When Broadsheet approached Jaehoon Rieu about a Korean barbeque story and asked how he would prefer to tackle the cooking – over a grill like you would at a restaurant, or on a hot plate in the park – he didn’t hesitate.
“It has to be about cooking barbeque in the park or outdoors with friends,” Rieu said. “Korean barbeque is more [about] having a great time [with] friends with good food.”
You’ve probably seen them – on lazy afternoons, Korean students gathered around barbeques in New Farm or South Bank or Roma Street Parkland. They’re frying off pork belly and snacking on kimchi, washing it all down with a few beers and a bottle of soju. Most of all, they’re having a whale of a time.
Rieu is one of those students, but he’s also a chef and an artist. In Korea, he had a contemporary art practice spanning visual art, performance and video work. Drawn to food for its multi-sensory experience, he has used it as a tool to teach children to engage on a deeper level with their artistic pursuits.
“I used to enjoy using ingredients to teach the local children,” Rieu says. “Usually with the artist people assume it’s all about the visual. But the food has a lot of different things as well – smell, taste, touch, everything.”
This approach landed Rieu a job working in Brisbane at GOMA Restaurant under then executive chef Josh Lopez. These days, Rieu is studying a diploma in hospitality management while working in catering at Howard Smith Wharves.
Rieu has created for Broadsheet a slightly simplified version of a ssam-style Korean barbeque (barbeque wrapped in leafy vegetables). Plate-fried pork belly and juicy mushrooms form the main protein, paired with spicy Korean chilli, fresh cucumber and bean sprouts. Sesame leaf wraps give the other elements a grainy, earthy flavour. The kimchi is a homemade pear and cucumber number – Rieu loves its sweet and spicy nature. Garlic leaves are a relatively scarce Korean favourite but, luckily enough, are available to buy at Korean supermarkets such as Metro Mart or Hanaro Mart.
When cooking the pork belly Rieu applies it to the hotplate on the cut side of the strip; it’s a more typical Korean style of cooking. After sealing, scissors are then used to cut it into chunks and it’s cooked in these ready-to-serve individual pieces. Koshikari rice is also important as a side. “[It gives an] aromatic flavour from the rice you can’t get from the normal medium grain,” Rieu says. “It’s a Japanese species that Koreans eat a lot.”
So, take a look at the list of supplies below and check the recipe for the pear and cucumber kimchi. Then call your mates, grab some soju (Rieu recommends Chum Churum) and a sixer or two of crisp Hite beer, and hit the park.
Korean Barbeque With Pork Belly and Pear and Cucumber Kimchi
Pork belly (purchased from any major supermarket)
Cucumber, sliced into sticks
Cos lettuce, washed and separated into leaves
White cabbage, sliced
Gochujang or ssamjang
Wild garlic leaves
Korean chilli powder
Kimchi (store bought and/or homemade pear kimchi)
Steamed Hikari rice (use 1 part rice, with 1.2 parts water)
Salt and pepper
For pear and cucumber kimchi
Serves 8 as a side
2 large pears, peeled, cored and diced to bite size
2 cucumbers, peeled, cored and diced to bite size
3 tbsp Korean chilli-pepper powder (or paprika powder as a less spicy option)
1 pear, grated
2 red onions, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp garlic, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 tbsp of fish sauce (or soy sauce as vegan option)
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish
To make kimchi
Mix all ingredients except diced pear and cucumber. Add diced pear and cucumber and mix well, and some Gochugaru. Finish with toasted sesame seeds on top and season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the barbeque:
To prepare mushrooms
Use a drizzle of sesame oil to stick baking paper to the hotplate. Turn the hotplate to a high heat and sit button mushrooms on the paper underside facing up. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Then remove or sit on low heat so they are served warm.
To prepare pork belly
Turn the barbeque to high heat. Cut pork belly into thick (2cm–3cm) slices, and apply directly to heat on its side. Fry the slices, allowing the surface to turn brown and sizzle, then use scissors to cut into bite-sized chunks. Cook these on the hotplate for about 10 minutes until cooked through and browned, turning constantly. Apply the enoki mushrooms to the same hotplate, using the pork fat to cook.
To prepare red onion
Mix soy sauce, a little rice vinegar and sugar syrup. Slice red onion into thin strips and drizzle sauce on top.
To prepare white cabbage
Slice white cabbage, and add a sauce of mayonnaise and tomato sauce.
Serve all dishes individually in separate bowls – mushrooms, pork belly, sesame leaves, cos lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, pickled radish, red onion, steamed rice, gochujang (a savoury, sweet and spicy fermented condiment made from chilli powder, glutinous rice and meju (fermented soybean) powder) and homemade kimchi.
Dip the sliced cucumber and carrot in gochujang as a canapé. For the remainder of the ingredients, use sesame leaves and cos to wrap your choice of ingredients.