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Eastwood

In Asian, Dining on
June 28, 2010

Myung Ga BBQ

I have not been taking the cold weather well. I’m terribly sensitive to the cold, and it seems that no matter how many layers of clothing I wear, my body just does not seem to warm up. And even when my body is warm, my feet, fingers and kneecaps still remain so cold that you could probably freeze water on them =] It probably does not help that our house is particularly freezing and a heater is something that we never use, so I try to warm myself up with food. My parents suggested we try out Ginseng Chicken Soup at a Korean restaurant, since ginseng has a warming effect (and I’ve never had it before), which is how we end up at Mung Ga BBQ- our favourite Korean restaurant (out of the 3 that we’ve been to =])

Walking in on a cold winter’s night, we are greeted by the warmth- not only from the heating but also from the few barbecues which have started. Although the barbecues look delicious, they are quite pricey, and to me, not quite as appealing as the cooked dishes. There are a few others already dining in there, and we spy a lot of stone pots on the tables. There are plenty of ‘chairless’ tables (the ones where you sit on a cushion on the floor), but we choose the last table available, not wanting to go through pins and needles again. I notice the glossy wooden tables with the their cracked surfaces (a result of the heat from plates), match the brown, wood coloured walls. It’s the lack of decor, and these little imperfections which make this restaurant particularly comforting, just like the smell of their food. There’s nothing extravagant, just simple furniture, and the small restaraunt makes it quiet and feels rather like somone’s home.


My dad notes that it looks similar to restaurants in Korea. I wouldn’t know- I’ve never been there. I suspect, however, that the food is quite traditional, since the majority of diners are Korean and the menu does not look to be intended for one without a knowledge of Korean food (like… us). So it wasn’t much of a surprise that we could hardly gather what most of the items on the menu was. Not wanting to venture outside, into the cold to see the picture of the food on the outside window (which was what my mum did last time), we ended up picking the exact same dishes as we did last time- not that we minded.

Bean Sprouts

The complimentary appetisers arrive a short while later, along with cute little bowls, a pair of disposable chopsticks each and a spoon, with it’s head wrapped in a cute little paper pouch. They are quite generous with the appetisers, which I find to be very delicious (and one of my favourite parts of Korean food) and I’m surprised to see, later, that they give the same amount per table, even if there’s only one person (eating all the appetisers would be quite filling for one person)! I suspect, however, that these appetizers are ‘refillable’ (you can ask for more).

Nuts

Soaked in a sweet sauce, with a slight taste of honey, these nuts are surprisingly soft and addictive. What these nuts actually are still remain a mystery to me, but they are no doubt my favourite out of all these appetisers and I’d happily snack on these all day.

Kimchi
Jelly
Covered in a kimchi-like sauce, these very soft jellies are a bit spicy, but the coldness cancels out the spiciness =] As with the nuts, I have no idea what this actually is……

$13 Seafood Pancake

The seafood pancake arrives just as the last appetisers is offloaded, leaving us with no time to savour each of the appetisers slowly. The seafood pancake is just as we remembered it- big and yummy! The pancake is deliciously light and fluffy, with the exterior slightly crispy from the shallow frying. We start with the edges, which we find more appealing than the centre pieces as the edges are crispier. It’s loaded with spring onions, but there isn’t a lot of seafood in there, just pieces of calamari here and there. We don’t really mind notice because it tastes delicious!

$13 Stone Pot Bibimbap

The pot arrives and is so hot it makes crackling sounds. It looks awesomely colourful with the selection of vegetables and mushrooms cut into thin strips and arranged on a layer of rice. The half cooked egg sitting on top is quickly cooked as we mix it into the hot rice below, giving it a sort of soft, scrambled egg texture. I love the interesting texture of this dish, as each ingredient has a unique texture of its own- whether it’s the soft onions or the chewy shitake mushrooms. But my favourite texture is that of the crispy rice, which is created from the direct contact of the rice with the hot stone. The is the reason we order the ‘stone pot bibimbap’ over the ‘bibimbap’, eventhough it costs a dollar more =] And it looks cooler too!

$10 Beef Bone Soup

The bone soup arrives, and is so hot that it’s still bubbling like a gentle spa, with
a huge puff of steam around it. We ask for both of the two (free) bowls of rice which accompany the soup, to save us having to ask again if we needed to, but we have a hard time finishing it, because we only eat a small amount of rice- and we already had rice in the bibimbap. We are also puzzled as to why we get two bowls of rice, as they clearly don’t both fit into the soup…….
The soup is deliciously flavourful, with a strong beef flavour.The strands of glass noodle within the soup along with the pieces of beef are deliciously soft and slippery, although scooping them out of the pot proved to be a difficult task.


$19 Ginseng Chicken Soup

If the bone soup looked like a gentle spa bubbling away, then the Ginseng chicken soup looked like a pot of soup, boiling away on the biggest flame on a stovetop. It was really really hot! The chicken itself looks like a simple, boiled piece of chicken (and a small one too!) swimming in a clear soup but pulling it apart reveals much more. There’s a small ball of glutinous rice, not yet soft, although soaking it in the soup for a minute or so softens it enough to eat (it has a really interesting texture!). We also find a couple of red dates, which are apparently healthy, and lastly, two small pieces of ginseng. My dad gives it the thumbs up, complimenting it for its a nice ginseng taste, which is strong enough to be tasted, yet not too strong that it’s overpowering (and apparently, it tastes like the ones he’s had in Korea). I, on the other hand, am completely lost as to what ginseng tastes like, with no memories of having it, so to me, it tastes like a simple chicken soup. I take a few bites of the ginseng, which looks rather like a knob of ginger but tastes nothing like it. The ginseng isn’t too strong, but I can taste a slight bitterness, and a unique taste which I have since forgotten. I love this soup though- both for its taste and the novelty of pulling a chicken apart, searching for the ginseng and then eating it out of a stone pot.

Myung Ga BBQ restaurant
120 Rowe St
Eastwood NSW 2122
9874 3383

Myung-ga BBQ on Urbanspoon

In Asian, Dining on
March 17, 2010

Eastwood Star BBQ

It seems that I often remember insignificant things which nobody else does. For instance, one of my most vivd memories of high school was the first day of Year 7, when we were all sitting in the hall whilst the parents were all peeking in through the glass door (the teacher wouldn’t let them in). The teachers then made the parents leave and told us to wave goodbye to them- it was like preschool all over again!

I would have thought it to be a memorable experience for everyone, but everytime I bring this up, no one seem to rememeber this……

Another one of my memories was when my mother once took us to a restaurant in Eastwood after school. This was back in my early primary school days, and it a was a rare thing for my mum to take us out after school. I remember the restaurant being slightly dark (or maybe it was because I was looking outside the whole time) and that it wasn’t really nicely decorated but that I was really happy to be able to eat out after school and especially happy that I was allowed to choose a drink, which I happily slurped down. Unfortunately, it closed down a long time ago, and in its place have been several of other restaurants, most of which haven’t been too successful.

Lately, it belongs to Eastwood Star BBQ, and always being up for something new, we decided to give it a try.

Complimentary Soup (Lai Tong)

The restaurant isn’t too busy, which I guess isn’t surprising given the amount of competition around the area. They have a selection of barbecued meats too, which don’t look too bad but the fact that BBQ One is only a few metres away means that they don’t get too many customers buying them.

Dinner is served with complimentary soup which tastes the same as any other complimentary soup you’d get from a chinese restaurant- I can never really tell the difference. I really like this type of soup -it’s sweet, it’s got carrots in it (yum!) and the pork is very very tender.


Satay pot

The satay pot was good- it had plenty of noodles and onions and the meat was nice and tender. Of course, it is never a good idea to eat too much of the noodles- they leave you feeling very bloated when they get down to your stomach and expand. But the flavours were really good- making it really difficult to control youself!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork is one of my all time favourite chinese dishes. Although I can tell the difference between a good and bad sweet and sour pork dish, it’s hard for a restaurant to produce one which I won’t like. So, needless to say, I was content with this dish. The pork was hot and crunchy and the sauce was good, although not the best I’ve ever had.


Shan Tung Chicken

With nice crispy skin, and a tangy and slightly sweet sauce, the Shan Tung chicken goes quite quickly. Again, it isn’t the best I’ve ever had but being fried chicken, we liked it anyway.

Portugese chicken baked rice

 

I usually love portugese chicken rice- I love the straight-from-the-oven-hotness and how it’s drenched in yummy portugese (curry like) chicken sauce. This one however, failed to please and we did not even end up finishing it. The sauce itself was mediocre but what ruined this was the amount of cheese they put in. Although portugese chicken rice is usually served with a bit of mozerella cheese over the top, so that when you scoop it out, there are cheese strands, the cheese does not affect the taste too much. This dish had too much cheese and I think they also used the wrong type of cheese as the strong cheese flavour didn’t compliment the rice and portugese sauce too well. Luckily, I actually like cheese, so despite the mismatch of flavours, I found it bearable.
 
Overall, the food isn’t too bad but definitely not as good as many of the restaurants in the Eastwood area.

 

Eastwood Star BBQ restaurant195 Rowe St, Eastwood

In Asian, Dining on
March 4, 2010

Arisana- eastwood

One of my well known characteristics is that I’m very sensitive to the cold. At school, in winter, you’ll often find me with at least 4 layers on (2 of which are thick wollen jumpers) and will not take them off unless it gets hot enough that most people aren’t even wearing jumpers. In summer, you’ll sometimes still see me with a jumper on, even if I’m sweating until someone points out that it’s too hot to wear a jumper- in which case i’ll take it off (not that it makes too much of a difference).

This is quite different to my mother and sister who are extremely sensitive to the heat. Summer leads to a lot of inactivity and my mum dreads any baking or ironing that needs to be done. So on another typical hot summer day in Sydney, we, for some crazy reason walked from one side of Eastwood to the other (from Chinese side to the Korean!). This of course ended up with a lot of sweat and we had hardly enough energy to take any more steps. The reason for this craziness? Food. Or rather my want of Korean food (I just happened to drag them along!)

By the time we reached the other side, out criteria in choosing a restaurant were not in the food itself but in the level of air conditioning. The shops with their doors closed were most likely to have air con but the newer looking restaurants did look cooler than the old ones.

This was the reason we ended up at Arisana.

Like most Korean restaurants, they gave us the (free) appetisers. I never liked pickled radishes before- the spicy ones were hot and tasted very rasidh-y. Although, in a strange way, it was still nice. The yellow ones were much sweeter- I’m much more familiar with these ones as we buy them at the Asian supermarkets (we usually put them in sushi!) Interestingly, we saw people sprinkling vinegar onto it- maybe that’s the traditional way to eat it? Interesting, the menu at does not comprise of only Korean food, but also Taiwanese food! And, the menu was in Korean, Chinese and English! (Although it’s mostly in Korean) The food was reasonably priced- most of their dishes were around the $30 but we went for the less expensive options of noodles/rice which were around the $12 mark. Fried Dumplings $10

The dumplings were nice- crisp and crunchy. However, they don’t stay like that for long. We were distracted by the other food that came, and by the time we got back to these, they had gone soft.

Seafood Rice $13
 
The food comes really fast. The seafood rice comes as a pile or rice and a pile of seafood (and vegetables). The dish ia quite big, and cold possibly feed two (normal appetite-d people)and tastes really good. The seafood ‘sauce’ tastes like fish soup and is quite runny.
It also comes with a soup which at first looks like borsch but then it doesn’t taste like it- it doesn’t have a strong tomato taste (despite its colour) and is quite hot. To me anyway (to normal people it probably isn’t that hot…) It tastes delicious though.
Sauteed Black Bean Noodles $12
 
 
One of the Korean dishes on the menu, the black bean noodles, is by far the most popular dish in this restaurant. When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was that each table had at least one bowl of these unique black noodles. So, out of curiosity, we ordered one too.

Mix mix mix!

The black bean noodles- there’s a few variations of these from plain black bean noodles $9 to other things $12. We chose the sauteed ones becuase there is a picture on the menu. Unlike the other ones, the sauce comes separately from the noodles.
 
The problem with eating food from different cultures is that at time, you don’t know how to eat it properly. Luckily, we witness a guy sitting a another table pouring all the sauce over the noddles and then mixing it, so we copy him. There is a lot of sauce though, and we don’t end up eating all of it (the sauce, that is) because there’s so much. The saucewas delicious- there were lots of onions which I like but not an empowering onion taste. It wasn’t too salty, was slightly sweet and came with meat and cucumbers which tasted delicious. Served with thick noodles, the serving was actually a lot larger than it had seemed left us very full!
We leave, feeling very satisfied (and bloated) knowing very well that we will be back again. Maybe for dinner (as I think, the lunch and dinner menu are the same), and most likely dragging my father along too!
108 Rowe St
Eastwood NSW 2122
(02) 9858 2300
Open Daily 10:30am-10pm
In Asian, Dining on
February 28, 2010

BBQ One- Eastwood

BBQ one is famous for their good quality chinese BBQ meats, and rather infamous for the terrible service. The owner lady isn’t all that well mannered, the BBQ chopping guy shouts at you and the waiters not-so-subtly try to shoo you away once you’ve gotten through half your meal (like by moving your plate a quater of an inch…for no good reason). Nevertheless, it still always busy with heaps of customers, as a result of the quality of their food. No other barbecue shop in Eastwood has ever managed to compete with it.

 

 

A couple of months ago, it FINALLY opened a new restaurant in the shopping centre in eastwood. New waiter, new chefs, new restaurant….but the service was just as bad! With its new opening (or not so new anymore), we had to try it…….just as a comparison. We walked past the original shop, which was still up and running, and as busy as ever towards. The other restaurant was much bigger and brighter. The food looked the same, but we were curious to find out more.

 

 
The waiter speedily writes down our order, speed walks away and quickly, the complimentary soup is put down on our table. To me, the soup always tastes the same- it isn’t anything special, and so I forget to take a picture until we’ve all finished out first bowl. Oops.


The speed is a big thing at BBQ one restaurant- we’ve only just finished the soup, and the first dish arrives. We ordered the two choices of BBQ meat with rice- in which we chose roast duck and ‘crackling’ roast pork. As always, the roast meat at BBQ One is delicious, especially when you eat it from the restaurant, as it is still fresh, crispy and hot. It goes well with the rice, which is flavoured with a bit of soy sauce. The first dish does not dissapoint and we are unable to notice any difference between the quality of food between the two restaurants.


Sweet and Sour pork remains one of my all time favourite chinese dishes. I have a love of fried foods and usually like some sort of sweetness in food (which is also why I love honey chicken!). Add to that the huge amount of onions and pineapple- there’s no reason for me not to like this dish! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a sweet and sour pork which I didn’t like and this was no exception. The pork is hot and crunchy, and the sauce is nice and sweet. There’s a mountain of rice lying just under the pork- a bit more too much rice (or maybe that’s just because our family doesn’t eat a lot of rice….)

This hot pot contains a lot of different ingredients – tofu, chicken, beef brocili, mushrooms etc. The pot comes boiling hot- the sauce is bubbling and continues to do so for a couple of minutes. It makes it hard to take photos as the steam keeps fogging up the lens (which I’m sure isn’t a good thing!) It comes as no surprise that the food is hot- and so we need to carefully blow on it until it’s cool enough to put in your mouth. Unless you’re me and therfore too impatient to wait- in which case you’ll end up burning your tongue- an experience which I am not unfamiliar with! The sauce it thick and goes well with the other ingredients- the tofu soaks up some of the sauce, as does the brocoli. The meat is very tender and there is quite a lot of it in the pot- it is a lot more filling than it seems!
Despite the fact that the food is quite good, there is a notable difference between the old restaurant and the new one (the old one is definitely better). However, there is less of a wait here which means that we will more likely to be dining here than there from now on =]
 
 
BBQ One
 

10/160 Rowe St Eastwood
NSW 2122
(02) 9874 5323

BBQ One Kitchen on Urbanspoon

In Asian, Dining on
November 25, 2009

Sakae- Yakiniku House


Sakae Yakiniku House is similar to Sakae dining bar (and they’re only a short distance away from each other) but still different in that there’s also Korean food on the many and that they have the option of BBQ. The strange thing about it (apart from the name), is that unlike almost every other restaurant in Eastwood, it isn’t situated on ground level. Then, when you go up the quiet flight of stairs, the first thing you see are big (and slightly mysterious…) wooden doors. And the inside is so dark that it’s difficult to tell whether they’re open or not. But the inside is really pretty- definitely very ‘restaurant’ style!

We walked in to notice that we’re the first ones there- which is sort of surprising considering it was almost 1 o clock in the afternoon. The waiter takes us to a table turns on the light on the rangehood-like-thing. It’s so cool! We were given a heap of menus to choose from- a lunch menu, a normal menu, a BBQ menu, an all-you can eat ment etc. etc. but of course, we took the most economical option and went for the lunch menu. For $16.80, we got a three course meal- and appetiser and main (which we could choose from the menu) and dessert and a pot of green tea!

Complimentary Radishes

The complimentary radishes were one of the highlights of this meal. If they were on the menu as a dish, we’d probably order it. They are slightly cooked and covered in a really light sauce. They aren’t very flavourful (there was still a strong radish taste) but tasted great!

Beef Takati

We ordered the Beef Takati as we had no idea what it was and I thought it’d be fun to try. Turns out, it was raw beef in a sauce which was a bit like soy sauce and vinegar mixed together. It was scary eating raw beef (you know, food poisoning etc. etc.) -it tasted okay but we definitely wouldn’t order this again.


Jap Chae $5.80
 
The Jap Chae was really really small- even for an appetiser. I guess it was kinda expected for $5.80 -at a restaurant. The noodles were okay-but they weren’t any better than the $5 jap chae I get from the food court….for a much larger dish.

Seafood Pancake $9.80
 
 
The seafood pancake was smaller than we had anticipated but tasted pretty good. It was different to the one we had before at a Korean restaurant- it was smaller in size but notably thicker. It wasn’t as good as the one we had before, but was still good and we’d probably order it again, although it’s quite expensive for such a small serving. There wasn’t much seafood in it except for calamari which was really chewy and probably would have tasted better without it.

Miso Soup
I’m guessing that is came with the meal? It doesn’t say so on the lunch menu but it ended up on our table. It was again, average, although all miso soup tastes pretty much the same to me.

Sashimi Salad Don

The sashimi salad rice was a big disappointment. The rice is hot- it had steam coming out of it. And the sashimi? Well- all you can see in the photo was all there was. Sharing this between the three of us, we each got about 2 or 3 pieces of sashimi each (and they were SMALL pieces). And since the rice was hot, the sashimi warmed up really quickly. And warm sashimi does not taste good at all. And i don’t think it’s healthy either! There was no dressing, but it did come with a sauce which didn’t really go well with it and was hot (spicy hot that is). Without the sauce, the salad tasted flavourless but with the sauce, it just didn’t taste quite right.

 
Green Tea Ice Cream
 
The most akward part of the meal is after we finish the mains- not knowing whether we’re supposed to notify the waiters that we’ve finished our meal (and are ready for dessert) or if we’re supposed to wait until they come. After a long wait, and reluctance from both me and my sister to ask the waiters (yes, we’re both really shy people), my mum asks the waiter for the dessert.
The dessert comes, and we’re surprised that there was not one, but three servings! We later realise that it states on the menu that there is one for each person on the table. The dessert is green tea ice cream- one of my favourite ice cream flavours, as I rarely ever have it (in fact, it’s been ages- years since I last had it). Of course, the quality isn’t all that great but any ice cream makes me happy! Only problem is that it melted really quickly, especially since it was already a hot day. My mum complained that it was a little bitter, but me and my sister don’t notice it (as usual, our tastes are not as sensitive as our parents).
The meal did not actually fill us up much (we were planning where to eat next…) but that wasn’t surprising considering we only ordered one meal and two appetisers for three people but that was about all we could fit into our budget. We realised that we should have gone for two meals as it would have ended up costing around the same (except that we really wanted to try the seafood pancake) but the decor was really pretty so it was kinda worth it.

Sakae Yakiniku HouseLevel 1, 6 Hillview Road
Eastwood NSW 2122
Phone (02) 9874 2277

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