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Korean

In Asian, Dining, Dinner, Restaurant on
March 10, 2016

Jumak (Drunken Rice), Town Hall

When the Korean food cravings kick in, I’m glad I’m in Sydney, where I’m spoilt for choice with plenty of good Korean restaurants everywhere. And my latest Korean food adventures take me to Jumak, one of my favourite hole in the wall joints in Sydney. Located in one of the alleys off George Street, it makes up for its discreet location with bright Christmas lights and large lit-up menus of their menu.

The restaurant is bigger than it appears at the front, with multiple levels and plenty of large tables for groups. We love the service button on each table which sets off a loud doorbell like noise- saves us from trying to catch the attention of the busy waitstaff as they’re rushing about.

Korean Fried Chicken ($13)

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In Asian, Dining, Dinner, Restaurant on
June 22, 2015

Palsaik, Haymarket

 

It’s not everyday that we walk past a restaurant and decide we want to try it just by looking at the menu, but that’s exactly how we discovered Palsaik. 
 
The entrance is a little hidden, being behind Chatime and a couple of other eateries so we wouldn’t have ever realised it even existed had we not been wandering around whilst waiting for our order at Taiwan Soul Food. It wasn’t until we searched it up when we got home that we realised it was a global Korean restaurant chain, which made us even more keen to try it out!

 

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In Asian, Dining on
November 15, 2011

Let’s Meat BBQ

Uni exams have finally finished for me, meaning that my first year of uni is officially over! It feels so good!! (although my leg, which I hurt whilst running to uni for my psychology exam because my train was half an hour late does feel so good……) I haven’t been baking much lately so I haven’t got much to blog about now, but I’ll be making my way through my enormous list of things to make soon so that should be fun 🙂 I have been eating out a lot though and in particular I’ve been itching to blog about this dining experience.

That’s because this was our second experience with group buy vouchers- and yet again, we chose a restaurant that was long drive from home (1.5 hours this time!). We couldn’t resist though, because the deal was for a Korean BBQ buffet at Let’s Meat for $39- and we love our buffets.

The reviews online are mostly quite negative, and to be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I called up Let’s Meat to make a booking for our family of four. The voucher was valid for any day of the week, so naturally we wanted to make a booking for the weekend, when they had their ‘Ultimate Buffet’ (normally $41) instead of their weekday option of ‘Smart Choice Buffet’ (normally $32). The person on the phone sounded a little annoyed when I kept asking if there were any vacancies for any weekend (turns out that they’re booked out until after December….) but was a little nicer when I finally decided to visit there on a Tuesday night instead.

Pickled Radishes, onion and mashed potato
  
We arrived to find the restaurant quite empty (though the surrounding restaurants were also very quiet) but service was great, and we were quickly taken to a table- though it was a designated ‘voucher holders’ table. We were given an A4 sheet, stating all the terms and conditions of the voucher including that they charge a service charge for changing the BBQ plate and that there is a limit of 10 dishes per voucher (i.e. 2 people) which I thought were a little unnecessary and off-putting.Before you all think that this place is terrible, I’ll point out that the service throughout the night was excellent. Though there were only two people serving the diners (one of which I’m pretty sure was the owner), they were very friendly and attentive. The owner spent the night walking around from table to table, making sure that everyone was enjoying their meal and chatting about just about anything!

 

This is what happens when you have a dish limit and have to keep reusing the same dish
 
The selection of hot foods was quite limited, and it didn’t help that the food did not get refilled much during the night. This might have been because we did come a little late, since voucher holders could only come at two specific times (6 and 7:30pm). The foods they had available weren’t amazing, but good enough to satisfy our hungry stomachs whilst the meats were cooking.The stir fried noodles were quite tasty but unfortunately a little dry. The fried rice was a little less exciting but probably the better option- the rice was nicely fluffy and delicious. They also a couple other hot dishes like fried chicken, but by the time we arrived there were only one or two left.

 

Spring Rolls
 
The spring rolls were probably the only thing which came out of the kitchen in the time that we dined there, so we quickly grabbed almost all of it (there wasn’t much to begin with!). They were delicious though- a nice crispy skin with a soft slightly sweet interior of veggies. Shame they didn’t have more!

 

Kimchi

They had a good selection of cold dishes, including the usual kimchi and pickles (onions and radish). I don’t really eat much kimchi, so I have no comments on that, but I liked their potato dish which was marinated in a similar spicy sauce- it was quite a surprise because we didn’t realise that it was potato at first! My favourite of all the cold dishes was probably their korean/japanese mashed potato which was incredibly soft and smooth- almost like whipped cream!

 

The highlight of Let’s Meat is definitely much more on the meat (hence the name? lol) than the already cooked foods- and thankfully, the meats did not disappoint! The selection of meats was again, quite limited, but we found that all the choices of meat were ones which we enjoy so it doesn’t bother us. Most notable amongst their meats would be their cubes of wagyu (which we only noticed existed after we had finished eating!) and their marinated pork, with a delicious marinade which brought about a slight hint of sweetness- making it taste a little like char sui but without the stickiness, and less sweet. I also loved the ox-tongue slices, which were a little thin for my liking but I think that’s how ox tongue is usually served for Korean bbq’s.

We were pretty pleased with the meats on offer here, and I’ll go so far as saying that of all the Korean BBQ buffets we’ve had in Sydney (we haven’t really been to that many) if meat was the only criteria, this would definitely rank as one of our favourites.

One thing that we found quite annoying was that the BBQ grill had pretty much only 2 settings- so hot that all the food burnt before being cooked or too cold that the meats took forever to cook, which wouldn’t have bothered us, except that  there was a 1.5 hour time limit! They also stated that if we wanted to change the temperature of the grill, we should ask the staff, so we spent the night asking the waiter to switch between the hot and cold setting…..luckily he was extremely nice and didn’t mind helping us every time!

Jelly
 
They didn’t have much of a ‘desserts’ selection, but their website doesn’t mention any desserts in their Smart Choice buffet anyway so we weren’t too dissappointed. Other than some fruits, there were some cute jellies on offer- I don’t usually like jelly anyway but I thought it’d be nice to finish with something sweet.

 

Ice Cream

They also had ice cream in their freezer, and I loved that they froze the ice cream cups as well as the ice cream 🙂 They only had vanilla flavoured ice-cream with a couple of toppings, but it was a nice way to end the night.

Overall, I thought the experience was pretty good, though I think one of the reasons why it wasn’t as bad as most other reviews was that I was expecting worse. I might not be back again, but that’s more because the food and the price together aren’t quite enough for the 1.5 hour trip, but if they had the deal again, I’d definitely buy it!

Let's Meat Korean Charcoal BBQ & Buffet on Urbanspoon

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 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