Monday, May 13, 2013

Hancook for Dinner

Hancook Korean Restaurant 

Every now and again things just work out perfectly. It's rare but even the smallest happy coincidences create a fist-pump moment in my heart. One night, I was craving Korean food and it just so happened that we had a booking/coupon for a Korean restaurant that night! Woohoo! Stars aligned.

I saw a Travelzoo deal for Hancook in my inbox and it looked pretty good so I clicked to buy. We had a minor hiccup getting to the restaurant because we walked past the shopping centre it's located in (Marc pointed and said "is it in there?" to which I incorrectly responded "no"). The restaurant is on the second floor of Princess Plaza, on Annerley Road, next to Ben's Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant.

Hancook is fairly large and easily identifiable as being Korean by the numerous individual suction vents hanging from the ceiling. They're used for Korean BBQ to stop the room getting filled with smoke. I normally like to order Korean BBQ but our coupon was for a bibimbap meal so we went along with that.

I don't normally order bibimbap, not because it's not tasty, but because it's hard not to choose BBQ or something like bulgolgi instead. I find it amusing that at almost every Korean restaurant I've seen that serves bibimbap, there'll be instructions on how to eat it. It's essentially a rice dish served with a variety of toppings (raw or pre-cooked) in a piping hot stone bowl. You then stir the ingredients around to cook it within the bowl. It's not really that difficult is it? The trick is to leave a bit of rice unstirred at the bottom of the bowl, which allows it to get crispy.

Beef bibimbap - rice topped with various cooked vegetables, plus beef tenderloin marinated in soy sauce and a raw egg, served with gochujang (red chili paste) or soy sauce

Our coupon entitled us to a choice of bibimbap each. I went for the beef one, which also came topped with a raw egg, raw zucchini, carrot and bean sprouts.

Stir stir stir

I mixed it all together and tried it. Very tasty! I nearly demolished the whole bowl, which is notable for me because I normally shun rice.

Stir-fried seafood bibimbap - rice topped with various cooked vegetables, plus stir fried seafood and a raw egg, served with gochujang (red chili paste) or soy sauce

Marc went with the seafood bibimbap. He customised it to being a spicy version by loading it up with chili sauce. I tried some of his but personally liked my own better. Marc did think it was a very decent and filling serving size though.

We were supposed to have an entree each as well but well into our bibimbap mains, the entrees were still nowhere to be seen. We chased this up with a waitress who apologised and went to enquire in the kitchen.

Fried dumplings

For our entree, we could choose between the dumplings or spring onion pancakes, so we went for one each. The dumplings were very oily and the filling reminded me of Chicko rolls. They weren't the best dumplings I've tried.

Spring onion pancake

Marc was curious about the flavor of the pancake and I told him it was spring onion, which is a common style of Shanghainese pancake. In Shanghai, they're made crispy with lots of layers. This version had a spongy texture, which I didn't find as appealing. Both the dumplings and pancakes came with a light soy dressing.

We had a pretty good time at Hancook. The service was friendly despite a slight blunder with our entrees. The food was alright but not as good as the Korean restaurants in the city (my opinion).
Hancook on Urbanspoon

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