Qing He Gu 青鶴谷 [Shanghai]

What is Qing He Gu?
Qing He Gu is a Korean BBQ restaurant chain. Located on outskirts of downtown Shanghai in the district of Min Hang, Qing He Gu caters toward area’s large Korean population. On the 2nd floor of a recently renovated office building, Qing He Gu occupies a large space with a large main dining room with another wing of private rooms. Inside, you first notice the long, extendable, silver-tentacled, smoke suction ventilators, which are the norms in ALL Korean BBQ restaurants. And then the instant the cooking beef aroma sways you. . .

What did I eat?
If you aren’t Korea, most likely, you’re going to order Beef and more Beef. Rib of Raw Beef (250g) at 128 RMB and Seasoned Beef Ribs (250g) also at 128 RMB were highlights of the meal for my friends. I was particularly interested in the other dishes that Qing He Gu had, like the Dolsot Bibimbap 38 RMB – vegetables, beef, and rice in a sizzling iron bowl (used to be one of my favorites), Kimchi Stew 38 RMB – kimchi stewed till thick spicy and sour stew, and the Sundubu Jjigae 38 RMB – spicy seafood tofu stew. We also at Pork Belly (170g) 48 RMB, which was not bad. But I am not a big pork belly, which isn’t anything against Qing He Gu, but more my preference. I just don’t like it when the fat is seared and has a tough texture.

Constructive Criticism
Qing He Gu is a good place for friends and family for solid Korean BBQ. But it is not the type of cuisine for a lunch or a weekend brunch – but that’s just me. I wish Qing He Gu had a larger selection of Banchan – I think the 3 or 4 little dishes were lacking and didn’t offer make varying tastes. Banchan are the little table appetizers.

The Last Word
This Shanghai Koreatown, requires you to know where to go, which places to visit, and a little Korean to get the best out of this unique enclave. Qing He Gu is also quite popular with celebrities here and abroad. one of the first things you notice are the various pictures of famous people.

Location Rating
青鶴谷 Qing He Gu
Minhang District, Hong Shen Lu, No. 3998, Di Bao Plaza, 2nd Floor, near Wu Zhong Lu and Hong Quan Lu
+86 21-34323068
2 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT

Robin’s Woodfire BBQ [Pasadena]

Robin’s Woodfire BBQ is an underrated BBQ restaurant. I can’t believe that I had never been to Robin’s after living nearby all these years. And I’m a big BBQ fan.
The Bodacious “Que” Stacker is the barbecue sandwich to end all barbecue sandwiches. With pulled pork, tri tip, and a hot link, all smothered with sauce and pepperjack cheese, you can’t possibly go wrong. The tri tip provides the meaty component, with the pulled pork the right texture. And then the hot link rounds out the sandwich with flavor. The cheese gives it another dimension, with its gooeyness. The sauce helps cake everything together, if a sauce can ever. This outstanding sandwich is making my mouth water, even though I am in Asia.
Almost an after thought, the mac and cheese was also quite good. The melted cheese strands was a different take with texture that I liked very much. Anyways . . . Great place, I only wish I went there sooner.
What to Order: Que Stacker
What not to Order:
2 Pigs
Robin’s Woodfire BBQ
395 North Rosemead Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107-3043
(626) 351-8885