Once every 60 years the world is greeted with the Year of the Golden Pig. The last one was in 2007, yet if you live in Pittsburgh, every day can be a Golden Pig day, assuming you are willing to drive out to Cecil. That’s where Golden Pig, a Korean restaurant that pretty much operates as a small Korean household, is situated. The only difference is that you don’t have to take your shoes off when you enter.
With only about 9 places to sit and only 1 wok to prepare meals in, Golden Pig is about as close as you can get to eating at a Korean friend’s place. Only, your friend probably can’t cook as well as Yong Kwon, the wizard behind Golden Pig’s nonexistent curtain. We decided to load up on a few different dishes because this was not a drive we wanted to make again too soon. The first was a Korean Pancake appetizer, which came with kimchi or peppers mixed into it. We went with kimchi, which seemed to be the lesser of two evils and also I couldn’t really help but invoke travel rules in a situation like this.
The pancake was pretty tasty, well, except when the pieces of pickled cabbage got too big. Then it was kind of like eating breaded cabbage, which isn’t fun for anyone. Nonetheless, it was a solid start to the meal and left me wanting more. And don’t worry, more came in the form of Man-Du, a special Korean dumpling that is sort of reminiscent of gyoza without being anything at all like gyoza. Nonetheless, it was still incredibly delicious and something I’ll have to try again a my next Korean restaurant.
We opted to split three main courses and began with Jop-Chae a stir-fry with sweet potato noodles, a bunch of no good vegetables and choice of meats. We chose beef for this one and it turned out pretty well. The noodles were similar to other glass noodles I’ve had before, but seasoned differently either through the fact that they were from sweet potatoes or just from the general seasoning. The beef was good, but definitely was not the focal point of the dish, which is always a disappointment to me, of course.
Typically I am all about the bulgogi beef, but on this night we decided to get Daiji Bulgogi instead. This is a spicier bulgogi and made with pork instead of beef. Yet, it still has very thinly slice meat and that spice that makes the meat distinctly bulgogi. What it is I couldn’t tell you, but it was definitely delicious. In fact, it actually wasn’t too spicy, just more so than your average bulgogi flavoring. The pork was nice and tender, going perfectly with its sauce.
Finally, we had ourselves some Kalbi, which is grilled short ribs. Short ribs aren’t exactly the finest cut of steak, but with the marinade that these were cooked in they might as well have been a fine filet. The sauce was sweet and savory, while the meat was cooked to a perfect medium-rare without a need to even ask for it that way. Kwon just knows how to do steak. The ribs were perfectly tender with a texture that just kept begging me to eat more.
So, in case you can’t tell, Golden Pig was definitely a good choice. I’m typically pretty partial to Korean BBQ places with all-you-can-eat meat, but if I’m going to allow someone else to cook for me and accept that I can’t just eat until the end of time, Golden Pig is the right place to do it in Pittsburgh.