The tabletop grills feature two charcoal logs and gas flames. Surrounding the grill are shallow trenches filled with corn, shredded cheese, and an assortment of vegetables. One particularly large trough is reserved for scrambled egg, poured from a pitcher by the waiter.
Meat at Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong can be ordered à la carte, but most choose from the set-course dinners, which are served family style. Although the grills are tabletop, wait staff cooks pork or beef cuts to the customer’s preferred doneness. Regulars request konggomul, toasted soybean flour that forms a creamy, sweet coating on the meat when dipped.
Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong has a hip, urban vibe, and the alcohol flows freely, mostly in the form of bottles of soju and Hite beer. Mixing the two in a specially prescribed proportion yields the popular Soju bomb.
Another crowd favorite is called the “lunch box,” or dosirak. Rice, sprouted mung beans, seaweed, bean curd, kimchi and a fried egg come beautifully presented in a metal tin, which the waiter opens to display. He or she then proceeds to shake it vigorously until the dish resembles a fried rice-like dish.
Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong fills a mid-range niche for Korean barbecue that eschews the pricey exclusivity of high-end restaurants, but remains miles above all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue establishments where quantity is prized over quality. Here, diners can find a happy marriage of high quality and reasonable prices.