Korean barbecue, if you’re up for a drive

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SUKSIM/CC-BY-SA-2.0 Korean barbecues offer a variety of dishes, making them great places for communal meals.

By ALISON BARTOWSKI
For The News-Letter

I’ve heard many students complain about the food in Baltimore not quite holding up to the standards from their hometowns. However, if you know where to look you can find some great restaurants. This weekend I finally decided to try Honey Pig, which is a Korean barbecue spot in Ellicott City that I’ve heard many positive things about. It’s open 24 hours every day, which is a plus especially because it is a 35 minute drive from Homewood campus. If you don’t have access to a car, I suggest using ZipCar to get there, like my friends and I did. It proved to be rather tricky when our GPS guided us through various winding back roads, but there are main highways you can take to get there.
Unlike the Korean restaurants located close to campus, this place is huge and has at least 30 tables with their own grills used for cooking various marinated meats. The walls are covered in Korean posters and advertisements for alcohol, and several large televisions play popular Korean music videos. In fact, its very reminiscent to Korean barbecue places I’ve eaten at in Los Angeles, except for the lack of an all you can eat option.
Upon entering at approximately 2 a.m., we were promptly seated and the service was fast and friendly. As soon as we sat down we were offered water and side dishes of potato, broccoli, salad and kimchi. We ordered brisket, spicy pork belly and beef short rib, which were all priced at about $15 a plate, along with a bowl of rice for each person.
For a Korean barbecue you order large plates of raw meat and cook it yourself on a charcoal grill at the center of the table. This type of communal meal is a great way to spend an evening with friends and it can be fun to flip the meat on the grill. One of the waiters actually helped cook the meat on a separate grill so that we could finish eating and get back faster. The meat was very flavorful, juicy and high quality. I especially enjoyed the spicy marinated pork belly since it is pretty much a thicker slab of bacon with an added spicy kick. I also enjoyed the cuts of beef. Brisket is great for the impatient since it cooks really quickly, but on the flip side it needs sauce since it has little fat and taste of its own. Short rib is usually marinated so it has a lot of flavor, but takes a lot longer on the grill. The waiter also brought soup and a steamed egg to our table free of charge. Steamed egg is my favorite side as it’s a nice fluffy contrast to all the meat.
On the ride back I had a total food comma so it was a good thing I was not the one driving. If you manage to come at a more reasonable hour than I did, there is a Korean desert and drink chain across the street. H-mart, a Korean grocery store, is also nearby. Overall the trip out was definitely worth it. I recommend Honey Pig if you’re looking for a fun way to try new food with friends.

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