Ten Minutes: Korean BBQ

My experiences with Korean BBQ have been aggressive. Delicious, but aggressive. 

You’re seated less than a foot away from a sizzling grill and asked to order almost instantly – barely any time to learn the Hangul alphabet. An impossible number of side dishes will be awkwardly plated around you. Explanations? You’ll get none. You start drinking. 

The first wave of meat arrives unexpectedly. It’s an all-you-can-eat game and nobody is playing to lose. They’re fast and loose with the protein and you’re breezing past your doctor’s daily recommendation. How do you cook this? How hot is the grill? Nobody knows. Everyone is getting splashed with grease. You’re still drinking.

Packing away what’s left of the first mound of meat, you feel full. The server whisks away the empty dishes and asks for your next several selections. “Do you want a steamed egg?” What? Too late, you already got one. You turn back to your grill and it’s hastily being replaced – yanked out and dragged to the back like a cheat in a casino. Didn’t expect that. More meat has arrived and no end is in sight. There’s still beer left.

It continues like that until you’re impossibly full. The realization that you didn’t pay any attention to which tongs touched cooked meat and which ones touched raw meat sweeps over you. Too late now. Everyone looks fine. Except the waitresses. They’re sick of you and want you to leave.