Saturday, December 3, 2011

Golden Pig Authentic Korean Cuisine (Cecil)

Every now and then, I think about Korean food.  Nowadays, when I think Korean food, I think Golden Pig.  And then my stomach starts to growl.

I had heard great things about Golden Pig for a while now, but hadn't had the chance to make it out there to Cecil, about 4 miles outside of Bridgeville, until new dining buddy Burgh Gourmand and I talked about meeting up there sometime back in October.  Almost a month later, we finally made it, with Señorita Cibulka coming along as well.  I was beyond excited, not only to try a restaurant I had wanted to try for the longest time, but also because this would also be my first experience with Korean food in Pittsburgh.  I had so missed Korean cuisine!

I had heard that Golden Pig is a small operation before my visit, but holy bulgogi, this place is tiny.  Shortly after we arrived, the restaurant filled to absolute capacity, to the point where you couldn't get to the restroom without someone having to move to let you through.  And what was the capacity, you ask?  A mere 12 people.

Though small and casual, Golden Pig is a lovely, cozy restaurant, decorated with various pig paraphernalia - some golden, some not.  When I was young I had a bit of an obsession with pigs and even had a pig collection for a while, so this place appealed to my nostalgic side somewhat.  Golden Pig is also a one-woman operation - just owner Yong Kwon doing all the prepping, cooking, serving, cleaning, and cashiering.  The restaurant was named for Yong Kwon's grandson, who was born in the year of the Golden Pig, a once-every-600-years occurrence that is believed to bring good fortune.  Observing Yong cook in her small kitchen from our bar seating, I couldn't help but admire her energy, her dedication, and her pleasant and serene demeanor.  If I were in her position, I would probably be totally frazzled.  Not her.  It was clear that she loved what she was doing.  Yong Kwon may be a small woman with a small restaurant, but she has a big heart.  When you eat at Golden Pig, Yong is your Korean mom, cooking you the best meal from her heart and always making sure you have everything you need.  When you eat at Golden Pig, you feel like a welcomed guest at a Korean family dinner.

Perhaps most importantly, her food is phenomenal.

We were given several small bites to munch while we waited for our orders. Among them were:

Spicy Slaw at Golden Pig
Spicy slaw

Kimchi at Golden Pig

Cauliflower with Hot Sauce at Golden Pig
Cauliflower with hot sauce

For my appetizer, I went with the Korean Pancake which comes with a choice of kimchi, potatoes, or hot green peppers.  I chose kimchi.  Yong warned that the pancake would be huge; I told her I'd share with my companions.  And share we did.  We ate the whole thing, even though we had plenty of other food, this pancake was simply exquisite.

Korean Pancake with Kimchi at Golden Pig
Korean Pancake with Kimchi ($6.95)

Korean Pancake with Kimchi at Golden Pig
Korean Pancake with Kimchi
Eating with metal chopsticks is quite different!

SC and BG had each ordered an appetizer as well, which they so graciously shared with me.  Both the Fried Korean Sweet Potatoes and the Man-Du Soup were every bit as amazing as my Korean Pancake!

Fried Korean Sweet Potatoes at Golden Pig
Fried Korean Sweet Potatoes ($4.50)
Man-Du Soup at Golden Pig
Man-Du Soup ($6.50)

The entree was a tough choice, as everything on the menu sounded intriguing.  I eventually settled on the Man-Du, which are like the beef- and veggie-stuffed dumplings in the Man-Du Soup, only pan fried and served with rice.  Just like everything else, these were delicious.

Man-Du at Golden Pig
Man-Du ($10.95)

I don't have good photos of SC and BG's entrees, but they had ordered the Oh Jing Uh Bockeum (broiled and seasoned spicy squid - $12.95) and the Bulgogi (marinated beef - $11.25).  I tried bites of both and can attest to their awesomeness.  In fact, I might have to get a full order of bulgogi for myself next time!

Beverages at Golden Pig are self-served.  I selected a small can of the rice punch, a traditional sweet Korean drink with bits of rice inside that I've never had before.  It sounds like a weird concoction, but it is actually pretty good.

Rice Punch at Golden Pig
Korean Rice Punch

As I mentioned before, Golden Pig was my first Korean experience in Pittsburgh, and I'd have to say it's going to be hard to top this one.  I loved every single little thing about this place.  I am not a superstitious person, but the year of the Golden Pig did indeed bring with it good fortune - to Pittsburgh-area diners, that is.  I can't believe how incredibly lucky we are to have such an amazing, authentic Korean restaurant in our own backyard!

Also, check out this nice write-up in the Post-Gazette.

Restaurant info:
Golden Pig Authentic Korean Cuisine
3201 Millers Run Road, Cecil, PA 15321
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