My favourite word at the moment is teppinyaki. Actually that’s a lie, it’s tied with Nusa Dua. I’m still on my search for teppinyaki ala How I Met Your Mother style. Till that day happens I will try alternative versions still using a grill but without the cool flippy chef moves. Today’s treat takes us to Korea, neither north or south but a Korean grill on Barrack Street. Took Bae Kee II was a pleasant surprise considering it was close to the dodgy end of Barrack street. Thanks to a spreets voucher I went with the Myer girls to enjoy a Korean grill price for the cheap and cheerful price of $10 each. This gave us two choices from the dumplings and grill section of the menu. After much indecisiveness here is what we chose:
• Kimchee and a bit of pork seasonal vegetables steamed dumplings (that’s exactly what the menu said – a bit of pork)
• Sweet potato noodles and seasonal vegetables fried dumplings
• Thick sliced soy chicken with seasoned vegetables
• Thin sliced beef oyster blade in special seasoned soy sauce marinade with seasonal vegetables
I am sometimes wary with those cheap internet vouchers but this was a fantastic deal and we enjoyed a great selection of food. The table was set out with a few condiments including soy beans and kimchee. The grill was positioned in the middle of the table and located dangerously near my elbow was a bell to call for service. What an amazing invention! I felt like a naughty kid though because my elbow ‘accidentally’ kept hitting it. This is great for ordering extra water and rice but no so great for ordering extra lettuce, that request was ignored. Besides that minor hiccup the service was spot on and attentive throughout this grilling experience. I am first to admit my knowledge of Korean cuisine is very limited. I have been fascinated with kimchee for awhile now as I have heard it has amazing health benefits because of its fermentation. I had never tried it and I enjoyed the kick of spice that came with it. When I go to the dentist tomorrow I think I’ll buy a jar from the Asian store next door. The kimchee and a bit of pork steam dumpling was seasoned nicely but it did have a rubbery texture around the edges that I discarded. It also needed some dunking in the soy sauce for extra flavour. The sweet potato noodles dumpling was a bit confusing for me because I thought the noodles would be made of sweet potato. I was wrong, it was vermicelli noodles with grated sweet potato. Same same but different. At the same those dumplings were put on the table I got distracted by the sound of grilling. The waitress carefully arranged the oyster mushrooms and chicken mixture in the pan. I got so excited. So by the time I remembered to eat my dumpling it was cold and rubbery. My own fault on that one. The chicken was delicious with the rice and vegetables. Thanks to Kirsty for the great idea of wrapping the chicken in lettuce and eating with our hands. By that stage I was struggling with my metallic chopsticks. I’m not going to lie I struggle with wooden chopsticks as well – I’m one of those people who dart the chopstick in the prawn dumpling at dim sum. The beef was next to hit the grill and we watched this closely because we prefer it on the medium rare side. The chicken we didn’t mind to leave cooking because let’s face it we didn’t want salmonella but unfortunately it left for some hard bits. The beef was tender and my favourite of the two. I think I was in a beef mood though. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this dining experience. Here I was thinking that we would be cooking the food ourselves, which I’m not a fan of because I don’t go to a restaurant to cook. Sorry Arirang (another Korean restaurant on Barrack Street) you lose brownie points there. I would definitely go back there even without a cheap deal. For the amount of food you get and the fun you having ringing the door bell (okay maybe that’s just me) and having food grilled in front of you then Took Bae Kee II is a winner chicken dinner.
THE FOOD JOURNEY