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What I Ate: May 5, 2010 (Austin BBGo)

Posted 6 May, 2010 at 4:20pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Dinner: Tina and I met up with a few of the Fearless Critic Austin council members for a dinner at Austin BBGo next to the Han Yang Korean Market (6808 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX‎). This Korean restaurant is small and serves bibimbap buffet at lunch (and possibly dinner). We squeezed into a side room where they had a long table and started ordering various dishes to try out. We tried to order the Sea Squirt, but the waitress said it wasn't for us and only Korean people like it… all the more reason to try it! So, we said, that's exactly what we wanted. Later she came back and told us they were out of Sea Squirt, so we didn't get to try it. We did get to try everything else we ordered and it was all pretty good.

Seafood and Green Onion Pa Jun - crispy on the outside and just a little gooey on the inside. Very good.
Austin BBgo - seafood pa jun

Dwaejigogi-suyuk-gul-bossam (Napa cabbage wraps with boiled pork, oysters, and kimchi). Very tasty - but we ran out of the napa cabbage leaves twice. Eaten all together, the oyster and fatty pork tasted great with the spicy kimchi and crisp and refreshing napa cabbage. I also liked eating it with a sliver of garlic.
Austin BBgo - Dwaejigogi-suyuk-gul-bossam

Yangnyeom-chicken (Seasoned Fried Chicken). Their Korean style chicken looks to be made from boneless, skinless thigh meat. The breading was crunchy and the sauce was flavorful, but the chicken was a bit dry and a couple of my pieces are chewy while others had too much breading.
Austin BBgo - Yangnyeom-chicken

Two year kimchi. The special kimchi they brought us was preserved for two years and it tasted great.
Austin BBgo - Two year kimchi

Kalbi. They also brought out two small plates of kalbi (Korean BBQ/grilled short ribs) for us to taste. I think it's what they consider their best dish and since we didn't order it (even after the waitress suggested it twice), they sent out an order for us to taste. The beef was cooked so that it was almost burnt (just a hint of that bitterness) which gave it a pleasant crispiness on the thin edges, but I would prefer they find someway to achieve that without taking it to the point of near bitterness. It was heavily sauced (which is better than most Korean BBQ places which undersauce) but that lead to too much sweetness.
Austin BBgo - Kalbi

Topokki (Stir-Fried Rice Cake). This dish of cylindrical rice cakes stir-fried with fish cake and vegetables in a spicy sauce was very spicy. I'm not a fan of rice cake in this shape since it seems too chewy, but I didn't really have a problem with the couple pieces I had. Tina found it too chewy for her though. This is a fairly spicy dish, so make sure you can handle the burning if you order it.
Austin BBgo - Topokki

Kimchi-Albap (Kimchi Caviar Rice). This was our favorite dish. The rice was so well-flavored and had a multitude of textures from the roe to the soft flavorful rice to the crunchy rice touching the sizzling side of the hot stone bowl.
Austin BBgo - Kimchi-Albap

Samgyeopsal (Korean-style bacon). Pork belly slices grilled at the table and eaten with a spicy mixture of chilis, sesame oil, onions, garlic, and salt. They provided enough pork belly slices to cover the cooking surface completely and then again with the amount in this picture.
Austin BBgo - Samgyeopsal

(On the Fearless Critic scale from 0 to 10, I would probably give the food a 8.75 to 9.0.)

Breakfast: I got up early (for me) and took my car in to get serviced this morning. I picked up a Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Hash Brown patty from McDonald's as my early morning treat at 8:00am after fighting my way through traffic for an hour to get to the dealer.

Lunch: I lost track of time and didn't remember to eat anything until around 4pm. By that time, I didn't want too big of a meal to hurt my dinner appetite, so I heated up a piece of flank steak and ate it with rice. I over heated it and it cooked itself to well-done. It was still okay… for well-done.
Leftover flank steak and rice

3 comments to What I Ate: May 5, 2010 (Austin BBGo)

Optimista, May 6th, 2010 at 10:51 pm:

  • Wow, that Austin BBGo meal looks fantastic! I think it's so funny that proprietors of many Asian restaurants insist that you MUST eat one thing or another off their menu. I wonder if that's a cultural thing…"I know what's best for you." There were certainly huge elements of that in the culture I was raised in.

    Also, what the heck is Sea Squirt? That sounds…well, kind of scary.

Michael Chu, May 7th, 2010 at 2:41 pm:

  • Yeah, we've experienced that in many Chinese restaurants back in California. "Don't order that! It's for whitey!" You can't imagine how hard it is to get fried wontons and chop suey in a Chinese restaurant for us… actually, you probably can. :)

    We believe this is sea squirt:

Peter Tsai, January 4th, 2011 at 7:26 am:

  • Sea squirt is weird. It fastest sort of like eyeball in that it's a really thick sac of salty explosion when you bite into it. You can get it at cho sun BBQ near highland mall in a dish called agujjim.