LIVING IN MODERATION
Korea has been in the news a lot lately due to North Korea’s silly threat to start a battle and South Korea’s preparation to protect themselves. I personally don’t think it’s ever going to happen as I know that North Korea is quite poor and I doubt if they have any military power to even last a day if they shall start an attack.
Anyway, I’m not here to talk about politics!
Ten years ago, Korean food barely existed in my world. All of a sudden, I’m not sure when exactly, Korean-ness is everywhere, especially in Southeast Asia. I believe it is a result of a very consistent, strong, and cleverly thought out strategy by the South Korean government to export ‘Korean culture’ to the world as part of their economic development over the past few years.
There are quite a few Korean restaurants in Melbourne. Most of them offer DIY BBQ at your table with choices of marinated meat and also a la carte dishes. A variety of small side dishes like kimchi, marinated bean sprouts, and small candied potatoes are complimentary with any meal and they are what I LOVE the most about Korean food. Some places are all-you-can-eat style so they are perfect for meat lovers (but a no-go zone for those who are calorie-conscious…). When you enter most Korean restaurants here, you can expect to see a griller full of meat on tables, smell the food, and hear Korean pop tunes. Well, not at this one!
Located in the heart of Richmond, or what I call ‘the Little Asia’, it is tucked away inside an old building at the corner of Victoria and Nicholson street. I have walked past it many times in daylight but the place seems to become more noticeable in the evening. We were actually quite amazed by how they utilize such small space and turn it into this funky little restaurant.
The menu was given with a booklet showing pictures of some of the dishes on the menu. This ‘DOSIRAK’ caught my eye and I knew straight away that I’d have to try it.
While waiting for food, we discovered that the griller on the table is actually just a decor gimmick. What’s cool about it is, and I’m not sure if every customer realizes this, it’s actually a storage underneath! very handy when storage is very limited in such a small restaurant.
Then our food arrives. We ate joyfully listening to techno music in the background.
The food was simple and delicious. Nothing short of my expectation. The Dosirak was rather on the sweet side, but that seems to be the standard taste of bulgogi marinade anywhere. The grilled pork belly and beef ribs, on the other hand, was not heavily marinated, which was great. I cleaned out even the two piles of onions underneath the meat.
Because it is such a small restaurant with probably 25 seats max, if you want to go there with a few friends, I’d recommend making a reservation, like the group of people next to us.
All in all, Seoul Soul is definitely not so-so. It is a fun place for a quick Korean meal. The price may seem a little higher than $10 Pho you can easily get from many surrounding vietnamese restaurants, but it is reasonable in my opinion and it certainly brings ‘hipness’ to the rather ‘too typical’ jaded Asian eatery scene on Victoria street.
Last but not least….
Yes, all of you guys, especially in the North, please make more food, NOT war, because Korean food is pretty awesome!
Kamsahamnida (‘Thank you’ in Korean)