Golden Pig is a hole-in-the-wall Korean joint in Cecil, PA, that has pretty much everything you'd expect from such an establishment: super welcoming owners that will treat you like one of the family, delicious Korean food made from scratch, and an abundance of kitschy pig knick knacks located just about everywhere.
Golden Pig is a Ten-Seater Worth the Wait
There are very few seats in the restaurant, just six at two high-top tables and four at the bar-like area that's adjacent to the kitchen. We went with a group of friends and got right there when they opened for lunch on a Saturday and were able to snag the high- top tables.
We aren't that familiar with Korean food, but the owners' son was very helpful explaining the menu and what the popular dishes are. We decided the best approach was to order a bunch of different things and sample a bit of everything.
As we would later find out, this is the best wait to enjoy the cuisine at this particular restaurant.
A Feast Worth Driving For
We started with several appetizers including the Korean pancakes, man-du, and sauteed tofu and kimchi with pork. But first we were given a little plate with homemade kimchi and other spicy pickled vegetables like a Korean coleslaw, cucumbers, and radishes. Everything was tangy, crunchy, and delicious.
The appetizers soon came out and we were digging in to the man-du, pan-fried dumplings filled with veggies and meat. They were nice and crispy on the outside and served with more spicy Korean coleslaw. The sauteed tofu and kimchi with pork was equally great, with a sauce just spicy enough to warm your mouth without being overwhelming.
But our favorite appetizers were the Korean pancakes. You can order these with mixed veggies or kimchi, so naturally we ordered one of each. The mixed veggie pancake had crisp veggies and jalapenos, and it was perfect with some chili sauce on it.
But the kimchi pancake was amazing and spicy with the crunchy cabbage mixed in. Both pancakes were super light and flaky, and fried to a perfect crispness. Heaven!
For our entrees we again tried a bit of everything. The kalbi, or beef short rib, was cooked so well that it remained perfectly tender, and the marinade was salty with a hint of sweetness. The gim bop were like veggie sushi rolls- they were good but not nearly as memorable as the rest of the entrees.
Our favorite entrees were the daeji bulgogi and the jap chae. The daeji bulgogi was thinly sliced pork in a spicy gravy-like sauce that was rich with some nutty, sesame undertones.
But, like the beef short rib, the plate was mostly just the meat and rice, so ordering a few of the appetizers is well worth it to make a well-balanced meal (and a large one at that).
The jap chae was pretty unique and delicious with clear noodles made from sweet potato starch and stir fried veggies with a nice char and an overall sesame flavor.
As other customers filled up the remaining seats while we ate, they shouted out their orders to the owners in the adjacent kitchen. This is that kind of place, and it's perfect.
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Make the Drive to Golden Pig Soon
Although it's kind of a drive from downtown Pittsburgh, we highly recommend checking this place out.
And we also recommend coming with one or two friends so you can order lots of dishes and sample them all. Otherwise you may end up with just a plate a meat and miss the best part of the dining experience- the feast!
We waddled out of this place with happy tummies and uplifted spirits.
This is the kind of restaurant that makes you feel like everything will be ok as long as people keep taking care of each other by cooking each other tasty food. And as long as places like Golden Pig exist, all will be well.
Golden Pig is located at 3201 Millers Run Road in Cecil, PA. They open at 11am so plan to get in early or expect a wait!