Honey Pig – A Korean BBQ
by Chloe Morris
I can’t believe I haven’t written about this place yet and to think I came in when they opened and have been a regular ever since. That’s almost a year ago. Honey Pig is one of my favorite Korean places. It’s a fun place and a great way to introduce friends to Korean barbecue. It caters to a more “hip and westernized” crowd so the ambiance and decor is great. I’ve been to almost all the Korean barbecue places in town and this place is the most Americanized. And one of the cleanest, too.
What I love about Korean barbecue places aside from the food is the ritual that comes with every meal. Here, you first get a small carafe of water. Next, comes the banchan which includes rice cake sheets, daikon (radish) sheets, soybean and chili paste, raw garlic, cold kimchee soup, scallion salad (which is very good), lettuce leaves, kimchee, and bean sprouts. The kimchee and bean sprouts are placed onto the cast iron domed grill to warm while waiting for the meat order to arrive.
The paper-thin slices of meat (or seafood or vegetables) order comes next. The server coats the grill with butter then places a few slices on the grill and leaves the rest on a small tray table next to you. It’s all up to you at this point. Cook your meat to your liking by turning them over. The grill is quite efficient so a minute or two or even less is all you need to cook each side. You can adjust the heat by turning the knob next to the grill. Keep your eye on the rest of the food to make sure they don’t get over cooked as once the grill gets going, it gets very hot.
The melt-in-your-mouth pork belly is heavenly. My Korean friends only eat pork when at barbecue places because it’s the best. Take a piece of meat and add soybean paste or chili paste and tuck it in a rice cake sheet or daikon sheet or lettuce leaf and you get this amazing bite. The prime rib is equally good and tender but since pork is the specialty of the house, go with that.
If you think you’re done at this stage, you’re not. The server comes back with mounds of rice that he places on the grill, adds cut-up nori and kimchee and proceeds to make kimchee rice. I personally think the best kimchee rice is from Tofu House 88 but the version here is more kimchee-flavored fried rice (as opposed to real kimchee rice). No matter, it is good.
The meal ends when the server gives you a soup to eat with your rice. Aah, I just love Korean food and Honey Pig has been one of my go-to places to take friends for a great experience.
As with any good Korean restaurants, Honey Pig can be a little pricey. Especially since one order of thinly-sliced meat is hardly enough for one person. We usually pay $87 (before tip) for lunch for two people. That seems to be the average for two people ordering 4 kinds of meat. Honestly, one order is simply not enough for one person because by the time you cook the paper-thin slices of meat, the slices shrink to half of the original size and you only get half a tiny bowl of meat at most. Besides, it is impossible to eat just one order because they are that good. This place is fantastic. But for a more traditional Korean barbecue (where slices of meat are 4 times thicker), I’d go to other places nearby.
Be sure to visit in December during their (first) anniversary month. They will have menu specials and other exciting things happening then.
3473 Old Norcross Road
Duluth, GA 30096
To read more lively reviews by Chloe Morris go to her blog at Chow Down Atlanta. Chloe grew up in Atlanta and knows the Buford Highway and Duluth area Asian places like the back of her hand.