The latest is having your own personal Korean barbeque experience. This has come about with second generation Korean Australians being proud of their cultural heritage. Martin Kang and his brother love the Korean BBQ experience of cooking and sharing a meal together with friends and family around a hot grill. So much so that they wanted to share this with everyone, particularly those who preferred the convenience of eating at home.
The origins of Korean BBQ Online began as a way to reach those people who don't have easy access to premium quality Korean meat cuts and products. Martin's aim is to "increase the awareness of Korean culture and contribute to the celebration of cultural diversity in our hometown of Sydney, Australia."
With his experiences of Korean BBQ restaurants being popular, he remarked "they can be very smoky, noisy and not necessarily a place where you can relax and just enjoy the meal especially if you have young children."
Martin believes the "method of eating encourages conversation, is fun, simple, as well as very tasty!"
Korean food may not be as well known as its counterparts due to the Korean diaspora only having settled in Sydney in the last 30 years so the awareness and influence is still growing. This differs to the United States such as Los Angeles, where the Korean diaspora has been established for much longer and Korean culture has had much greater influence over the local cultural narrative.
The goal of Korean bbq is "to bring Korean food into the conscious of everyday Australians".
Martin's main aims of the home bbq experience is to:
1. Enjoy the experience of the Korean BBQ way of cooking
Martin describes "the vision of charcoal flames dancing in front of you, with mouth-watering meat sizzling away on top, the smell of savoury sweetness filling your nostrils as the meat cooks, all the while you share stories with your friends and family, that helps to strengthen relationships and creates a strong sense of belonging."
2. Simplicity and ease of. Korean BBQ at home
It is a simple setup and easy to clean up as the cooking is being done as you eat. All that is required for a basic Korean BBQ is to wash some leafy greens and cook rice. The greens can double as a plate to reduce the amount of washing up after. You can also add chopped vegetables to dip into the ssamjang dipping sauce. Or add some pickled white radish, garlic and kimchi for a flavour explosion.
Eating can be a lot of fun due to the communal and interactive nature of the meal. Korean BBQ in particular where everyone can have a go at cooking if they want and experiment to produce the best tasting mouthful.
Everyone has a favourite cut of meat. Asking Martin the question, his favourite item on the Korean BBQ menu is "unmarinated galbi".
The meat that is on the menu is chosen specifically from young livestock to maximise the tenderness of the meat. In addition, the meat contains a delicious amount of marbling which further adds to the tenderness and flavour. As a result the natural flavour of the meat is when coupled with savoury sauces like our ssamjang (salty bean paste), Martin describes as "is literally like having a mouthful of heaven with each bite."
In Korean history, galbi was a meat cut that was designed for the Korean royalty to eat. It is considered to be one of the premium cuts for Korean BBQ.
With the options to select unmarinated or marinated meat from the menu. The marinades are made from traditional recipes that are perfectly balanced in savoury and sweet flavours. However they also contain local twists to utilise the availability of local produce. For example, one of their recipes uses kiwi fruit, which contains certain enzymes that further tenderise the meat and adds a subtle but fresh flavour to the meat.
All the recipes come from Martin's mother who has been cooking Korean food since she was a young girl. She previously ran a very popular Korean restaurant, Doori in Strathfield and has been honing her cooking skills all her life. Even now, she still shares recipe ideas with the head chefs of many of the current popular Korean restaurants in Sydney.
It is personal choice how you wish to cook your meat, typically cooking with a Korean hot plate over a gas stove is the easiest. However for taste, you can't beat the charcoal grill as it infuses great flavour into the meat. These can be bought online as well.
Having personally tasted a selection of marinated ribs and meats cooked over mountain oak charcoal, I have been impressed. Having planned a weekend of family lunches, we still managed to have meat leftover. The marinated meat was tender and tasty with notes of charcoal. My father, the harshest Korean food critic of them all, enjoyed the experience as it reminded him of back of the day when they camped out and ate galbi over charcoals.
On that note, plan your Korean BBQ today and stay tuned to the blog on Korean bbq website for awesome Korean recipes coming soon.