Even though Sushi Kim has been my favorite Korean restaurant here in Pittsburgh for 10+ years, I’m always game for trying out new spots so when I kept hearing rave reviews for Golden Pig I was intrigued. When I had some spare time on my hands one Friday I decided to finally make a trip there even though it’s in Cecil Township (for reference, it’s about 18 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, right off the highway).
The thing about Golden Pig is that it’s small…probably one of the smallest dining spaces you’ll ever encounter. Knowing this already I had always planned on going for take-out. There are only three tiny tables along with a couple of counter seats, so unless you go at an incredibly off-peak time, be prepared for a wait. But just remember that if you have to wait, it’s oh so worth it. From what I could tell it seemed to be a one woman operation-cook, greeter, cashier-she was one and the same. You feel as if you’ve stepped into a Korean mom’s house for a home cooked meal.
As I tend to do when trying out a new restaurant, I ordered a ton of food but it was money well spent. And here is everything I took away with me:
Korean pancake with mixed vegetables ($7.95)
While this is hardly unique to Korean cuisine, it’s a dish I thoroughly enjoy nonetheless. It was also quite massive as you can see from the picture here. You had the choice of either mixed vegetables or kimchi, Korea’s national dish.
Man-du ($7.95 lunch/$10.95 dinner)
Man-du are probably one of my two favorite things about Korean food (my other is below). Because who doesn’t love beef and vegetables stuffed dumplings?
After the amazing kalbi (Korean-style beef short ribs) I had at a Korean hole in the wall on Oahu, I was hoping for something equally to die for, but sadly these were not as phenomenal. They were good, don’t get me wrong. They were just not great. If I had a do over, I would order something else, especially since they were one of the pricier items on the menu.
Bulgogi ($8.25 lunch/$11.25 dinner)
Bulgogi, my one true Korean food love. While I’ve sampled plenty of bulgogi versions over the years, I have to say that the one from Golden Pig was probably the best. The marinade was just tantalizingly delicious (everything from soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, wine, and sugar is found in it, if not other random ingredients too). I’d probably recommend this as the one item you can’t miss on a trip to Golden Pig.
While all of the entrees came with a scoop of white rice and pickled vegetables (Korean-style) of some sort, I also ordered a side of kimchi ($4.25). It just seemed like the perfectly Korean thing to do. It’s also quite nice having one’s own supply on hand.
Many people have images of grungy spaces and surly people when they hear the term “hole in the wall.” While I definitely would call Golden Pig just that, it’s only because 1) it serves incredible ethnic fare and 2) it’s housed in a ridiculously tiny space but one that was still 100% homey and welcoming and with delicious food to boot. If you have GPS and you’re up for a drive (and a plane ticket to South Korea is too much at the current time), I’d definitely recommend making the trip out to Cecil Township and enjoy some of the best Korean food ever.
(Since I wrote this review, I’ve actually been back to the Golden Pig and while I ordered some repeats, I also tried two new dishes-jop-cha which is a stir-fried dish consisting of sweet potato noodles and various vegetables and buldak, a spicy marinated chicken dish.)
3201 Millers Run Rd | Cecil, PA | 15321