By Joon Lee, Amy K. Haight & Matt Goldstein
Great Korean BBQ outside of Korea is difficult to find but the Honey Pig in Annandale Virginia is the most authentic Korean BBQ you can find on this side of the Pacific Ocean. The Honey Pig, or Gooldaegee, design the Korean BBQ style food to compliment the Soju, a Korean spirit much like vodka but sweeter with about half the alcohol. With a casual laid back atmosphere and the main grill in the front of the restaurant, the walls are pasted with Korean posters, a style straight out of Seoul.
Each table has its own grill with the waitress / cook laying the meat down right in front of you. The warmth of the personal table grill is comforting and the aroma from the sizzling meat extremely enticing. To start, our native Korean host ordered Charmisoul Jinro Soju with Cass Korean lager. The Cass lager is much like the classic American lager, Budweiser, simple, crisp, light and refreshing. This type of lager is perfect for mixing with Soju, as many Koreans drop 1 shot of Soju in each glass of beer. However for this meal, we drank the beer and soju straight.
For starters we had the egg soup, bean paste tofu soup, spinach and kim chi, all studs and all spiced appropriately to compliment the soju. For the main course Joon ordered the pork belly. With two different style cuts, the waitress first grilled up thin round cuts, which looked like a cross between bacon, prosciutto and cappicola. Very red in color, the thin slices of pork belly grilled to a beautiful grey. The thin slices are fatty on one half and meaty on the other. The flavor is a cross between bacon and roast pork. It’s absolutely outrageous. The second style cuts of meat were thick and long, basically like the biggest and thickest pieces of bacon we’d ever seen. This cut is a three layer style with one part skin, one part fat and one part pork. The meat on this cut is thick juicy and flavorful.
One of the great parts about having the grill on the table and serving your self is that you can let the meat cook as long as you want. So towards the end of the meal, the last few pieces were perfectly crispy. All in all, this is one of the best meals we ever had and a must try for any fan of Korean food, let alone Korean BBQ. Not to mention, the price is just right, almost every entrée on the menu is $12.99. This is one of the best meals you’ll ever have less expensive than almost any restaurant. Bottles of Soju are $10 and double bottles of Cass are $6. We would eat here again and again and again, just like Joon Lee has been doing since it opened.