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Korean

The Mandoo

After an extremely long day, I found myself unwilling to even contemplate cooking, and so ended up at The Mandoo, a small but popular Korean dumpling restaurant that I’ve had my eye on for the last year or so. The place is even tinier than I had imagined, with diners crammed elbow-to-elbow on shared tables in the narrow space. Combined with the warm day, the lack of air conditioning, and the steamers full of dumplings in the open kitchen, and you’ve got a stuffy and frankly rather uncomfortable place to eat. But having dined perched on plastic stools at the side of the street in South-East Asia during summer, this is far from a deal-breaker, and would be happily forgiven…

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Old Garden Kaffe

I’d like to think of myself as too old and too world-weary to be sucked in by Instagram-worthy food. After all, I’ve been burned before by restaurants that proffer up food that looks good, but doesn’t do much else. Except as it turns out, I’m not quite as dead inside as I thought, because when photos like this started popping up on my Instagram feed, I was sucked in, hook, line, and sinker. Old School Ka-Fey, recently re-branded as Old Garden Kaffee, is currently the hottest (or is that the coldest) place to get your dessert on. For those of you familiar with Asian dessert cafes, the offerings are Old Garden are pretty typical. Think giant slabs of buttered brioche…

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Myeongdong Korean Restaurant

Like the next person, I love a good freebie. Nothing gets a restaurant into my good books like a quality serve of bread and butter, or a complimentary nibble served before a meal. And one thing that completely won me over in Korea was the generous varieties of free banchan that came with free refills, or better still, the self-serve station at the airport where I totally gorged myself on pickles and fish cakes. Being used to Melbourne’s banchan situation – that’s to say, 2-3 small dishes with each meal – I was already rather impressed with Sydney’s offerings, which usually ranges between 3-5 options. But when I heard about Meyongdong Korean Restaurant, my mind was completely blown. 12 banchan…

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Vecino

One of the most disappointing meals I’ve ever had was at a now-defunct restaurant called KOBA. I had been so excited for its promise of Korean and Mexican fusion, yet they fell so far off the mark in execution that it still stings to this day. This explained my mixed feelings when I first came across Vecino, another Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant, and what appears to be the one and only of its kind in Sydney. I was keen to see the concept finally done justice, yet I was afraid of being disappointed for a second time. Thankfully in the year or so it’s been open, Vecino has garnered some very positive reviews indeed, so it was with cautious optimism that…

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Arisun

Today is another celebratory dinner! Approximately 2 weeks after deciding that he would like a new job, Chris went ahead and got himself one at a schmancy 40th floor office, along with a rather respectable raise and some great on-the-job perks. This is especially impressive, given that he had been promoted to senior developer just earlier this year. I know it’s not good to brag – I promise my parents raised me better than this – but I’m just so darn proud of him!

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Yang San Park

The best Korean BBQ I’ve ever had? It would have to be that time in Seoul where I feasted on a whole 600g plate of pork belly. I’ve never before, or since, had pork belly that was quite so indulgently fatty and delicious. Just the thought of that smoky, juicy pork, wrapped with spicy bean paste and scallions in fresh salad leaves, makes my mouth water. Of course, I haven’t been foolish enough to try and replicate that experience since coming back to Australia. Not only do I think that I won’t be able to find any sensible place that will sell me 600g of pork belly at the degree of fattiness I found in Korea, it also just seems…

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