Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Restaurant Review: Guiga Grill House/구이가 (Korea)

Sooooooo... if you're a vegetarian or offended by photos of meat, this might be a blogpost you want to skip, because this is all about being a roaring, chest-thumping meat-eater. Sure, there are pictures of some vegetables, but this is Korea and this is Korean barbecue and that is mostly made up of thick slabs of pork. And I ate it all.

I went to Guiga (구이가) Restaurant. The name "Guiga" literally translates to Grill House. Yes, there are probably millions of Korean BBQ restaurants dotting South Korea, but we all have our personal favorite chains, and this has knocked off my previous love "Bonga" to become my new favorite. 

So you enter, get seated, and choose your meats. We went with thick slabs of pork first, which are quickly laid on the charcoal grill. Basically, it's bacon. While we await those to get nice and crisp, we can introduce the secondary characters:
This grill plate has five compartments: the little one on top is filled with sesame oil to grill the raw garlic slices, the one on the far left is for mushroom slices, the third compartment is filled with kimchi stew, and the far right compartment contains corn tossed in a light mayo dressing. All of these lovely things get slowly cooked as the meat is being grilled simultaneously.

Marinated root vegetables (더덕) and giant mushrooms. 

Look at the size of these suckers! And kindly note the broken eggshells on the plate on the lower left-hand side. The contents of those eggs went into the aforementioned grill plate here:

See how they sizzle into perfectly sunny-side up eggs? 

Just throw some black salt granules on top and nom.

Raw onion slices to put into your wrap.

Giant egg concoction (계란찜) with diced carrots and scallions. It's translated as "egg custard" but that sounds so wrong. It's like a boiled egg with savory seasoning... but bigger and fluffier. 

So back to the stars of the show!
By this time, the pork is sliced and grilled to perfection by the staff, and the mushrooms and onion rings are thrown on to dance the grilling dance. 

While the mushrooms are essentially cooking in their own juicy mushroom water, you build your lettuce + meat wraps. This is my favorite part :)

*insert sounds of angels singing and trumpets tooting here*
I build mine with a pork slice, onion rings, scallions, a piece of grilled garlic, a piece of spicy green pepper, and a smudge of red pepper paste (고추장). Rice is optional, and of course you can throw whatever craziness you want into your wrap.

When the mushrooms are finished grilling, they are sliced and dipped in the black salt. They taste so moorish and earthy, the juices squeak out as you take a bite, and the texture is just like meat. Delicious!

After the thick slabs of pork are done grilling, you can go for seconds with a different type of meat- in this case, we chose marinated pork slices. Also scrumdiddlyumptious.

Then the grill pan is exchanged for a different one for the grilling of.......... pork rinds.

I didn't eat these but it was really interesting to see the fresh version of something I would see (and eat!) all the time in prepackaged bags in Atlanta. And no I wouldn't eat them now, fresh or prepackaged. Pork rinds in a bag are like eating aerated plastic.

And for a sweet ending, they give you a bowl of honeyed plum tea (매실차). I am so satiated and content at this point that I just want to pass out on the bench and take a nap. 'Twas most delicious. I need to go more often- and an added bonus: you can make everything low-carb! Just opt out of rice and down the lettuce and protein wraps like a pro.

구이가 (Guiga)
There are about 50 locations scattered throughout South Korea, including Busan and Seoul, but I went to one in Uijeongbu one, where they had impeccable service. 
+82 2 1544-9292 (main)
+82 31 824-9230 (Uijeongbu location)
189 Gyung-gido Uijeong-ro
Uijeongbu City, South Korea 672-47

For my Singaporeans, get excited! There is a Guiga 구이가 restaurant in Singapore on Tanjong Road

Korean BBQ = the bomb dot com. The end.

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