Madtongsan Korean Cuisine
Shop 28, Elizabeth Arcade, 99 Elizabeth St, Brisbane
You should know by now that I love my Elizabeth Arcade eateries. After uni in the city, I welcome with open arms any cheap, convenient food outlet that has lots of options.
I don't frequently get cravings for Korean food but there's been a few bouts in recent weeks. Usually, an itching for Korean cuisine is represented by a change in the palate towards anything chili, garlicky or sour (or, more likely than not, all of the above).
Today, I was in the mood for Korean barbecue. I started having strange thoughts about sitting in a room full of people barbecuing pork belly and being smoked in the smells and flavors. Don't freak out on me now... I swear food dreams aren't an everyday occurrence for me. I haven't taken my love for food THAT far.
Having said that, when the mood strikes, why fight it?
We headed to Madtongsan for a cheap bbq fix.
The restaurant is quite small but there's an upper level that is slightly more tucked away. Now you're in on the secret too :).
The menu's got lots to chose from - a few bbq options, hotpot, soups, rice dishes and snacks.
We ordered a pork belly bbq set, as per plan and also a bulgolgi stew to share. Bulgolgi is one of those typical Korean dishes that I can never get sick of so I thought the stew version might be an interested rendition. My friend (who's Korean) was telling me how she cooks it the other day and she made me SOOOO hungry... come to think of it, she's probably the one who planted the idea of Korean food in my subconscious mind.
Water and cutlery is self-serve. The food came out pretty quickly.
The barbeque is of the DIY variety. The pork belly pieces are all set out for you on one of those George Forman type hotplates where the fat is supposed to drip out into a little vat. Trust me, this is a good thing. About half the meat is white, i.e. fat; and this is especially obvious when it's raw.
Accompanying the bbq meat is half a head of lettuce, some raw onion, dipping sauce (sesame oil and chili paste) and if you want, some rice too (for extra $). I'm not sure what the authentic way of doing it is but I usually dip some meat in the chili paste and wrap in the lettuce. I suppose it's really whatever goes.
The bulgolgi stew was really nice!! This might be sacrilegious to the food but I'm not a fan of kim-chi laden dishes where the only thing you can taste is kim-chi. When ordering Korean food, I tend to steer clear of anything too red. This stew is sweet... literally sweet.
There's a bit of a sukiyaki vibe since there's marinated beef and a soy-based soup. I love the bits of onion and potato noodle. I hate raw iceberg lettuce but I ended up dipping the leaves in this soup to soak up the flavors. I think it's quite healthy too (or so I tell myself).
I like this place because of the price, fast service, good variety and the fact that it takes card. Thumbs up.