[Photographs: David Straight]
There are times when a city surprises you: just when you thought you knew it well, you find something wondrous. Yummy Korean does this. It’s a tiny little shop in Birkenhead, which, by the way, is becoming one of our favourite areas to eat. There is textured wallpaper and pictures of dishes on the walls and prosaic, though grammatical, descriptions. It is spotlessly clean, and almost always busy.
Best of all, it is run by a mum-and-pop couple who could not be more friendly. You walk in and they greet you like family. They suggest things on the menu. They smile encouragingly, and tell you how to eat the food – in the case of an ox-bone soup ($15) recently, you pull off the meat into a bowl, into which you scoop stock and vegetables, and then add some rice (“Oh yes! The rice is good in there like that!”) and dip it all in a mixture of wasabi and vinegar. It is wonderful, hearty soup, with that slightly offbeat savoury flavour that all good Korean has. We’re also inordinately fond of the potato soup ($15), in which you’ll find the aforementioned potatoes, as well as a couple of ox tails, and a beautiful, spicy, kimchi-based stock.
There are sizzling plates too, but we never go for those. It’s the soups we like. They arrive at the table in super-heated ceramic bowls, bubbling and furious, and they warm you up for days. It makes us feel hungry just thinking about them. Perfect for midwinter. SFG
HOURS Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.
ADDRESS 23 Mokoia Road, Birkenhead, ph 418-2004.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Free parking – you won’t find pay-and-display in Birkenhead.