Yes, I am back once again at Kogi Bulgogi and this time I dig deeper to the authentic Korean dishes that you’re all familiar with, but don’t know exactly what it’s called. If you haven’t read my initial take on Kogi Bulgogi, head over there because it’s pretty comprehensive and you’ll learn a lot from it.
What’s good about my second visit is that I already know what to order. California Roll and that heavenly, crunchy Soft Shell Crab Rolls are a default. A must default. But for this second take on Kogi Bulgogi, I wanted to know how they’d take Pork, so majority of my reviews below revolve around their pork dishes. Pork is very fatty, and if they know how to handle fat in pork, it’s going to be less of a heart attack and more of bringing juiciness to the pork meat.
Dolsot Bibimbap has ground pork in it, but I find the serving smaller, thus I couldn’t taste the pork. The serving size was considerably smaller too, than my previous order of Sae-u Bibimbap. I find it unexciting.
In my first Kogi Bulgogi experience, I ordered Samgyupsal Ssambap, which is grilled into perfection. Beef is next in line for me and since I don’t like my beef to be too sweet like Bulgogi, I ordered Kalbi Ssambap.
The word “Ssam”, when translated, means “wrapped”. Ssambap is country-style eating, and therefore the freshest lettuce leaves are a must. These can be served either fresh or blanched, where the leaves that are cooked at a boiling point are plunged in cold, running water to halt the cooking process. On the other hand, “Bap” means rice in Korean. (“Bibim”-“Bap”: Get it?)
Kogi Bulgogi’s Ssambap’s are served with the three kinds of sauce, 6 balls of rice and some fresh leafy lettuce. The Kalbi is a bit dry. But I like the flavor. It’s too bad that it was a bit hard to chew and wrap around the fresh lettuce. So I decided to eat it deconstructed.
On the more “sizzling” cast-iron grilling is the Dweji Kalbi, which is grilled pork. These also come with fresh lettuce.
Kogi Bulgogi’s Dweji Kalbi is a clear winner over the Kalbi Ssambap. The meat is chewy, juicy with just the right amount of fat in it and a tangy sweetness emanating from every bite. I like how these are served without rice. If you don’t like glucose, you should order a “Gui” from their selections. But since I am a bit of a lazy diner, I just happily shove it in my mouth one by one.
A side note on this: It tastes like Tocino but I know it’s not full of preservatives. (For non-English readers out there, Tocino is cured sweet pork.) But seriously, if you’re going to order Dweji Kalbi, order early because it takes time to grill this. Our order came in last since they wanted to make sure it’s grilled well-done.
I didn’t like the Haemul Pa Jeon I ordered previously, but it could have been a good combination to this steaming hot and spicy Sundubu Jigae.
Kogi Bulgogi’s Sundubu Jigae has to be, hands down, the second best stew in stone pot I ever had in this town. (The first being the Tofu Barbeque house experience in Orange County California. On a trivial note, according to the famed owners of the Kogi Korean BBQ food truck, Sundubu Jigae was said to be invented by Korean immigrants to Los Angeles, thus you can find many restaurants serving Sundubu Jigae on their menu.)
Sundubu Jigae has a thick broth filled with soft tofu, clams, ground pork, and squid. Every sip of this thick stew that’s boiled with Gochujang chili paste should fill your tummy well. If you’re on a tight budget, I highly recommend you to order this Jigae, one cup of rice, and eat their Kimchi Banchan and you’re all set.
My second round of Kogi Bulgogi is definitely making my stomach warm, though the service at the restaurant had a few misses in serving our order promptly. I’d say it was a full house that night I ate here again though but they were happy that customers are returning for their famed Korean dishes. I’d still return to this restaurant for my Korean fix, especially since I was scouring the city for the perfect Sundubu Jigae stew that I can only eat thousand miles away. And yes, I’ve found it here at Kogi Bulgogi.
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Kogi Bulgogi Rating:
|Taste and Originality:||( 3 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||( 3 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||( 3 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||( 3 / 5)|
|Average:||(3 / 5)|