I’m a fan of Korean food – barbecued meat on the table, a gazillion side dishes, deliciously marinated dishes, and chewy sweet potato noodles… Mr Ana and I frequented a little Korean restaurant in the Fortitude Valley for years, but sadly that has been closed for years.
Thankfully there are quite a few decent Korean restaurants in Brisbane, including Madtongsan. I’ve been going to Madtongsan on Elizabeth Street for years, however another branch (the third actually) recently opened up in the Southside. I’ve been there a few times and thought it was about time to write about it 🙂
Mr Ana and I dropped in for a light lunch and selected a few favourites. We started with a kimchi jeon – a kimchi and pork belly pancake ($9.90 for large). It is one of my favourites. It contains sauteed onions, little bits of pork belly, pickled cabbage (not hot kimchi though), and julienned carrots. Accompanied with a soy sauce, it is a yummy tangy starter to munch on with your side dishes.
Now I’m a BIG fan of Korean side dishes. My absolute favourite is sookju namul – blanched beansprouts seasoned with seseme oil, salt, and shallots. Another is house made kimchi. And Madtongsan made some wonderful kimchi – very fresh, a quick bite of heat, which gives way to a pleasant tangy taste. The other sides we had were candied sweet potato (yum!) and a pasta salad.
We also ordered (ok, I ordered) some man du – fried dumplings filled with pork, vegetables, and noodles ($7.90). Now, you’d know by now that I’m a fan of dumplings, and these are no exception. I am used to Japanese gyoza or standard asian pork dumplings, however these really are different from the usual. Crispy fried skin, filled with marinated pork and vegetables, and of course, my favourite sweet potato noodles. Very very nice.
I’m a big fan of bi bim bap – a rice dish served in a hot stone bowl, which results in a crispy rice coating on the bowl. Today we ordered yook kwe bi bim bap – raw beef with seasoned vegetables on top of rice in a hot stone bowl. You can either leave it for a bit so the beef stays raw (Mr Ana’s preference), or mix it in the bowl which cooks the beef slightly (my preference).
The chilli bean paste that accompanies the dish is not as hot as it looks (it is spicy though) and coats the rice beautifully. My favourite sookju namul always comes in this dish, as well as seasoned zucchini and sometimes some shitaki mushrooms.
We also ordered a bi bim bap with cooked beef – my favourite. I asked for a cooked egg with mine, but usually it comes raw. Now, the trick is to leave the bowl untouched for 5 minutes or so, which gives time for the rice to crisp up on the bottom of the stone bowl – makes a great crunch to eat!
Other dishes that we enjoy include bo ssam (poached pork slices served with fresh lettuce), dok bokki (rice cakes, fish cakes and noodles sauted in spice sauce – hot but yum), and anything BBQed 🙂
For some reason Korean food isn’t as popular as Japanese food and I’m not sure why – I’m thankful that there are so many places to eat Korean food here in Brisbane!