Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hwa Gae Korean Restaurant, Eastwood

My friend Fiona had just arrived back in Sydney after a month-long trip to the US, and keen for catching up I decided to head up her way to Eastwood for lunch. As a well-acquainted local, she knows all the best places around the suburb to eat and we decide on Hwa Gae Korean Restaurant. When we first arrived at 1PM it was already full, so we ended up getting some snacks and shopping before going back at around 2. By then we weren't too hungry, and the menus wasn't very big so Fi suggested we share the dolsot bibimbap, a popular Korean dish compromised of rice, mixed vegetables, meat and egg served in a hot pot.

Hwa Gae_starters
Banchan side dishes

Banchan (side dishes) were quickly brought out and included kimchi, kongnamul (bean sprouts), potato salad, jeon (Korean pancake) and ojingeochae bokkeum (dried shredded shrimp). These were refilled without request, although Fi says she's been there many times before and it's the first time they've done this. The kimchi was okay, sufficiently spicy and sour but my favourite was the jeon and potato salad. We also received two bowls of clear broth with shallots, which I assume went with the bibimbap that followed right after.

Hwa Gae dolsot bibimbamp
Dolsot bibimbamp $13.80

Hwa Gae dolsot bibimbamp
Mixing the bibimbap

The bibimbap arrived with spinach, cucumber, bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, gosari and beef mince topped off with a fresh egg yolk and a generous scattering of sesame seeds. Fiona does the honours and breaks the egg yolk, mixing all the toppings through the rice and adding Korean BBQ sauce. The result was a sizzling, scrummy mixture of vegetables, rice and meat held together by bits of egg and sauce, with the layer of rice at the edge of the bowl cooked crisp to a golden brown colour - you can see the steam rising off the edges of the bowl.

Dolsot Bibimbamp
Before & after

Hwa Gae Korean Restaurant
8 Railway Pde, Eastwood 2122
Telephone: (02) 9874 3788

Hwa Gae on Urbanspoon

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