April 17, 2014

I ❤ NY: My Favorite Korean Pork Belly Joint - Tong Sam Gyup Goo Ee

      I was hesitant to post about this place, because it's one of my hidden jewel eateries in New York. I absolutely love Tong. I love this place so much I dream about eating it almost every week and have to consciously tell myself that I can't have it that often since it's not the healthiest thing you can eat. However, I want the owner of Tong to get good business and stay in business because then I can forever eat there! So you're probably wondering what this establishment offers in terms of grub. Well it's very easy because they only specialize in one thing - Korean pork belly; otherwise known as glorified bacon slabs. Click through the jump to see my review & why you should definitely eat here!

      Tong is located right next to the Broadway LIRR station. It's a fairly small place and it doesn't look like anything special from the outside. It's a no bells and whistles interior, and the chairs aren't the comfiest but you don't come to Tong for that purpose. You're coming here for the food! There are approximately 10-12 grills in the entire restaurant, so it's not too large or too small of a place. The largest grills can sit 8 people, so keep that in mind if you are planning to come here with a big party.
      The employees working there are always welcoming, and they cheerfully lead you to your own personal grill. My boyfriend and I usually order two orders of the pork belly, along with the optional mixed rice at the end. They have other offerings such as octopus, chicken, and beef, but Tong is known for their pork belly and around 90% of the tables are always eating pork belly every time we go. The servers will cook the meat for you, and they also cut the meat for you into bite sized pieces. You don't have to worry about speculating when it's done since they will directly tell you if it's ready. As for sides, Tong gives you a couple side dishes that are supposed to be used towards lettuce wraps. It's nothing substantial however, and it's not very comparable to the side dishes that are traditionally given at other Korean establishments.

Clean grill

The original menu. The east wall has an updated menu with more offerings. The cold noodles are great in the summer!

Bean sprout & kimchi soup as a complimentary starter.

Pork belly fresh on the grill with bean sprouts, kimchi, and garlic.

All cut up and cooked.

      Although optional, the best part of the meal in my opinion is the mixed grilled rice you can get. Definitely save room for this! My boyfriend and I usually leave a little bit of everything on the grill so our mixed rice is particularly savory. As it sizzles on the grill, the rice gets crispy and slightly burnt which makes the flavors really come out. My mouth is watering just thinking about it - I love it that much!

Mixed spicy rice ($2 a serving) with lettuce mixed in with our leftovers.

      Tong is open 7 days a week from 12pm to 12am. They do not have an official website, so I've instead linked to their Yelp reviews. It's a place my boyfriend and I have frequented many times, one of the restaurants we've gone to the most actually! We're taking our friends (who are Tong virgins) in a few weeks to share the joy.

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