I’ve been having a lot of Korean food lately, but that’s more than understandable given the weather. Korean food’s warm and sweet/hot and spicy palates were made for cold climates, and Melbourne has been having way too much of that recently.
Because I’m such an eager study beaver, we didn’t get to Mook Ji Bar until past 6:30pm, by which time the little eatery was packed out with students ordering way more food than they can possibly eat. We stood around salivating for just under 10 minutes before a table freed up, and we ordered straight away, having perused the menu thoroughly whilst waiting.
Cute little paper drinking cups! I called dibsies on the rhino, leaving Chris to sip from a cup covered with pink dolphins. Love <3
Whilst waiting for the mains, I dug into some Banchan and Rice ($2pp) – I was starving. There was the obligatory kimchi, which was very fresh but lacking in flavour, slices of fluorescent pickled radish that was sweet and juicy, and satisfyingly crunchy preserved radish in a thick chilli sauce.
Beef Bulgogi Hot Pot ($15)
It was freezing outside, so of course we had to have the Beef Bulgogi Hot Pot ($15). This is everything I love in winter – a hot, flavoursome stew filled with veggies, beef slices, and sweet potato noodles. The cloudy beef broth was especially good; very umami with a good depth of flavour, and a light sweetness from the mushroom and zucchini that’s been steeping in it. And best of all, it stayed scalding hot right throughout the entire meal, warming us to our fingertips.
We also ordered a plate of Tteokbokki ($15), which was off the entree menu but was actually huge. This was a mixture of chewy, stodgy cylinders of rice cake, slices of fish tofu, and bewilderingly enough, two types of fried dumpling. It was all doused in a sweet and spicy sauce, the fieriness and heavy carb content making for perfect winter fuel.
I liked Mook Ji Bar way more than I thought I would. I had expected some sort of basic Korean eatery, serving food in small-ish portions with forgettable flavours. On the contrary, everything was generously doled out and the food was tasty, with the exception of the beef hot pot, which was delicious. I may have been freezing and starving at the time but I’m sure it’d be just as good even when I’m not.
Rating: 14/20 – bulgogi hot pot.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. And the number of hairs on Obama’s head.