Over the last ten years, Korean cuisine has gained prominence in the United States. Though there is no exact reason for its sudden boom in popularity, many believe the Hallyu Wave (or Korean Wave) is responsible, specifically Korean dramas (K-dramas). In many of them, there are scenes of friends, family, and loved ones enjoying Korean food.
To be fair, certain Korean foods have hit it off in the U.S. simply because they are relative to foods Americans are familiar with. For example, kimbap reminds Americans of sushi (which makes sense since it is a variant of norimaki). However, there are other foods Americans have been curious to try out, especially Korean barbecue. Something about how K-dramas show the act of cooking one’s own meat and vegetables on a tabletop grill makes it alluring. More Korean barbecue restaurants are opening up stateside, especially in major metropolitan or tourist cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and Orlando.
Knowing how Americans take to Korean barbecue, one might wonder how Koreans would take American barbecue. True, both styles differ not just in barbecue style but in what is eaten, but it is often said true barbecue aficionados are connoisseurs of all kinds of barbecue. Koreans also take their barbecuing seriously, recognizing meat as high on the echelon of the flavor palette.
Do Koreans enjoy American barbecue, if given the chance to eat it?
The answer comes thanks to Digitalsoju TV. In a “cultural experiment” in which food crosses international borders, they had hot Korean girls try out American barbecue. The result was several women wondering why they have never eaten anything like it before.
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It should be noted that American barbecue in Korea is quite new. Only a handful of places in Korea offer a truly authentic American barbecue experience. Manimal House is one such barbecue restaurant and is considered to make the best American barbecue in Korea. They assisted in the “cultural experiment” by providing the three main staples of American barbecue for the hot Korean girls to try out: pulled pork, brisket, and ribs. As shown in the video above, the girls rated all three either average to excellent (five to ten out of ten). Not one American barbecue item received a failing grade.
The pulled pork and brisket scored average to above average, depending on the hot Korean girl who ate it. The true winner of the “cultural experiment” were the ribs. All the girls gave perfect scores when it came to the ribs and the dish received the highest praise. Ari, a popular YouTuber in Korea for her cooking channel Arikitchen, provided a statement that sums up just how good the ribs were.
“This is delicious. I envy Americans. I wish they’d sell more things like this in Korea.”
Koreans do eat ribs (known as kalbi or galbi), and it should be noted barbecue isn’t based on a specific cut of meat, the sauces used, or even the marinades. Barbecue is the method in which meat is cooked. Koreans grill their meat and Americans smoke their meat for hours. Different cooking methods result in different meaty flavors and textures.
Ultimately, Digitalsoju TV hopes the “cultural experiment” will make more Koreans aware of what American barbecue is really all about. The word is surely spreading like wildfire given within two weeks of the video’s upload, as almost 1.5 million people have viewed it.
[Image via Screen Capture of “Korean Girls Try American BBQ | 미국 바베큐 처음 먹어 본 한국 여자들의 반응” by Digitalsoju TV]