CJ Lunchbar situated on the corner of Little Lonsdale St and Hardware St is a popular little eat out for those wanting a taste of Korea. CJ Lunchbar doesn’t just open for lunch like its name suggests, so you can get your Korean fix for dinner as well. What’s great about this place is that the food is good, very good and the servings are generous and value for money and their menu offers bento boxes, rice dishes, and a wide selection of hotplate and soup dishes to choose from.
Their Stonepot Bibimbap has all the ingredients for a tasty Bibimbap but it doesn’t come with the chilli paste that you’d often find provided with other Korean restaurants. Sometimes you find that the Bibimbap can be very bland, but fortunately this isn’t the case here.
One of their popular items is the Cheese Chicken Bulgogi, one night I saw like the majority of tables order it. It’s a little bit spicy, but the combination of melted cheese and marinated chicken on a hotplate is one of the best dishes you’d find around. So good.
CJ Lunchbar won’t win awards for being a relaxing dining experience, the tables are small and service is so-so but the food here is worth it.
Shop 2/391 Little Lonsdale Street (entrance on Hardware Street)
Melbourne VIC 3000
In Box Hill, there’s actually quite a few Korean eateries to choose from and although Nene’s Chicken made it’s mark first in Box Hill for Korean Fried Chicken, impressions haven’t been that great. Gami, on the other hand, has a number of outlets across town and positively received among many so it’s nice to see make its way to the east.
Gami is located in the newly refurbished office building next to Box Hill Institute’s Whitehorse Campus. It’s quite a cozy little joint but with great natural lighting that comes through. Of course we had to try the fried chicken, and of course, we had to try the spicy variety.
I love the crispiness of the exterior, and the slightly sweet but mainly spicy coating is delicious. You’d probably best eat these at a quicker pace as the sauce tends to soften the crispy chicken a bit but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless.
The Soy Garlic variety, is a great complement to the spicy option. Having one spicy and then a sweeter one balances it out. The chicken was also well cooked, not dry and still tender inside.
All Fried Chicken comes with Cabbage Salad and Pickled Radish. The tomato mayo dressing is interesting.
We were recommended to try their Potato Heaven, which is basically mash potato plus cheese, sour cream and wedges and with sweet chilli sauce drizzled on top. I must say, this is so addictive, you can’t stop at one mouthful. So incredibly rich, but so tasty.
You also can’t go wrong with their G Beer Pale Ale (Gun:Bae), which is exclusive to Gami. The “hoppy” ness and fruitiness reminded me of Hoegaarden a bit, but don’t take my word for it. I don’t actually know my beers that well!
Gami, Korean Fried Chicken done right.
Gami Box Hill
Shop 1, 990 Whitehorse Road,
Box Hill VIC 3128
BBQ Code on Springvale Road, Glen Waverley offers Korean cuisine, specifically, Korean BBQ but they also offer the more commonly known Korean dishes such as Bibimbap, Korean Fried Chicken and Kimchi Soup. There aren’t many Korean restaurants in Glen Waverley, so it’s presence in the area is much welcomed. The Bibimbap is flavourful with fresh vegetables and tasty seasoning. It’s quite good value!
Their Pork and Beef BBQ items comes with complimentary condiments like Korean pancake, Kimchi and Potato salad and the staff look after the cooking for you; unlike some Korean venues.
Their Pork and Beef items are nicely cooked, seasoned well and they come with a seasoning salt and chilli sauce for you as well. Though, price wise it’s definitely on the high end of things.
I’d probably recommend Korean BBQ places like ChangGo or Wooga in the city for taste and good value. BBQ Code is nice, but not worth the price to pay.
249 Springvale Road
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Gangnam Station is one of the few Korean restaurants in Box Hill. Located on Carrington Street, it’s just across the road from Box Hill Central and from the notorious parking lot. They serve your Korean resaurant staples such as Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Korean Pancakes, and of course KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), however most dishes do lean towards the pricier side of things but I believe they also offer a few special dishes for lunch on weekdays.
Gangnam’s Stone Bowl Bibimbap, has all the ingredients for a tasty Bibimbap. I love the stone pot cooked rice, with it’s crispy and crunchy exterior. Flavourwise, it was severely lacking and the chilli sauce accompaniment was much needed to bring it all together. Don-Udon’s Stone Pot Bibimbap is excellent in comparison, with just enough seasoning and flavour.
I haven’t found a Korean restaurant that can do a Jap Chae like Don-Udon, or even close. Here it lacks the that certain “wok flavour” that is much needed for the potato noodles, otherwise it tastes just like a simple soy sauce stir fry. This was probably one of the more disappointing versions (the overpriced Guhng is another) I’ve tried.
Their Spicy Chicken Broth was probably one of the better soups I’ve had. However, haven’t come across a bad one yet! On a cold winters day, this will be very satisfying.
Gangnam Station is probably not one of the best Korean restaurants but I’ve had a few decent meals here apart from their Jap Chae and Bibimbap. However, there are a few other Korean restaurants in Box Hill that are more bang for the buck and tastier like Don-Udon and Yami Yami.
5 Carrington Road
Box Hill VIC 3128
Making this soup from the Korean Fermented Hot Pepper Paste was one of my first experimentations in making a soup. With very few recipes out there, I was left to my own devices but have slowly refined the recipe to what it is now. What I love about this soup is there are a couple of ingredients that can drastically change the taste, so you could have a Kimchi soup, a bold Beef flavoured soup, or even a Seafood soup. Because of it’s interchangeability, I do enjoy making it, just thinking what I could add to make it different from the last time. So here’s my tried, and tested recipe below!
Kimchi, Beef & Tofu Soup (Yukgaejang)
Serves: 6-8 people
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
100g hot pepper paste (fermented)
1L beef stock
2 shallots, sliced
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1 tbs raw sugar
300g beef, Slices or Chunks
500g firm tofu, diced
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 tbsp salt (if not adding kimchi)
1. Pour the beef stock and water into a large/high saucepan or pot and bring to boil on medium to high heat.
2. Add in the pepper paste and stir in until all the paste has dissolved into the liquid.
3. Add in the shallots, salt and sugar and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
Note: Depending on the cut of beef you use, you may add the beef now if it requires longer cooking time or if you are using beef slices you can add these towards the end. Salt is optional if already adding kimchi that has salt in it.
4. Lower the heat to medium, add in the kimchi and beef and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes to allow the beef and kimchi flavour to infuse in the soup base.
5. Before serving, add in the diced tofu and eggs and stir. Add in most of the chives to the pot, you can also sprinkle a small amount of chives into individual soup bowls as well.
6. Serve as is, or with a bowl of rice.
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