Friday, July 24, 2009

The (Pig) Mayor of LA

Some of the best and worst dishes I've ever had were made with pork. The worst include the common dry, tasteless porkchop, frighteningly undercooked pork loin, and a mu-shu pork dish I once ordered for take-out with my sister where we found a used band-aid hiding out amongst the vegetables.
The best memories include classic BBQ ribs in Chicago, perfect bacon, and the plethora of Korean pork dishes. Just last night, I experienced another pork nirvana locally in Los Angeles. Right around the corner from our office is a brand new Korean bbq restaurant named "Don Dae Gam" owned by the younger brother of baseballer Chan Ho Park. Korean bbq joints are so common in this area that I didn't expect anything different, but boy, was I in for a new experience!
From the adorable logo of the pig's back to the sleek modern stainless steel tables, everything about this place was not typical. "Don Dae Gam" translates into something like "The Pig Mayor". The most unusual aspect of this bbq restaurant is that they use real charcoal for all of their in-table grills and what a huge difference charcoal makes. We ordered the "Special Pork Neck" meat which was completely new to me. The meat is tender, marbled but not fatty, and slightly chewy. Grilled atop charcoal and served with a sea of side dishes and spicy salads, this was pure heaven. Add to that a side dish of their delectable "pa-jun" or Korean green onion pancake, and it becomes a perfect meal. (By the way, their "pa-jun" is the best I've tasted in the US or in Korea.) The best part of the dinner? Their affordable prices. This place is definitely going on my regular list.
Don Dae Gam Pork BBQ
1145 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles 90006
***Check out our own fave pork recipe, BBQ pulled pork in 20 minutes, at

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