Woo Ga Korean BBQ Restaurant

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Woo Ga Korean BBQ Restaurant is situated on Victoria St, North Melbourne, quite close by to the Queen Victoria Market and along a stretch of a few Korean restaurants. Korean BBQ restaurants are aplenty in Melbourne and I’ve mentioned ChangGo previously which is probably one of the most popular Korean eateries in the CBD.

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We ordered the Combo B which is for 3-4 people/serves ($68) which comes with the pickled onions, bean sprouts and kimchi as starters. The sweet onions are really nice and flavourful, I’m not sure what they use to marinate it but it’s very refreshing. Combo B is beef heavy, and it comes with Premium Wagyu Chuck Eye Roll, “Top Grade” Beef Rib, marinated Beef Flank, Beef seasoned with salt and pepper and lastly Kimchi & Pork Spicy Soup.

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 The cabbage and carrots salad is super crunchy, and it has a light dressing that adds some flavour to it too.

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Combo B is all beef so those that may not be so fond of everything beef, you may opt for some pork as extra. The beef is very tender and can cook very quickly once it’s on the heat, so be aware to move it away or turn it over so the beef isn’t overcooked. It’s like your very own cooking class.

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This cut of beef is marinated with some onions and I actually quite like this cut/seasoning. Thin pieces of beef

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Beef Flank was probably my least favourite cut, as it can be a bit tough when cook (and if overcooked)
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Most of the cooking is DIY and the staff do switch the hot plates for different cuts of meat but I found it took longer for the meat to cook as it had to keep heating up the room temperature plates.

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The Spicy Kimchi and Pork soup was again delicious with fresh mushrooms, spring onions, mushrooms and soft tofu.

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The Korean seafood pancake was delicious, albeit a bit oily and very filling. The sweet and salty sauce they add on top along with the crispy outside makes for a great dish on a cold day (Not included in Combo B)

Impressions

Woo Ga does Korean food well but on a busy night, service may be a bit lacking as we had to request some things twice or it took quite a while for them to get back to us which does leave you a bit disappointed even if the food is great. I found ChangGo to be the better one of the two, better tasting soup and meat (although I am comparing beef to pork) and similar chaotic service.

Wooga Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

Woo Ga Korean Restaurant

270 Victoria St
North Melbourne VIC

ChangGo

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Melbourne is abuzz for ChangGo, one of the many Korean BBQ restaurants that have appeared in our city in recent years. The waits can be excruciatingly long and the waiting system is basically taking a ticket and writing your name down on the list and you just wait around the venue listening for your name to be called out. I guess you must suffer a bit to be able to enjoy their food.

One of ChangGo’s specialties on their menu is their 8 ways marinated Pork Belly which consist of wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso paste and hot flavoured Pork Belly. For a group of two to three, the amount of pork on offer here seems to suffice. With the Pork Belly, they provide Kim Chi, an assortment of vegetables, and a spicy Seafood soup.

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At night, the place can be packed and the staff are definitely challenged in assisting everyone with their cooking. So basically, it’s DIY BBQ.

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The Pork Belly they provide you is on the fattier side of pork that I’ve come across but nonetheless the flavours offered are varied. The Garlic, Herb and Hot marinated Pork Belly’s were probably my favourite ones because they were flavourful but let the pork shine too.

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The Spicy Seafood soup here is wonderfully tasty and best on a cold winter’s day. Not too spicy but enough to tingle your tastebuds and the soup base is exceptionally satisfying.

Impressions

ChangGo does Korean barbeque well, apart from the overly fatty Pork Belly that is. Flavours are overall tasty and for $60 (for the 8 Ways Pork Belly), I find it great value for money. Once you dine here you can see why the waits during peak times can exceed 30 mins. I’d definitely recommend dining here if you feel like some charred meats.

ChangGo on Urbanspoon

ChangGo
70 Little La Trobe St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Pocha Korean Restaurant – Vancouver Series

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We actually stumbled upon Pocha Restaurant as we initially wanted to dine at the Thai restaurant next door but being such a petite space, it was unfortunately full. Luckily enough we looked next door and saw this Korean restaurant opened. From the outside, Pocha didn’t really seem open. It was very dark inside, and no signs it was open. Somehow being desperate for some place to dine we walked in and found this very interesting restaurant. There is a long walkway with each side having this little covered/tent-like dining spaces. It looked like you were in some sort of food market and these were the outside tents to eat in, but somewhat private.

The menu was slightly on the pricer side of things, and we didn’t really know what to order. We ended up ordering meal combo, choosing from the four dishes (you can select two). We ordered the spicy pork bulgogi (pictured above). Lovely flavours, subtle spiciness and a tad sweet marinated pork cooked with onions and carrots. Although, it was on the oilier side of things. It was very tasty.

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The other beef dish was also nicely cooked, and again with onions and carrots. Meat just cooked right but I preferred if they used less sugar on the sauce/marinade. Not too exciting but it’s still satisfying.

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The tofu soup was very light in flavour or seasoning but with the more robust flavours from the two meat dishes I think it complements each other well.

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It also comes with a salad that is dressed with a vinaigrette. Very strong dressing and with the lettuce in large chunks, it was more difficult to eat. I would have liked the Korean/Japanese sesame seed dressing that is creamier and light brown in colour.

Impressions

Overall, I didn’t mind Pocha Restaurant. It’s not the best Korean food I’ve tried but not the worst. The quaint dining atmosphere is certainly a plus, along with the food.  Good service too on that quiet Tuesday night.

Pocha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pocha Restaurant

1221 Thurlow St
Vancouver BC V6E

Don-Udon

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Don-Udon recently opened in Box Hill and joins the other Korean restaurants now established in Box Hill along. I’m guessing there is a sizeable Korean community here as there are also many grocery stores around too. Unlike the Box Hill Korean BBQ, Don-Udon doesn’t offer BBQ but they have plans to do hot pot in the winter months.

Currently they offer a great selection of Korean and even a few Japanese dishes ranging from Udon noodle soup, Stir Fried Udon dishes, Ramen, Korean and Japanese rice dishes and even a few sizzling and clay pot dishes for something a bit different.

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We ordered the Bibim Bap in Stone Pot that is served scolding hot. It comes with beef, vegetables and fried egg with Korean chilli paste on rice. The stone pot retains heat remarkably well so if you’re ordering, it’s best to not touch the bowl. I love clay pot/stone pot dishes as the rice cooks and turns into this crunchy delight. All the ingredients here are fresh and especially tasty with the slightly sweet beef. A really nice, light dish.

IMG_0479Don-Udon also offers soups in clay pot. I think Korean soups with rice are one of my favourite type of dishes. I could really have warm, spicy soup with rice all day, everyday. The soup here is a Seafood Silken Tofu Soup (Spicy) with mixed seafood, vegetables and of course silken tofu. I loved the flavour of this soup, it’s spicy enough if you consume all of the soup and it’s basically like this gradual hotness that lingers throughout the meal. Very satisfying. The seafood here are basically a couple of small (very) prawns but the tofu is the main protein here. Although the soup is a tad oily, I loved the soup all the same.

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The Donkatsu Udon is your typical Japanese dish with crispy deep fried pork, with a clear stock soup. Subtle flavours from the soup and maybe a bit of Togarashi just adds a bit of spice to give it a bit more seasoning. A pleasant dish that even betters Ajisen Ramen in Box Hill.

Impressions

Don-Udon is my go-to Korean eatery in Box Hill. Flavours hit the mark, friendly staff and all for a decent (the standard) price. It’s just a bit of a shame that this restaurant isn’t more frequented by customers. It’s slightly out of the way, a few minutes walk from the main shopping hub in Box Hill but close by to the tram stop and the many Computer Gaming places. I’d say it’s definitely worth the small effort to visit.

Don-Udon on Urbanspoon

Don-Udon

951 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128

Opens for Lunch and Dinner

Box Hill Korean BBQ

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Box Hill Korean BBQ is near the hub of Box Hill. You may notice there are a couple of Korean grocery stores and restaurants in Box Hill probably to the small but sizeable Korean community around these parts. I love Korean food, because it’s slightly familiar to the South East and Japanese and yet still different and new.

In the image above, I mistakenly ordered an entree which I thought was a full meal. This dish is called Tteokbokki/dukboki/topokki which is basically these rice cake strips which look like noodles stir fried in a (usually) spicy sauce with carrots and onions. What I like about it is that it’s actually quite filling because it’s rice cakes and these “noodles” are dense and have a bit of chewiness to it. Here, there is minimal sauce but it’s very spicy and concentrated. Although it’s an entree it’s filling but as it is the same price as a normal regular lunch dish, I don’t think it’s worth it. You can also easily make this by yourself, all you need is to go to a Korean grocery store (there is one nearby) buy a fresh packet of the noodles and a packet of the sauce and stir fry it. Very easy.

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The beef stir fry with salad and rice dish is similar to a bento and comes with the standard Korean condiments like kimchi and seasoned bean sprouts. The beef is sweetly seasoned but still has a bit of saltiness to it, the carrots, onions, capsicums and bean sprouts add a much needed freshness to the dish. It’s nice, but nothing special.

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The chicken stir fry is similar to the beef dish, sweet and not enough saltiness or spiciness. Chicken was also a tad overcooked, it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Dae Jang Geum does these dishes much better. The miso soup also came out lukewarm to almost cold. Very disappointing

Impressions

We were left disappointed with the meals we had after having really great food at Dae Jang Geum. The service here is also bare minimum, and took at least 15 minutes to receive our food that was a bit cold. Hmm. The complementary sides with the two rice dishes are also very small and unlike the Dae Jang Geum which is generous. Maybe the dinner or BBQ is better? I don’t know, but I’m not enthused to try it again.

Box Hill Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Box Hill Korean BBQ
1 Bank St
Box Hill VIC 3128

 

Seoul Soul

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Seoul Soul, can easily be missed by passers-by. It is this extremely tiny restaurant, almost hidden on the always populated Victoria Street, Richmond, near The Hive Shopping Centre. In between The Hive SC entrance and a corner cafe, you’ll find this little gem. Only housing less than 20 people, it is always popular inside and waiting around lunchtime is common.

As you may have guessed from the name, Seoul Soul serve Korean cuisine from their most commonly known dishes such as Bulgogi, but also the more obscure and spicy dishes. Typically, they also do BBQ/grills so it really caters for most.

I’ve previously had the Spicy Tofu bulgogi and that was a delight to eat. It comes with stir fried tofu with a spicy sauce, salad and oddly enough a slice of orange. You’ll find this is common for most of the bulgogi’s served. The spiciness of the sauce is fantastic but isn’t too spicy, just enough to give the always bland tofu some flavour and kick.

The salad is very similar to the Japanese salad dressing you can buy in Asian supermarkets, it has that slightly sesame taste to it. I really do love this dressing so it’s always appetising.

You might be saying, Denny, what is that delicious dish you ordered that is pictured. Well, my friends, this is their Special Stone Pot Bibimbap. It comes super sizzling hot and crackles with delight as it’s served. It’s primarily a vegetarian dish with the bean sprouts, carrots, beans and capsicum. There are a couple of stone pot bibimbaps, prawn and beef. I’m uncertain if there was a stone pot vegie bibimbap but it doesn’t seem out of plausibility.

I ordered the beef, which comes with minced beef and cannot currently be seen as it sits underneath that sunny side up egg. The yolk that oozes out just binds everything together. It is simply a refreshing and satisfying meal.

Impressions 

Seoul Soul is quite a treat if you can get a table. Well presented food but leaning on the pricier side of things but it’s okay here because the  food here is tasty and doesn’t disappoint.

Seoul Soul on Urbanspoon

Seoul Soul
323 Victoria St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

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

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