Written by: Maylee Tan // @pixel.eats
Photos by: Maylee Tan
Coast down the streets of Koreatown, Los Angeles and you’ll bump into hundreds of kbbq joints, all offering their own spin on a traditional and ever-popular form of Korean cuisine. The selection is vast: hole-in-the-wall joints offering real competitive pricing and a homey ambiance lie only a few blocks away from grand, club-like KBBQ escapes that have you pummeling through soju like it was your job!
Beyond the open grills and smoke lies an unsuspecting champion, nestled in a corner of a modest shopping lot in Koreatown. With 4.5 stars and 1,420 reviews on Yelp, Eight Korean BBQ is easily the most adventurous and incredible Korean BBQ dining experience that LA has to offer.
Read on to find out how Eight Korean BBQ took the crown!
The Taste Test
Perfect Pork Belly in Eight Flavors
You read right – pork belly marinated in eight rich and unique flavors: wine, original, black sesame, garlic, herb, curry, miso, and red pepper. Lined up from light flavor depth to deep, our host Daniel cooked each of the pork belly flavors in a steaming slate before us, trimming the bits into bite-sized pieces. Each slab was grilled to perfection while our host routinely cleaned off the grill to ensure that the exotic marination in each of the flavors peaked through just right. We gobbled our way through the sampler, each flavor being an incredible and new experience. Each piece of meat was teeming with tender juiciness; I almost had to slurp! I quickly found that my die-hard favorites were the garlic and miso flavors.
In between bites, we devoured heaps of freshly grilled kimchi and kimchi bean sprouts that were charred to perfection.
The best part was that this was just the beginning.
Spicy Seafood Soup
Oh, boy. They did not skimp out on this soup, not in the slightest. I was convinced that every delectable sea creature worth having a seat at your table was in this soup alone. This spicy seafood medley bubbled with crab, squid, mussels, clams, and felt like an exciting swim under the sea!
The warmth from the soup gently caressed our full and happy bellies, priming us for what was next in our grand KBBQ dining experience.
Creamy Cheese Kimchi Fried Rice
This dish couldn’t have sounded more perfect – I let out an audible squeal when I found out that we were going to be enjoying this later on in our meal.
Our host prepared the delicious concoction right before our eyes. The fresh, steaming kimchi rice was topped with a generous heap of mozzarella cheese (eep!) and expertly blended into the rice in circular motions, like a creamy tide rising and falling. Just as we were all hypnotized, then came the cheese pull. Our host pulled up a heap of the creamy rice to reveal a drool-worthy web of stringy cheese. We snapped out of it just in time to take a photo to preserve it in our hearts and minds before we devoured every single, cheese-coated grain.
I mean, damn. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?
Daniel’s Favorite – Mugifuji Fresh Pork Belly
Just as we were nursing our food bellies with a smile, our incredibly experienced host Daniel couldn’t let us leave without preparing for us his personal favorite dish: the Mugifuji Pork Belly.
These slabs of pork belly were incredibly thick and rich, and I admired its beautiful marbling as it sizzled before us. When I took a bite, I knew that this was the real deal. This is how fresh, high quality pork should taste and I knew I would never be able to look back.
Final Thoughts and The Future
Easily the most grand and unique Korean BBQ dining experience in all of Koreatown, we have high hopes for this KBBQ legend. Their 8 pork belly flavors and exquisite dine-in feel are fit for any kbbq snob and will have you second-guess your go-to joint.
We spoke with our host Daniel and he shared with us what he loved most about Eight Korean BBQ. His favorite thing (apart from the Mugifuji Pork Belly) was being able to get a feel for a wide variety of nationalities, as the exotic kbbq restaurant draws customers from all ethnic backgrounds. He takes pride in being able to offer everyone a unique and equally exotic dining experience that sets the bar high for KBBQ.
After such a luxurious experience, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to average KBBQ again! I’ll be back for more, Eight Korean BBQ!
863 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005