So it was Ga Bin that our resident Asian food-deprived soul decided on to have dinner the moment she arrived from rural South Australia. With just the three of us, we settled for the large kimchi hotpot. Before long, the waiter brought four little saucers of side dishes. The fishcakes were average, the marinated beansprouts refreshing, the kimbap interesting and the kimchi lacking the anticipated punch of flavour.
Soon after, the portable stove was set in the middle of the table and a large steaming flat pot swimming with tofu, kimchi and vegetables was rested atop the stove. The colour was invitingly ferocious and the tangy waft of kimchi was our final memory of anticipation before diving into our meal.
Fishing around the pot, I found sweet potato cellophane noodles. That went into my bowl. I also managed to catch a few silvers of pork and enoki mushroom. The noodles were cooked just about nicely and the meat was flavoursome albeit a bit low in volume. Vegetables will remain vegetables. They were alright. At the end of it, we were nicely satiated but remained wistful of a truly splendid Korean dinner.
Now, that was my second time at Ga Bin. The first, however, was a far greater experience. Again, it was a group of three and we had a truly enjoyable meal.
The helpful waiter recommended all the dishes for dinner. Ginseng chicken was available but remained off the menu. This was perfect for the very cold night it was. Although scoring high on the yum factor, I have had better Samgyetang. Blame it on my previous trip to Korea and my very clever Korean housemate.
The handmade Jjajangmyun was bouncy and utterly delicious, nothing like the dreaded instant ones from the Asian grocery that leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. Heavy on the onions and drenched in thick sweet sauce, I could have been satisfied with just this alone.
But not after having this garlic fried chicken. A must have if you pay Ga Bin a visit, the chicken was cut into bite-sized cubes, coated with batter, garlic and spices then fried into crispy nubbins of goodness. Do not be fooled by the fiery redness, my photograph quality is painfully terrible anyway.
The next time you are in the city and craving for something Korean, hit Ga Bin. I think the owners would appreciate greater customer flow. Oh, and please do keep this place hopping. The fried chicken is totally worth it.
Ga Bin | 144 Grote Street, SA 5000 | (08) 82319996