What a perfect day for a BBQ cookoff! And not just any BBQ cookoff but a KOREAN BBQ cookoff. And if you’ve never had Korean BBQ before, you are missing out on something special. Hosted by the Korean American Coalition, some of the top Korean BBQ restaurants in L.A. were featured in this year’s 2nd Annual Korean BBQ Cookoff held in Los Angeles: BCD Tofu House, Byul Gobchang, Choon Chun Dakgalbi, Kalbi Burger, Ham Ji Park, Hanson, O Dae San, Olympic Restaurant, Park’s BBQ, Seoul Sausage Company and Soowon Galbi.
In addition to delicious BBQ items, attendees cooled off in the Beer Garden sponsored by Hite Brewing Co., which not only served up ice cold Hite beer but also Jinro Soju in a number of delicious smooth cocktail offerings made with the equally smooth taste of soju. There were also sweet treats to enjoy after filling up on BBQ. Choco-Pie, an event sponsor, handed out free Choco Pies. Carnivale Kettle Corn, Scoops Westside and gourmet food trucks Sprinkles (cupcakes) and CoolHaus (ice cream sandwiches) rounded out the sweets selection.
All plates were $5 each and attendees purchased tickets beforehand in exchange for food items. There was no limit to the number of tickets purchased but you had to estimate wisely since unused tickets could not be sold back for a refund. We were lucky enough to be able to find a shaded round table where we could enjoy our lunch comfortably. Hubby, Son #2 and I tried a few BBQ items and wished we could have tried them all. We enjoyed BCD Tofu House’s Kalbi Ribs, Ham Ji Park’s generous BBQ Ribs with steamed rice; Seoul Sausage Company’s ground up kalbi rib meat sausage, dressed with kimchee and light mayo in a soft roll; and Kalbi Burger’s signature burger called, what else? The Kalbi Burger! Fresh ground short rib meat and ground chuck make up this flavorful burger with melted American cheese, romaine lettuce, Korean vinaigrette, red onions, tomato, and kalbi aioli sauce. In fact, we were first in line at Kalbi Burger shortly after they opened the event. Unfortunately, not all vendors were ready at noon when the event officially opened but within the hour, the place was smokin’ and grillin’ and there were lines of hungry customers waiting patiently in line for the coveted BBQ.
At the main stage, music was blaring, adding to the party-like atmosphere. At 2:00pm, the All You Can Eat contest was scheduled to begin and fellow foodie friend and blogger, Kat’s 9 Lives was the lone female competing and I was there to root her on. The AYCE item was kept a mystery until a few minutes before the competition began. Imagine our surprise when the mystery AYCE item was announced…CHOCO-PIE! Contestants had five minutes to try and down up to 36 Choco-Pies and the prize for accomplishing such a feat? An Apple iPad! After the Choco-Pie wrappers were counted, the winner was the only individual of the bunch who decided to “sit” through the competition (everyone else stood). Kat didn’t win but she gave it her best shot. I also had the pleasure of meeting a fellow food blogger, Oh Joy Eats and her hubby who recently relocated to Los Angeles from San Diego. Both were also from Philly and enjoyed a one year stint in San Diego before making L.A. their current home.
I wish I could have stayed for the entire day. It was my first BBQ Cookoff event and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to attending more K-BBQ cookoffs in the future!