okay, that's the only image of Korean rice cake I could find quickly. It's a book called 2005 Ewha Photo Diary: Tteok - Korean Rice Cake. How beautiful and crazy does it look?
Sorry folks. If anyone did miss me i kinda abandoned this blog because there are so many better food writers out there and i also think it's weird having a blog without pictures. That said, i'm back. I’ve decided to focus a bit more on hunting down fun places to eat and good foods but there should still be plenty of recipes.
This week’s big discovery is Box Hill. Okay, this eastern suburb of melbourne wasn't sitting around waiting to be discovered but it was a bit off my radar. Sarah decided we had to go on a date out there – a mystery date which had me on the Eastern freeway going “where are we going?” over and over like a kid.
Box Hill is like what I wish chinatown was - lots of cheap asian joints ranging from your traditional shanghai dumpling house to asian vegetarian places. And lots of Korean!
We decided to check out a place on Bank St, opposite the railway line. It was called Korean Deli and was oddly scattered with all sorts of schmonces. Weird stuff like little dolls made out corn husks and ceramic clowns. The menu has great photos of the food – macro close ups of omelettes and stuff. We settled on mung bean pancakes, rice cake in spicy sauce (dukboki) and the stone bowl rice.
The pancakes were little pikelet sized morsels and had good crunchy stuff inside. I had the feeling they weren't fried fresh though, which could have helped. The rice cake was just how I like it - big long tubes of rice dumpling, good and chewy and with a sauce that was, as our waiter said “just a little bit hot”. As usual “with vegetables” meant a bit of sliced onion and carrot, but somehow that didn’t matter. The stone bowl was also great – a big hot bowl of rice (so hot the rice is still crackling when it comes out) covered with little mounds of delicately grated vegies, seaweed and pickles. Topped with a fried egg of course. Our waiter was not impressed with my skills at stirring it so he asked if he could do it. Adding lots of sauce he then proceeded to chop up the egg with a spoon and thoroughly mix everything together. "You're heaps better at that" I said. "Yes, I'm Korean" he replied.
A great meal all in all – the only funny thing being that we didn’t automatically get served all my beloved side dishes. I don't think they were used to having honkeys in, and they seemed to think we wouldn't cope with all their weird food. It was only when I asked for some kimchi that they were brought out. The peppery fungus was particularly awesome as were the little potatoes. I don’t know how they make them so soft but still together but I love ‘em.
The whole meal, with roast corn tea came to $25.30. For dessert we went around the corner to the stupidly named crepelato. Of course I had to go for the crepes with peanut butter and condensed milk. Sarah insisted on chocolate gelato on top. Of course they were fantastic – choc-peanut butter is always such a winner of a combination.
And the best thing about the trip? We found a place that does vegetarian yum cha. So you know where I’m heading on my next free morning…