Monday, January 7, 2013

8 Flavors of Pork Belly at Palsaik BBQ in Koreatown (Los Angeles, CA)

I was recently involved with a project to review a few Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, and one of my assignment was Palsaik Samgyupsal Korean BBQ. I was pretty excited since I had never been to this restaurant which boasts eight flavors of pork belly. The set menu with the 8 pork belly and stew ("Palsaik Set Menu") was $49.95. I asked around as to how many people the set would feed and got answers ranging from "two, but when you get to the rice you won't be able to taste anything" to four, so I settled at three, which seems to have been the perfect number.

Compared to other Korean BBQ places, Palsaik is decidedly more modern looking and cleaner (though the service wasn't any better)
The presentation was also quite impressive. A long wooden board held eight plates of the pork and underneath each one the flavor was printed: Wine, Original, Ginseng, Garlic, Herb, Curry, Miso Paste, and Red Pepper Paste.

On the wall they also display the "health benefits" of each flavor, which I thought was pretty funny ... I mean, we're eating eight slices of fatty pork belly here! I don't think the "benefits" of the red wine marinade would really cancel out the effects on your blood vessels.

They don't serve too many banchans here, but the pork belly slices are grilled with kimchi, bean sprouts, and vegetables. Eight slices originally didn't sound like that much, but they're pretty big and start to fill you up!
The price is pretty high for Korean BBQ but the quality of the pork belly is noticeably better than AYCE places. I still like the Original flavor the best, though, followed by garlic, curry, miso and red pepper paste. The wine was a little strange and the herb was predominantly rosemary.

The set menu comes with a pot of seafood stew, generously filled with squid, shellfish, and shrimp.

At the end of the meal, the remaining broth from the stew is used to make a kimchi fried rice. This is what gets you really full in the end. The fried rice here is pretty spicy, though, so I couldn't eat too much of it. Strong kimchi flavor! 
Though the pork belly quality was definitely better than most places, the price is a tad high. With 3 people, the $50 is comparable to an AYCE meal, but the popularity seems to be mostly pork belly hype. I'm glad I tried it, but not all 8 flavors were notable and I'm not sure how often I would go eat so much pork belly in one sitting.

863 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 365-1750
Palsaik on Urbanspoon


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