Tucked away in the top end of the Melbourne CBD is a secret well-guarded by the Asian community versed in the art of K-BBQ.
There is definitely a specific set of techniques involved when consuming Korean Barbeque, as was evident when meeting fellow ATOTB’s blogger Tiff at ChangGo for our death by pork. With both of us arriving in our oversized sack dresses and having starved ourselves for most of the day, we knew things were about to get serious.
ChangGo doesn’t take bookings after 6pm and I was advised to arrive early to secure our spot on the waiting list. We were relieved (and ridiculously hungry) when we were finally shown to our table an hour and fifteen minutes after arriving. Little did we know that we were about to coud go from being so hungry to so full in a very short amount of time.
The ‘death by pork’ that I speak of involves of eight serves of pork belly in eight different flavours – wine, herb, ginseng, garlic, curry, hot, miso, and plain – and is placed on a table on a metre long plank. The pork is part of a set menu (Palsaik set, $52) that also includes the traditional accompaniments to K-BBQ (kimchi, pickled daikon, bean shoots, rice cake, spring onions, lettuce, steamed rice), as well as a Seafood and Tofu spicy stew (also interchangeable for a pork kimchi stew) – all intended to serve 2-3 people. Being rather petite little (competitive) Asian girls with a love for pork belly and all things K-BBQ, we gladly accepted the challenge.
And boy, were we defeated. That bad boy definitely took it’s toll on us, and I could not even look at pork for the next week.
If ever there was a healthier way of eating pork belly, ChangGo seems to have found the answer with their angled grill plate allowing the excess fat to drip away.
The seafood and tofu stew was a generous serve (it could easily feed four people as an entree), full of seafood and intensely flavoured, unlike the generic hot pepper paste flavour that most cheap Korean places offer in their stews.
All of the flavours of the pork belly were well marinated and intensely flavoured, with the curry flavour being the only disappointment. Koreans aren’t really known for their curry, and as curry fiends, Tiff and I were already quite wary - we would have expected and preferred a kimchi flavour!
The waitresses were very attentive, ensuring that even the most rookie of KBBQ-ers were well looked after. Though there was a long line of diners waiting for our table, we were not made to feel rushed, and enjoyed our eight courses in as comfortable a time as possible when consuming eight serves of pork belly.
Our commitment to the cause meant that we left ridiculously full bellies, an absolutely demolished table, and delirious enough minds to suggest the option of sharing an Asian icey dessert afterward. Word of warning: everything you say while in a pork belly food coma is stupid, and you should definitely not eat more until at least 24 hours later.