As my long-suffering vegetarian bravely slurped his cold, milky black sesame noodles (the waiter told him he 'probably wouldn't like it', but he was forced to persevere because it was the only vegetarian thing on the menu), I piled up my gnawed-clean porky spinal columns on the plate provided expressly for that purpose.
Some bones just exist for you to slurp the sauce off. Some bones have jiggling globs of fat and tendon. And some bones have huge hunks of tender meat just sliding off the second you poke them with chopsticks.
My preference for fatty and tender meat was fulfilled here. Nothing was overcooked or gristly or tasteless. Marinating in its spicy bath, encircled by mystery fuzzy leaves and onions, it was the epitome (or at least one of many potential epitomes) of how pork should be presented.
As someone who has a low tolerance for gochujang (the omnipresent Korean red pepper paste: when I traveled in Korea, by day 4 I just wanted to slap the bottle out of the hands of anyone preparing my food, screaming "ENOUGH ALREADY!!") I thought it seamlessly integrated the flavors in this dish.
The banchan were also good, and pretty unique. There was excellent apple-augmented potato salad, wonderful spicy cucumbers, a savory chestnut cake, and a glistening and refreshing pile of seaweed where they kindly put the pepper sauce to one side instead of all over the top.
My bubbling pot of goodness, plus unlimited refills of banchan, cost about $9, and when I was finished, judging by the sky-high pile of bones on my plate, it looked like I had devoured an entire pig.
Gae Sung Restaurant
9567 Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92844