Chimek Journal 2: Sweet Oak

Finally Made the Trip

I had been hearing about Sweet Oak for about half a year. Word was, a hardcore barbecue guy from the States was smoking the best brisket in Korea.

People were telling me it was only an hour outside of Seoul. Just as many expats living in Seoul, I don’t own a car, so the only option was to take a bus. Forget an hour. Try two. You figure in the cab ride from the station to the restaurant, and you’re talking a serious trip for one meal.

In cut footage, I wax on more about how there isn’t much to do out there. A little hiking, I guess, but that can be done in a 15 minute subway ride. Another tricky variable were the hours. Sweet Oak is closed on Sundays and opens at 5:30pm on Saturday. Since I couldn’t make it out there on a weekday, that left a very small window of opportunity to visit.


Gus and His Food

Gus is a friendly guy, but very camera shy. I had an opportunity to say hi to him briefly when I arrived and when I came back for dinner service, but he preferred to let his cooking do the talking.

I was able to try all of the sides and all of the main dishes and they were great. But the beef rib isn’t sold in any restaurant in Korea (that I’m aware), certainly not as American barbecue, and the pork sliders were on a different level. I asked Gus about the sides, which I found to be well balanced but not necessarily show-stopping. And he said he intends the sides to be “classic and simple”. Fair enough.

Friendly Patrons and Other Discoveries

There was an older gentleman who was very friendly and gave me one of his beers from his sampler. I wish it made sense to put the conversation in, but it just didn’t fit with whatever story I ended up telling. Plus, I didn’t want any drama for when his face was in the video. We chatted for a decent amount of time. And yes, he was pretty drunk.

My comment in the pottery shop sounds like I dismissed what we found, but we ended up buying a couple of bowls there. They weren’t cheap, costing about $40. I thought it worthwhile to include our pit stop before we ate. And we did have two hours to burn before service started. I wanted that to be reflected in the video.

Which leads me to another discovery: I was introduced to the Hand and Malt Brewery, which will be next week’s video. Think Guiness but better. For that alone, I was grateful for the trip.


Production Notes

Yes, blown out highlights in the cafe, zoomed in on my face when I thought my lens was at the wide-angle setting. There are a half dozen technical things that, in a perfect world, I would change.

But c’est la vie. Let’s just say I’m going for the cinema verite style of shooting, which is pretty true since my shooting is all run and gun style, with me being the “talent” and camera guy, all in one. I also like typing run on sentences, with lots of commas, so that I can pack many thoughts in there, however disjointed it may be.



Check out my other vids on Youtube, including my video about another barbecue guy, a heavey metal photographer in Korea, and my search for whiskey at Chimek Productions on Youtube.

My still photography work can be found at Peter Kim Photography. At the time of this writing I’m redoing it so


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