Ramen-Ya

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Ramen-Ya has been on the Melbourne food scene since 2007. Their original restaurant is located at GPO, along an alleyway of sorts (of course, it’s Melbourne). Their primary cuisine is Japanese Ramen,  but they also offer a selection of bento boxes. To keep you reassured, this is an authentic Japanese eatery, and quite a popular one at that, with another Ramen-Ya located further down on Bourke St.

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Oddly enough, I ordered something not particularly authentic but becoming quite popular in Japanese restaurants. I saw many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver that had Korean fusion dishes. The Korean flavour to this ramen dish adds an interesting taste to the dish. It’s a bit sour and a tad spicy and mostly what Kimchi is. You can pick your soup base too, I chose the Miso one just to be a little different. I found it to be intriguing combination but the only downside is that the soup was lukewarm, and by the time you finish it, it’s basically cold! Other than that, it’s a delightful dish that’s mostly vegetarian apart from the charshu but having the soup hot would have made me like it even more.

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Ramen-Ya’s Chicken Teriyaki bento is also nicely prepared. The chicken teriyaki has that usual teriyaki flavour, it needs a bit of the Japanese chilli powder just to give it a bit of a kick but the chicken was well cooked and seasoned. Really, what more could you ask for.

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I really liked the taste of the Beef Sukiyaki, the beef is nice and soft and the sauce (albeit it’s on the sweet side) is delicious.  You can get salad and miso soup, or any dish, for a small sum if you’re eager to round out your meal. The bite sized gyoza had a very substantial flavour to the filling, with that hint of ginger, and freshly cooked is also very pleasing.

Impressions

Ramen-Ya serves up authentic Japanese cuisine that is certain to delight people’s tastebuds. You can really see why people come back for more but I really do hope the lukewarm soup base for my Ramen was a one time mistake (it was also an extremely warm day) as it can really detract from your dining experience. I never am quite satisfied when eating cold food that is supposed to be warm, it just doesn’t fill you up in the same way.

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Ramen-Ya
Shop 25G Melbourne GPO
350 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Hotteok/Hoddeok (Pre-mix)

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If you have ever been in a Korean Grocery store, you might have come across a Hotteok pre-mix pack (Beksul is the one I find). Basically Hotteok is a sweet Korean Pancake, I think there are varieties of these pancakes with different fillings. The one that comes in the pack is a brown sugar filling with chopped nuts and cinnamon. I absolutely adore these and have attempted to make it myself. Either way, it’s pretty simple to make, but the Pre-Mix has a much nicer dough, and I’m unsure of what they put into it that gives it that golden colour.

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This is the other Hotteok Pre-Mix I’ve seen. The Beksul one (Not Pictured Pictured!) is in red packaging and tastes much better, and less salty. As the instructions are all in Korean, I had to go search for a translation. Luckily I found My Korean Kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 Pre-Mix Pack (Contains: Flour, Filling and Yeast)

250 ml Water

Oil (Preferably the spray kind)

Plain Flour

Optional: Extra chopped nuts to add to the Filling mixture

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Method (From My Korean Kitchen)

1. Sieve the premix flour, then add the dry yeast (silver packet) and water, knead it with a wooden spatula

2. Cover the bowl with wrap, and ferment it for 2 hours at room temperature (20-25 ?) The volume of the dough needs to increase by 2 times. I’ve sometimes left it for the whole day just to get the maximum “rise”.

2/ If you like, you can chop some more nuts, we use walnuts but really any nuts will suffice, to the filling.

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3. When the dough is ready, get a couple of spoonfuls of plain flour and place it on a plate. Give the mixture a gentle mix and form 10-20 pieces depending on the size you want. Place each piece into the plain flour so it becomes easier to handle.

4. Widen the dough with your hands and flatten. Place a spoonful of filling into the middle of the flat dough. Seal the dough and shape is like below. Repeat it for the rest of the dough.

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5. Pre heat the frying pan for 20 seconds and add some oil.

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6. Put a couple of the pancakes onto the pan and turn them over when the bottom part is cooked. (Cook them on medium to low heat)

Recommendation from the packet : It is best if you consume all the fermented dough (dough without the filling mix) when you make it. However if you can’t finish it all, keep it in the fridge (if you are going to consume it within 24 hours), otherwise keep it in the freezer, and defrost it well before you use it.

Impressions

What I love above this Pre-Mix is how easy it is to make and so tasty to boot. Eating this warm, will the sugary filling slightly liquid and nutty is just…perfect. It’s delicious on a nice cold winters day, and it’s definitely hard to stop eating it.

The dough is slightly soft, but has a nice crisp texture on the outside, with a sweet and nutty texture in the inside, with a hint of cinnamon. I’ve actually tried this with home-made red bean paste as well, and tastes just as good. So simple to make (Apart from the sticky dough), I can’t see a reason not to give it a try!

Dae Jang Geum

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I’ve always walked passed Dae Jang Geum in Chinatown but never had the temptation to go in. I couldn’t really gauge the popularity either because it has stairs going up. One day we suddenly though why not, I’ve always liked Korean cuisine. I’ve dined in a couple around the city (mostly Korean BBQ) but I’m not sure why I don’t jump at the chance to try another place.

Dae Jang Geum when you finally walk up all the steps is surprisingly large. I was taken aback at how many tables they had, and a large kitchen. So I’m presuming they must get a lot of customers during the night. Their Lunch menu is has quite good variety of Korean food, from Teriyaki Chicken, Bulgogi, Soup, rice and noodle dishes.

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My first picture is the Bulgogi Set Menu that I ordered, and I quite enjoyed it. It is again, surprisingly filling. The rice that they give you is in these seemingly small stainless steel bowls but actually they had packed all the rice in tightly.  The beef was nicely flavoured and cooked well. The chinese cabbage and capsicum made the dish overall enjoyable.

The Chicken Teryaky with vegetables is definitely not like the usual Japanese Teriyaki you’ll find. This was more akin to a Sweet and Sour Chicken dish, without much of the sour. So it was slightly disappointing, but still decent enough if you like a sweet sauced dish to go with your rice.

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Dae Jang Geum also provides an assortment of sides, with the usual kimchi, fresh salad and a sweetened sliced cold potato dish (pictured at the back).

Might I add I also had a chance to try a bit of the Spicy Beef Soup and that had a fantastic punch to it. It felt so homely, having soup and rice. Homely, certainly isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

Dae Jang Geum’s lunch experience is mostly positive. The staff are quite friendly and efficient, and the food arrives quickly (Maybe we ate before peak hour but nonetheless is was good). Although their restaurant lacks much natural lighting, it is still a welcoming atmosphere. Would I come here again? Yes definitely, there are plenty of other dishes to try for lunch and we haven’t even attempted to try their Korean BBQ.

Melbourne Dae Jang Geum Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Dae Jang Geum
235 Little Bourke St
Melbourne VIC

03 9662 9445

Bread Kingdom – Mocha Cake

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There are quite a few Bread Kingdom stores around Victoria. As per it’s name, it’s a bakery that sells a wide selection of sweet and savoury treats and snacks. It’s actually quite similar to Breadtop but with a Korean influence. I find that most of their breads lean on the sweet side, or their savoury items are mainly cheese products. Nonetheless, they do have an interesting selection. Their sweet Ugly bread may sound (and look) unattractive but it was actually quite good.

Like Breadtop and Cakeworld, this Asian Bakery also sells a variety of cakes in several sizes.

DSC00289We tried their Mocha Cake and usually I’m not a huge fan of cream based cakes but this cake was surprisingly light. Some cakes have a very heavy cream filling, along with a dense cake mixture but this cake was overall pleasant to eat. With a nice coffee flavour to it that wasn’t overpowering at all. The syrup on top gave it extra mocha hit and to be honest it’s one of the few cream loaded cakes I would actually go back for. All it needed was some chopped nuts for added texture and it would be perfect.

DSC00288Usually I visit their Glen Waverley store but they also have stores in Springvale, Hawthorn, Carnegie and Wantirna. The Hana Bakery in Clayton is also suspiciously similar to Bread Kingdom, not sure what the deal is there. If you’re looking for something slightly different to the usual Breadtop/Cakeworld selections and want something to satisfy your sweet tooth, give Bread Kingdom a go!

Bread Kingdom on Urbanspoon

Bread Kingdom
Shop 11
52-54 O’Sulivan Raod Map
Glen Waverley VIC 3150