combination of the three is so delicious. just the thought of it is making my mouth water ... once the pork is cooked, we begin to voraciously devour the gogi. i prefer putting a piece of gogi in a piece of green/red leaf lettuce along with some hot red bean paste - ssam. first bite down, many more to go!
part of what i like about ggul dwe ji is that it reminds me of all the times i had bbq in seoul (which was pretty frequent), as was the korean american way. all of the times i would sit, eat, and drink with my friends, talking about our days, our classes, our students ... talking about korean americans and how we were different from the other KAs, about what life would be like when we (inevitably) return to the states, about our hopes and dreams, about gossip (of course) ... i miss it so much!
so anyway, of all of the places i've been for korean bbq in the DC/metro area, i recommend ggul dwe ji. that is, if it's not at my house cooking on my own ... is there something better? let me know!
online: www.kt411.com/bbq (korean website)


Anonymous said...

was there dduk bo ssam at honey pig? i noticed you mentioned it at another k bbq place (that you didn't like) but didn't seem like you ordered it there. it's a huge relief to find a KA that reviews these k bbq places b/c i live here in annandale, but since things are korean, i have no idea what is what :P

grace said...

hi xuanle! while they don't have dduk bo ssam at honey pig, they do have it at oegadjib (i wrote about it earlier). but you're right - i didn't like it as much as i enjoy dduk bo ssam in LA. but i'll be the first to admit that i'm spoiled with it comes to korean food! hee hee. i'd say try it out for yourself and be your own judge. if not anything else, you'll get some pretty good k-food! ^_^