Eight Korean BBQ
6681 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90621
Who doesn’t love Korean BBQ? Obviously vegetarians are excluded from this rhetorical question. I can’t say most people would say they would love Korean BBQ if it’s pork at the center of it all. At least I can’t say I would be excited, until I visited Eight. Honey Pig was my only real pork focused Korean BBQ experience. The location in LA is much better than the one in Irvine I’ve heard, but it was still never dazzling enough to warrant too many subsequent visits. Beef always reigned supreme in my eyes. In fact, it was this video of half naked chiseled Japanese men grilling beef that sparked a carnal desire in us to totally ditch tennis for a go at Eight on a random Wednesday night. Mama Cracks That Whip, Potty Pie, and Jungle Fever (who did not watch that video) left the 10 mile radius we call home, to venture up to Buena Park, to see what was so special about the pork belly BBQ at Eight.
Salad & Banchan
A delicious concoction of crab, squid, tofu, veggies that started off stark plain and unassuming.
Not sure what magical ingredients were at work here.
But the result was a soul satisfying spicy seafood soup to complement the heft of meat to come.
I was concerned the pork belly set wouldn’t be enough to fill us up so I added one order of the brisket. Note to self, don’t go to a pork place and order need. As you can see, there wasn’t much fat on the brisket so the result was something dry and quite the opposite of the pork belly.
Pork Belly wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso paste, red pepper paste
Eight is named for their 8 flavors of pork belly. Previous pork belly BBQ I’ve had has always been a bit lackluster. The pork belly, being what it is, needs to be thoroughly cooked and rendered. This usually results in something kinda tough and just not all that juicy or flavorful.
Th quality of pork here is far superior to any place I’ve tried. That might not be saying much since I’ve only tried Honey Pig. You might notice the pork belly is more meat than fat. Don’t let yourself believe for a second that the meat was dry. It was so far from that, really tender and juicy. While all the different flavors were all generally enjoyable in the name of novelty, they didn’t all hit the mark. Herb was the weirdest for me because it tasted the least Asian. Oddly, I didn’t feel the same about wine which I kind of liked. I think Potty Pie enjoyed curry but it wasn’t my favorite. Original, garlic, and miso paste were easily the crowd favorites.
Why don’t more traditional Korean BBQ places serve fried rice at the end of the meal? I feel this is a common course at pork belly BBQ establishments. It didn’t get that crispy but it was still pretty fricking tasty.
Eight BBQ was a delicious departure from the same old tired Korean BBQ that we’re all used to having. Even though it has been so long since I’ve had Honey Pig, I can’t say that it felt really original. For sure, Eight is doing something special. Uh, ginseng? Hard to describe what that tasted like. The added course of seafood soup and fried rice made the meal feel complete and totally satisfying. Sadly, we didn’t get any shirtless hotties cooking our meat. But I think the solid meal soothed the sting of disappointment we (Jungle Fever excluded) certainly felt. Come for the tasty pork belly and you just might leave as a lover of pork belly Korean BBQ. I actually ate here a while ago and writing this post reminds me that I’m due for another visit very soon.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here