Pork Belly Beer House is a real hole-in-the-wall Korean BBQ restaurant, on Bidwell near Robson. So for those of you that have been asking me to write about more unknown places like this – make sure you read this post! It’s one of those places that reminds me of eating street food in Asia, or just going to a small restaurant in a village somewhere that a friend of a friend knows about, and they take you to it by going through a random maze to get there.
I first found out about this nondescript restaurant from another food blog: 604Foodtography. In fact, when I tried finding an exact address or signage, it was quite difficult to do, and my girlfriend and I had to do a bit of guessing once we walked down the street to figure out where exactly we needed to go. There was a yellow awning, and a small sandwich board on the sidewalk, which was our only clue in the end (along with a line of fans that were blowing the smoke remnants out the windows and into the streets).
The best thing about this place is that they mainly serve pork belly (not surprising), with a round of great sides and have a very simplistic menu. No one there appeared to be speaking English (a good thing in a place like this, in my opinion), and the crowd looked quite young overall.
And I love pork belly. In fact, I almost have had a strange addiction to it over the past 6 months or so, since I had my first taste of a pork belly and green bean red curry paste dish my mother made me (and that I’ve cooked almost weekly since).
So, the two of us decided on getting the Regular Style Pork Belly portion, that goes for $10 per person. The all you can eat version is only $16 per person, and also comes with rice and other side dishes, but of course you can eat to your heart’s content. I was glad we just went with the regular sized order in the end, which comes with one plate of pork belly, as both of us found that it was more than enough regardless (and any more probably would’ve made our arteries very unhappy).
We also got a side of White Soji, just to try something different. Our server kind of laughed a bit when we ordered it, so I was wondering if it was really awful or what to expect, but still went ahead with it. Turns out it did taste a bit like strong paint thinner, so we sipped a little bit of it and left most of it in the end. Even the bottle itself looked a bit like rubbing alcohol, but at least it was only $10.
There is also a countertop covered in 2 litre bottles of various types of pop, which comes with the meals, or you can ask for regular tap water. It seems that you get whatever is left or available at the time, and that night there was Sprite or C-Plus.
Beer is also available for a very low price of $3.75, but I’m not much of a beer person (turns out I’m not much of a Soji person either – or maybe cheap Soji at least. 😉
I guess it was pretty obvious that we were totally oblivious and new to Pork Belly Beer House, so our server was being really nice and trying to show us how we were supposed to eat everything. He turned on our BBQ, brought over out meat, and then started to help us cook it. He then brought the sides out bit by bit as well, and continued to cook the pork, along with the onion and mushrooms. It’s actually good he was there, as the two of us were chatting away so much and catching up, that we kept forgetting to look over to flip everything and not burn it! He was super helpful, and after awhile once we got the hang of it, he just let us be.
While that was sizzling away, we had some of the soup that was brought over, and starting picking at the various other items brought to the table, including large leafs of lettuce (apparently to wrap the meat in), a spicy salad, kimchi, and jalapenos, plus a side of really good miso sauce.
Once the first round of pork belly was cooked enough, we started to eat pieces of it with the miso sauce and jalapenos and rice. An alternate that I noticed other people around us, was using the lettuce leaf as a wrap, and adding in the sides as desired.
Overall, I really loved this great find. Of course, this isn’t a place to go if you’re expecting any atmosphere, and I didn’t check out the bathrooms at any point, so can’t vouch for how lovely they could possibly be. Also, don’t go in if you’re planning on going out anywhere afterward without a shower, as you will definitely smell like a kitchen! I will go back whenever I continue to have my pork belly cravings though and if I never need to add a little more meat on my bones!
Pork Belly Beer House
841 Bidwell Street
Vancouver, BC, V6G
Service: (very helpful, although we didn’t communicate using English much)
Price: $$$ (note that it only came to under $20 per person for our meal, including taxes and tip, with our drinks)