Song Choe has opened Golden Pig, a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of her native Korea, in Cary.
The restaurant is not her first, though her other venture “was a long time ago in Missouri, and that was a Chinese restaurant.” Golden Pig is a celebration of her cultural heritage, in more ways than one.
She named the restaurant for the birth year of her grandson, a year that comes around only once in every 600 years according to Korean zodiac tradition and is said to be an exceptionally lucky one.
The good fortune should come in handy, given Golden Pig’s location in a building that has seen a long string of restaurants (most recently La Casa de las Enchiladas) come and go.
Choe has given the building a complete makeover with a clean contemporary Asian look and a bar, where she plans to serve beer, wine and cocktails.
The menu covers all the familiar bases, from Korean barbecue (cooked in the kitchen) to five variations on the bibimbap theme. The offering goes well beyond the usual suspects, though, to include specialties such as pah dak (Korean fried chicken with green onion) and ah gu chim (steamed monkfish with vegetables, topped with a spicy sauce).
A strong selection of pork dishes, including house-made Korean sausage, doubles down on the restaurant’s name. And a sprinkling of outliers — crab Rangoon, cashew chicken and the like — are telltale signs that Choe couldn’t resist peppering the menu with a few favorites from her first restaurant.
Golden Pig (815 W. Chatham St., Cary; 919-650-2720) is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.