Backed by the popular demand of our Meetup group, we were asked about another Korea-town dining event, so we found ourselves at Jonga Jip Korean barbecue in Eastwood! No, no, it’s not a food crawl this time, but with a huge menu and a whopping ELEVEN different types of side dishes, it may as well be.
Whether you order one main or many, the banchan – traditional Korean side dishes to accompany every meal, spanning everything from acorn jellies, chilli fish cakes, pasta salad, pickled seaweed, cooked spinach and many more – always comes in the same number and variety. They change from time to time, and are complimentary with your meal and free flow, meaning that you can eat as much of them as you want!
Large Bossam, $48
We were there for the barbecue, but we also ordered a large Bo Ssam, $48, to share. This large woven tray is filled with cooked pork belly, fresh lettuce leaves, white kimchi, chilli pickled radish, raw oysters, carrot, cucumber, a sesame seed oil dressing, and ssamjang, which is a sauce made from chilli paste and fermented bean paste. Meant to be eaten at room temperature, Bo Ssam is a fantastic summer dish, a bit like a pork belly salad!
Large Japchae, $35
The Japchae, $35 for a large, is basically a Korean stir fried noodle. Springy sweet potato starch noodles are fried with capsicum, onions, spring onions, black fungus and beef, and is fragrant with sesame seed oil. Commonly served as a side dish, japchae is very much ‘party food’ to share with family and friends.
Seafood Pancake, $20
It won’t be a Korean meetup without crowd favourite, the Seafood Pancake, $20! Seafood and vegetables are barely held together with a flour batter, and fried into a large, thick pancake with crispy edges. It’s usually cut up at the table by your waitress with scissors, so that everyone can grab a piece!
Ginseng Stuffed Chicken Soup, $22
For the soup lovers, you can’t get past a Korean ginseng chicken soup. Believed to have many health properties, ginseng root is cooked into many soups and remedies, imparting a mildly bitter or medicinal flavour. In many Asian households, a ginseng soup is a symbol of comfort, and at Jonga Jip, they serve up a whole chicken stuffed with rice, that’s been cooked to the point of fall-of-the-bone-tender.
Pan Fried Dumplings, $10
As part of all our insane ordering, Jonga Jip very nicely gave us a plate of complimentary Pan Fried Dumplings, $10.
Mixed Barbecue Meat Platter, $68
And now, on to the main event! This Mixed Barbecue Meat Platter, $68, offers a range of meats that they offer for the table-top barbecue – pork belly, beef rib meat, marinated beef shortribs on the bone, and beef scotch fillet.
When you choose to go for the barbecue, a member of the waitstaff comes by and lifts the protective metal covers in the middle of the table, lights a gas stove, before lowering coals and a grill plate over the top for that amazing smoky flavour. All the meat is cooked at the table, and the scissors are there to help you portion out the meat to share. My favourite is the beef short rib on the bone – it takes the longest to cook, since it needs to be well done, but the sweet/savoury marinade made with onions, pears, sugar, soy and cooking sake bring out a rich flavour in the beef, which is that much more intense when the cut of meat in question is a short rib!
There’s no eating a Korean barbecue on your own – a big group is best – so it’s been great seeing familiar, and some new, people at this latest Meetup. There were lots of laughs and soju (something about one of the flavoured liquors tasting like Ribena?) had, and we rolled away, stuffed, to the frozen yoghurt shop across the street.
If you’d like to come along for the next event, you can join our Meetup group here or browse our event calendar. For corporate event enquiries or large group event planning, click to contact us about custom food crawl and food tour packages.
87 Rowe St Eastwood, NSW 2122
Phone: (02) 9858 5160