Barrio Chino, my culinary mecca, and home to many disappointing Chinese restaurants (except Asia Oriental counter and Hong Kong Style), has now just gotten a lot more interesting: spicy kimchee, beautiful bulgogi, more than 25 small plates of hot and cold dishes, soup, oysters, bacon, shrimp, lettuce wraps, dumplings – I could go on and on. And eat and eat. And that’s what I did. It’s Korean BBQ and it’s ohhh sooo goood.
For many Buenos Aires foreigners, Koreatown is quite the eventful destination where fun is to be had by all. What’s better on a Friday night than to trek ALL the way to Bajo Flores, listen to taxi drivers tell you how dangerous it is, stuff face with delicious Korean BBQ, drink face with Soju, and hop over to Chess Karaoke Club across the street for a night of sober singing? While that is all good and fun once a season, most days fiaca hits, and it’s hard to get down and dirty in Barrio Coreano. But now those dreams about conveniently getting some spicy kimchi-grilled pork action close to home have come true. No need to fret anymore, the recently opened BBQ Town in Barrio Chino now offers the full Korean barbecue experience – cheap, tasty and right in my Belgrano backyard.
Upon sitting down, the mozo instantly brought the cold dishes, about 10, including kimchi, seaweed, boiled peanuts, parrilla salad, bean sprouts, octopus and more. Some of the dishes were great, others were good and the rest were not too my liking. One thing is for sure, there is no lack in variety.
You have a choice between spicy and non spicy, my rule of thumb, always choose spicy.
Ideal to go with a large group, the space is large with tables that are designed for up to 8 people, with a moveable divider for smaller parties. There are two grills at every table, similar to Bajo Flores spots, (unlike Biwon) this place gives you the real barbecue experience where you grill your own meat at the table.
Mmmm raw meat. Pork, beef and octopus.
Start grilling that shit. I wish the grill had been a little hotter, it took the meat a bit too long to cook, but when it did, mmmm kosher porky and beefy delights. Especially the pork. Marinated to porky perfection.
Already starting to slow down, I thought that was the entire meal, until a round of hot small plates came to the table. Green onion pancake, a Chef Boyardee type pasta, fried membrillo, dumplings, fried tofu, and noodles.
Fried tofu – great spicy sauce on top. Really delicious.
I could pop dumps in my mouth all day long.
How bout oysters? Sure, why not.
Yes, that is what it looks like. Large shrimp and Korean bacon. The bacon is meant to be grilled, topped with some sesame oil and garlic, and wrapped in fresh lettuce. Too bad I didn’t know about that until after I was finished when the owner explained how to eat it and that it was a traditional Korean dish. The lettuce did have some bichos and needed to be cleaned better, but I ain’t gunna let no bugs stand in my way of a pork belly lettuce wrap.
You may feel a little lost with the whole dining experience, but just ask for help and the servers should guide you. My advice would be to get the meat on the grill as soon as it’s hot enough, so it can cook while you are chomping away on the small plates. If there’s something you don’t like, don’t eat it. If there is something you like, ask for more — this is like an all-you-can-eat type of deal — fatties, keep them plates coming.
The space used to be a Chinese restaurant, until the owners (who come from Taiwanese and Korean descent), realized the appeal and great need to open up a Korean restaurant in the more accessible Barrio Chino neighborhood. Pure genius. Not only is the food good and the atmosphere very accommodating for larger groups, the prices are still very reasonable at
AR$70 per person. Oh BBQ Town, I’ll be visiting you on a regular basis.
1656 Juramento, Barrio Chino (Belgrano)
Monday – Friday: 12:00pm – 3:30pm, 7:30pm – 12:00am
Saturday – Sunday: 12:00pm – 12:00am
AR$70 AR$85 AR$120 per person (inflation’s a bitch), all you can eat, not including drinks.