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For those that are regular readers of the blog, you’ll know that I went to Japan in December 2012. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t yet been able to blog everything I’ve eaten there yet, so you’ll have to be patient with me. Expect a sprinkling of posts from Japan here and there for the next couple months. Here’s one I can’t wait to share: my first experience at a Michelin starred restaurant.
This is an okay spot for some quick, cheap and easy Korean food downtown. If you don’t care much for quality and place more emphasis on price, this may be the place for you. Because of the cold weather I was more in the mood for something warmer so I got a hot noodle soup with vegetables and beef to warm me up. My friends both got the stir fried noodles, one with beef and the other with chicken. To be honest, this time going to La Maison Bulgogi wasn’t anything to write home about. All dishes we had were on the blander side, and were fairly standard if not slightly below average expectations. The only dish I would go out of my way to recommend here is cold buckwheat noodle soup, ideal in the summertime. Bathed in ice cubes on the hotter days (I’m serious), it is quite the vinegar-y dish. It comes with a bottle of vinegar so that you can add as you like. That one is great. Otherwise though, you can choose to pass by here. Or not.
One of those quick in and out restaurants, Sumo Ramen specializes in… you guessed it. Ramen noodles. The large cartoon sumo wrestler that represents the place is instantly recognizable, giving the place a bit of edge over say, Hakata Ramen. With the majority of the clientele being student based, the prices are friendly and quite reasonable. We ordered a Heineken and a standard milk tea with bubbles. I have to say that the bubble tea here is not the best you can get in the city. The milk tea did not taste super fresh – more like it was made out of a powder or something concentrated. The tapioca balls seemed thin and lacked substance – they were not chewy or bouncy like you would expect them to be. I would suggest going to Magic Idea for a proper cup of bubble tea instead. I do definitely appreciate Sumo Ramen’s effort though.
As we headed along Prince Arthur towards Frite Alors! for an easy, quick and hearty meal, Cochoo caught our eye with their gorgeous terrace. The great big wooden benches and arm chairs loosely tucked under the thick gold-yellow wooden tables just looked perfect under the glow of the Korean flag themed lanterns – plus we could enjoy the night breeze a little closer to home. After preliminarily checking out the menu, we decided to give the place a shot. Talking with the chef who too was sitting outside with his friends, we found out that the place has only been open for two months! We love what they did with the place, that’s for sure. So we had the yukke bibimbap which was served in a hot stone bowl with raw egg and meat inside that would cook as you mixed the food around. So cool! This came with a miso soup which had a heavier taste than I am used to, but was good nonetheless. We had a bibimbap combo that included a pork stew as well as another hot stone dish with cabbage, fiddleheads and a whole array of different veggies on top of rice. All in all, the place was warm and welcoming and the food was pretty good. Prices are more than reasonable and while the menu selection may be a little more limited, the place is definitely worth checking out if you’re into Korean food and in the area.
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Qing Hua Dumplings has an unassuming looking exterior – to the average passerby, the place could be easily overlooked. Serving some of the most authentic, delicious soup dumplings I’ve had in the city (yes, even better than Chinatown), Qing Hua provides fast service, an approachable menu and great food.