Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jong Ga - all you can eat Korean BBQ

Jong Ga
316 St Pauls Tce, Fortitude Valley

I went to Koh-Ya a while back and really enjoyed the experience. It's a Japanese-style barbecue buffet - not just raw stuff but also plenty of salads, sushi, drinks and desserts. Somewhere online, I read that there was another restaurant in the valley called Jong Ga, which was meant to be a cheaper but less comprehensive and intricate version of Koh-Ya. I like the idea of 'cheaper' so last night, we went to see how good it is.

Jong Ga is on the second floor of a building, in a (in my opinion) slightly scary part of the valley. You pay upfront - for us, it was $26ish per person for the BBQ buffet. The dining space is LARGE and when we first went in, it was freakishly empty. After 20min or so, the place was 3/4 full... which just goes to prove that I eat too early in the evening XD.

You can start plating up straight away. There are a few buffet tables - 2 with raw food for the BBQ and 2 with cooked food you can eat as is. The selection included: Korean potato noodles, sushi, salad, veggie and tofu fritters plus other misc items that I can't really name.

Veggie salad with thousand island

My favorites out of the ready-to-eat selection included the fried chicken and later on, the oranges. I'll get to that later. I didn't like the sushi (bit dry) but the chicken was really crisp and awesome.

BBQ meat

While we were munching away, a staff member came and set up our BBQ plate. We quickly went to get some raw food for the hot plate. There's a range of beef, chicken and pork, including marinated pieces, tongue, brisket, belly meat etc. If I remember correctly, there was a small amount of seafood too - octopus, perhaps? We didn't pick any of that though.

Our hotplate in action

The hotplate is un-oiled but we asked and it's supposed to be like that. Periodically, someone comes and changes your hotplate so you get a fresh, unburnt one. It was a bit annoying at first but we got used to it.

I liked the pork belly meat dipped in sauce and wrapped in lettuce leaf. On the subject of sauce, there's a decent supply and several to choose from. The ox tongue and beef brisket was also nice. Most of the meat is oily... you can see the fat melt and drip into the grill. BBQ is definitely something I'll have in moderation.

Honey tea

There is chilled water or honey tea (oddly placed in the same refrigerated booth as the raw meat) to quench your thirst. If you need meal fillers, there is rice available too.


I got full on meat really quickly and spent the rest of my time eating oranges. The oranges were good - not Godly good but because I haven't had oranges in a long time, I literally had about 3-4 whole oranges.

In comparison to Koh-Ya, Jong Ga has a smaller selection. The buffet style is different; here, you help yourself but at Koh-Ya, you let the staff know what you want. There is a monetary penalty at Jong Ga for leaving left over food, so you're encouraged to only take what you're prepared to eat. Fair enough.

The meal was considerably cheap but I would have benefited more if I had a bigger appetite.

Jong Ga on Urbanspoon


  1. What night did you go to dinner here? I have been here a few times in the last couple of months...I wonder if you were there when I was?

    And funnily enough, I was going to recommend Jong Ga to you for a review and then scrolled down and saw you'd already been there haha.

    I find the buffet food to be a bit bland and boring so usually just stick to the meat and try not to eat too much!

  2. I think we went on a Monday. Would be such a coincidence if we dined there the same night! I agree - the ready-to-eat buffet is quite ordinary. The BBQ is nice though.

    And I also try not to eat too much. With great difficulty ;)

  3. I am going to Jong Ga tonight with my new korean friend. I have always wanted to go to this place, and finally I have a good reason to do so. I am really looking forward to some soju, and some good company. I managed to find your blog by doing some googling and I thought i'd leave you a comment :)

  4. Hi knifebunny...
    This post was written last year but I was even recommending Jong Ga to my friend last week! Let me know how your experience is. Thanks for the comment (I love reading comments).

  5. oo u've convinced me to try it out - i read in another blog about this place and it kinda scared me off - the reviewer not only dissed the whole restaurant and the food, but it's customers too and even though i wasn't there, i felt insulted for them

    it's nice to read a review like this - balanced without insulting :)

  6. Hi Anonymous...

    That's not nice to diss the other customers! I mean, sure there were problems but overall, it wasn't a horrible dining experience.

  7. I writeing about this place because the food is good but the service is really bad as I witness the staff there look really depressed and miserable and are extremely rude to a number of customers and ignored me and my friends request for a new hot plate a number of times 3 to my count then they started yelling from the other side of the room then the waiter just throws the food off the hot plate when she changes it one the waiter there need to loosen up hey it like she has no customer experience or and customer service then she argues with u then looks around like she spying on you seriously hey all they are going to loose a lot of business I been to a lot of all you can eat this the most rudest one I been to in Brisbane .