Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Ultimate Pig Out

Korean sam gyup sal, aka outrageous pork belly
Move over, suckling pig feasts. Here comes sam gyup sal. What?, you say. Pay attention: this popular Korean classic literally translates to sam (three), gyup (layered) sal (flesh) - or to us Americans: pork belly. Thick slabs are grilled table side, served wrapped in lettuce parcels and accompanied by a grilled trio of kimchi, sliced garlic and bean sprouts. Add to that pickled jalapenos, radishes, bean paste sauce and crown with one single peppercorn. Then just wait for the flavor explosion to burst in your mouth. It's incredible.

Porky welcome at Tong Sam Gyup Goo Ee
 For the real deal, take the LIRR to Tong Sam Gyup Goo Ee Korean restaurant in Flushing. Just look for the three little piggies in the window, across the street from the Broadway train station. Nothing but pork is on the menu. I quiver in anticipation.

Serious patience is required over the next 15 minutes, as you watch your server carefully grill your meal. The pork, placed at the top of a dome shaped grill, pops and sizzles, releasing that comforting aroma and succulent juices, which drip down to flavor the kimchi and sprouts. Bacon fat just makes everything taste better. While you build your appetite waiting, you do get a flavorful vegetable broth, cleansing your palate for the feast ahead.

Don't forget the peppercorn
Our server spoke little English but happily demonstrated how to prepare our lettuce  wrapped meaty parcels. Grab some extra napkins and get busy.

Just as you begin to slow down is when Act II perks you up again. Ask for "rice" near the end of your meal, and, for a few extra dollars, your server will smear any remaining morsels of crisp pork and veggies with a thick layer of seasoned rice and nori. Left to grill and absorb the pork drippings, the resulting bibimbap is yet another

Bibimbap in bacon drippings
sheer delicacy. Filling without making you want to explode, the meal is a relative bargain at around $30/head. Time to round up your pork loving posse. 

162-23 Depot Rd, Flushing, Queens
LIRR Port Washington Line to Broadway station
Mon-Sun, noon - 12 am
Reservations accepted
718 359 4583

Tong Sam Gyup Goo Ee on Urbanspoon


  1. You described this way better than we did! Well said, and the pictures are fantastic!

  2. Adam, we have you and Margaret to thank for the hot tip! Such a great meal!

  3. This looks absolutely amazing! And your description makes my mouth water. Good for you for taking the trip.

  4. This is seriously award-winning photography...and professional food porn.