Korean Pork belly also known as "sam gyeop sal" is a popular dish that is cooked on a grill. It's commonly eaten for dinner and people usually eat it with some soju on the side.
The word "sam gyep sal" translates into 3 layered flesh. I always call it the Korean bacon and since it produces a lot of oil from the fat, it's always eaten with variety of vegetables such as lettuce, pepper, radish, green onion salad and etc.
In Vancouver there are many places where you can eat sam gyeop sal, but the most inexpensive way to eat sam gyeop sal is at home. It's not complicated at all and you can purchase sam gyeop sal in Korean stores such as H-mart! You can also purchase the side dishes at H-mart as well. My friends and I often go to a place on Denman called "Westender Korea Restaurant" when we crave for sam gyeop sal.
You are expected to cook your own meat which is normal for Korean BBQ places. I think a lot of people avoid going to Korean BBQ places because of this but... THAT'S WHAT KOREANS DO! It's definitely not a big deal and we usually have a designated person that cooks meat. One thing I dislike about Korean BBQ places is how the smell lingers in your hair and clothing. So if you are going to a Korean BBQ place, don't wear any clothing you fancy!! (i.e. expensive peacoat?)
I liked to take one piece of meat and smear it on the grill so there will be some oil on grill when I put other pieces of meat. (It might be just me that does this)
Pork belly with vegetables
"Ban-chan" side dishes including kimchi, pickled radish, pickled bean sprouts and salad. The brownish red chunk
on the right is a paste you eat with your meat with. The yellowish dipping sauce is made of salt and sesame oil. I personally prefer the spicy bean paste better. I am quite picky when it comes to Kimchi. I personally like old, preserved sour/ sweet kimchi. This one was just.. SALTY.
On the Grill!
I like to grill the garlic and mushrooms as well. Kimchi tastes good grilled but since the kimchi at this restaurant wasn't so good, we opted out.
Green onions, lettuce in vinaigrette
I eat put this in my lettuce wrap with some other banchan
Korean style spicy miso soup.
These are usually complimentary. In Korea there are large chunks of vegetables and tofu in these soups but.. what can I say? We are in Vancouver... We also had to order the rice separately and banchan was refillable.
Cut the lettuce into half and put pork belly and banchan inside. Absolutely delicious and I felt less guilty about eating pork belly because of the vegetables.
If you are going to a Korean pork belly place, wear something comfortable and nothing fancy. Be ready to eat a lot as well! My friends and I ended up paying around $22 each. In Korea, you can eat sam gyeop sal for a lot cheaper but.. everything is expensive in Vancouver.. right?