Han Sung BBQ (Santa Clara, CA)

10:00:00 AM

Han Sung? More like Handsome...


I think a name change should be in order ever since I learned that Infinite dined at this restaurant after their concert last November (which I attended by the way, and it was fantastic).

Side Note: If anybody wants to launch into a discussion about Infinite or just Kpop in general, I’ll gladly entertain you. Just send me an email or leave me a comment.

What...?

I have other interests outside of eating too!

Now Korean BBQ isn’t a new thing in the Bay Area nor is it unknown to my friends and I. We just… couldn’t really afford it back then (a good representation of your typical frugal college student). That and very few of us owned a car prior to graduating college. I went to UC Davis, so if I couldn’t get there on foot or on bike or on Unitrans--forget it! As a result,  we typically ate locally a.ka. “where we could go taking public transportation” or “whenever we can hitch a ride with a friend or parents who do have cars” whenever I came back to the Bay Area during the holidays or weekends.

Fast forward to November of last year… I have no problem admitting that the only reason Han Sung BBQ made it onto my foodie radar was because of Infinite. A friend of mine has a friend whose mom owns the restaurant so she passed on the information to us about what happened after the concert that night.

And on our last visit to Han Sung, about a month ago, we got confirmation from the ahjummas who work there that they did indeed eat there.

But lets push my kpop interests aside-- for now and get back to the food! After all, that’s the important bit.

Han Sung BBQ is located in this huge strip mall plaza on El Camino (a.k.a the closest thing we’ll have to K-Town in the Bay Area) next to bowling alley, Office Depot and a few other restaurants. They’re one of the bigger restaurants in the area and at full capacity, they can most likely fit close to 80+ people in there, thanks to a private dining room near the kitchen.

They serve your typical Korean dishes: bulgolgi, soon du bu, galbi, dukbokki, japchae and etc, in which the meat can be prepared and grilled for you in the kitchen, but their specialty lies in the actual BBQ. They have tables set aside specifically for grilling, with these huge fans set over the grilling table.

In a way, the fans do help with the smell, but you’ll still end up leaving smelling like BBQ meats. It’ll be in your hair and all over your clothes, so I do not recommend coming in your most expensive coats unless you’re prepared to pay for dry cleaning to get it out.

Unlike most Korean BBQ places around the Bay, they use charcoal over gas for grilling which gives the meat a smoky quality that you can’t replicate in gas flames. Yes, the charcoal is crazy hot and a bit intimidating when they bring it over to your table, so I’m not crazy about that, but sometimes you have to sacrifice your pores for the sake of greatness.


They go all out on the banchans and offer this “salad” with sesame oil mixture that I haven’t seen in other restaurants. I can’t seem to figure out if it’s suppose to be a palate cleanser between the meats and ssam (wraps) or wrapped together with the meat, but it’s not my cup of tea. One time, we thought it was salad and I didn’t believe my friend when he said it didn’t taste good. So silly me decides to take a great big bite of it. As a result, I gave myself a rude awakening because I got a mouthful of sesame oil and bitter, spicy greens. That’s one way of clearing your nasal passage...

To this day, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I have tried wrapping a bit of it with my meats and it tastes better. But it doesn’t really make sense since the amount they give you is enough to make a large salad.

Galbi
Han Sung offers an assortment of meats including offals like large intestines, but we usually stick to the less adventurous choices like bulgolgi, kalbi and spicy pork. They do offer samgyupsal, but they won’t grill it for you on the actual grill. This is a kitchen-only dish. You also have to order a minimum of 2 meat dishes for them to open the grill for you.

Spicy Pork
This is basically a hands-free, fuss-free operation because the ahjummas will grill your meats for you, but it’s pretty hard for you to eat as fast as she can grill. And for those who prefer grilling themselves, I’m not sure if they’ll give you that option, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Also take into consideration, how much rice you’re planning to order and order one less because the wraps are more veggie heavy than carbs heavy.

And when you run out of lettuce, simply ask for more.

At the end of the meal, they give you a sweet rice dessert called Sikhye. The sweet ginger taste vaguely reminds me of silken tofu dessert drizzled with the ginger syrup.

Overall, Han Sung is my go-to place now whenever I crave Korean BBQ. I don’t go here all too often due to the prices (expect to pay $20+ per person), but I haven’t had a bad experience so far. They’re always accommodating and if out of all the restaurants they could’ve chosen Infinite chose this one, there has to be a good reason.

Have you ever visited a restaurant just because a famous person opened it or because they’ve eaten there? Also has anybody have any random celebrity sightings in the Bay Area? I know I haven’t, but I was never all that lucky in that department.


Han Sung BBQ
2644 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051

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