For the first timer, Korean restaurants can be like boarding a UFO. Space ship barbecues, novel aromas and alien looking vegetables. In the case of Jonga Jip, you're on the right ship.
I was compelled to investigate from some promising reviews. Jonga Jip is located right near Eastwood station. By the time we arrived, the room was filled to the brim - therefore we were ushered out to the back. The menu was standard fare, with the selection of meats taking up the better half. We ordered some brisket and chicken thighs, along with some Bibimpap - a signature dish of rice, eggs, meat and mushrooms.
Busy is a good thing
The biggest hook for this cuisine is the Banchan - side dishes. Korean restaurants offer a selection of these free of charge, with an additional choice of refills. Never in my time in Seoul did I encounter as much generosity as I did here. There were 11 in total, each with it's own quirky flavour. There were traditional ones like Kimchi (pickled cabbage) and Sukju Namul (seasoned beansprouts), alongside altogether absurd examples like Dotorimuk (seasoned cornstarch jelly cubes.) Picky eaters could be discouraged, yet the standard was high across the board.
Great social food
Korean barbeques centre on a DIY approach. The meats are served ready to be cooked on your own personal barbeque. The brisket was thin and vibrantly toned, and the chicken was thoroughly marinated. Once cooked, the thighs were sweet and flavoursome, and the beef was juicy and rich.
Was so full at the end
The Bibimbap was also fantastic. Once thoroughly stirred, the rice absorbs all of the flavours in the stone bowl. It's a dish so simple, it's genius. By the end, I was considerably more satiated than I had ever been from this cuisine. Truth be told, we had over-ordered, and we over-ate. On the other hand, the healthiness of the cuisine prevented all digestive punishment. For any locals that have never been...bukkeuleoun (shame on you.) For anyone that's not, know that it's worth the drive.
Right outside Korean Food Paradise
Where: 87 Rowe St Eastwood
Why: Authenticity and generous servings.
Cost: $15-20 for meat dishes, $10 for mains.
When: Dinner is best.