Corea Corea, Orchid Plaza, Cairns

Off the flight in balmy Cairns, checked in at the hotel, set up work exhibition stuff, and we’re hungry! The three of us walked down to Orchid Plaza near the hotel for lunch, and in this more or less Little Japan/Asia of a small mall, a particular hot plate menu caught Richard’s attention.

Corea Corea Korean Cuisine, not to be mistaken for any other place named Corea Corea that has nothing to do with Korea, serves Korean cuisine. Richard and I both love spicy food, so I was very happy to see a menu that has a chilli icon next to literally half its items. We ordered a different dish each and a little while later, our sizzling hot Korean hot plates came sizzling.

Corea Corea, Cairns: Spicy Chicken Hot Plate
Corea Corea, Cairns: Spicy Chicken Hot Plate ($12.95)

Spicy barbecued chicken on a hot plate, barbecued right and served with white rice and shredded lettuce. The spicy level of this dish was not very detectable probably due to my super high tolerance. Don’t be fooled by this camera angle though, because there’s quite a lot of meat under the lettuce pile.

Corea Corea, Cairns: Barbecued Beef Hot Plate
Corea Corea, Cairns: Barbecued Beef Hot Plate ($11.95)

See, a hot plate could look like this when you spin it around. The barbecued beef is one of the non-spicy dishes, which might be why I enjoyed the chicken more. Many of the hot plate dishes also come in hot stone pot format for a few more dollars, with the barbecued beef pot and spicy chicken pot at $14.95 each.

Corea Corea, Cairns: Seafood Pancake
Corea Corea, Cairns: Seafood Pancake ($19.95)

Despite my preference for super spicy food, I ordered the seafood pancake that didn’t come with a chilli icon on the menu, and despite the lack of a chilli icon, the seafood pancake did come with some sliced chilli in it, but despite the sliced chilli, the giant pancake wasn’t actually spicy at all. This is probably a bit heavy for a lunch for the average person (note: Vickie is not an average person), but the accompanying soy dipping sauce balanced out the greasiness of the dish well. Worth the slightly longer wait than the other two!

Overall, Corea Corea offers quick hearty meals for a good price. The only way I think I could enjoy this meal more was if the Cairns’ winter was actually cold!

Korean seafood pancake, haemul pajeon (해물파전).

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Moim Japanese Kitchen, Kirrawee

Moim Kitchen in Kirrawee offers predominantly Japanese foods such as sushi, sashimi and udon, but also other Asian dishes such as Korean bulgogi and bibimbap, and Chinese-inspired sweet and sour chicken. We had a 7:30 pm booking for our catch-up dinner, with two vegetarians at our table of eight!

We were unfortunate enough tonight to be seated in the back function room next to a table of a dozen happy, loud and tipsy ladies, and later a table in the other direction of a group celebrating a birthday. The noise level was quite awful for the large part of the night, but we’re here for the food as much as the catching up. No? Just me? tongue

Our table got the Moim Banquet A ($35 per person), customised to feed the vegetarians, and Richard and I decided to be uncooperative and opted out of it. Did I mention that half our table also arrived late? That, set menu deviations, and a quarter of the table not even interested in it. Sounds like the perfect setup for unhappy staff.

Dishes from the banquet gradually appeared in the order of the menu (which I didn’t take many pictures of because I didn’t want to be too disruptive), and I waited and waited for my sushi platter to show up. Richard got his chicken katsu rolls and karaage udon first.

Moim Japanese Kitchen: Chicken Katsu Rolls
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Chicken Katsu Rolls ($8.80)

Hmm, not the most visually appealing sushi rolls, also a little small in size. The udon with the 3 pieces of chicken karaage smelt so good, though.

Moim Japanese Kitchen: Karaage Chicken Udon
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Karaage Chicken Udon ($13.80)

I was getting quite impatient, but my platter finally arrived about an hour after order. The Sushi & Sashimi Combo 2 ($41.80) has the following items:

  • 4 oysters
  • a dozen slices of various sashimi (6 slices of salmon, 3 tuna, 3 kingfish)
  • 3 fresh nigiri (1 salmon, 1 tuna, 1 kingfish)
  • 6 aburi salmon nigiri
  • 8 unnamed maki (“sushiroll”)
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Sushi & Sashimi Combo 2
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Sushi & Sashimi Combo 2 ($41.80)

The Combo 2 platter, along with the junior Combo 1 ($23.80), are the only menu items that offer traditional nigiri. While the raw seafood tasted fresh and the aburi salmon super delicious, I didn’t really like the mysterious sushi rolls with the salad filling (which I later identified to be the “Kirrawee” rolls on the menu — probably). There’s nothing inherently wrong with the rolls apart from its messier appearance; it’s just not the type of sushi I would normally order. I wish Moim offered independent fresh nigiri items on the menu.

There was plenty of food to go around (or the shameless gimme some of those food vibes that I broadcast worked), so I got to try a few main dishes from the Moim Banquet A.

Moim Japanese Kitchen: Mixed BBQ
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Mixed BBQ (part of Banquet A)

Barbecued chicken, beef (bulgogi) and pork belly! The Mixed BBQ plate could probably have been substituted for the vegetable grill, but I was glad they kept the meat version. My favourite was the well-marinated chicken. To quote one of the fellow meateaters: “I like the taste of death.” tongue

Moim Japanese Kitchen: Chicken Shabu Shabu
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Chicken Shabu Shabu (part of Banquet A)

This arrived as the last big dish before dessert! I thought shabu shabu was always thinly sliced beef, but we had the chicken variation tonight. The pot has a cellophane noodle base with a lot of vegetables and cooked chicken sitting on top. Got to love a hearty pot of fresh vegetables on the stove! (I might have finished most of it.)

Moim Japanese Kitchen: Spring Rolls
Moim Japanese Kitchen: Spring Rolls (complimentary; $4 otherwise)

If starting late and customising the banquet menu weren’t enough to upset the staff, we didn’t realise we were massively overstaying until one of them told us that they in fact closed at 10 pm, 40 minutes ago! On our way out, the staff were actually still smiling and thanked us for dining there.

How well a non-vegetarian restaurant cater for vegans and vegetarians had never been something I paid much attention to, and I was quite impressed with how Moim juggled everything. Despite the largely positive experience, I don’t quite see myself returning for the sushi. Maybe to try the bibimbap?

Moim Japanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Jean’s Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel

With Richard’s help (thanks a million! heart ), I spent all day packing and moving to my new place today. We were suitably starving after so as soon as we unloaded the last box, we went on a desperate hunt for food. We drove out to Eastwood Station and found lots of Chinese restaurants on one side and Korean on the other, but none tickled our fancy tonight. We decided to pop in to Eastwood Hotel when we walked past for what we thought would be a pub dinner. To our surprise, even the kitchen inside the hotel was Korean and the place was absolutely buzzing.

Jean's Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel: Takeaway Menu Page 1
Jean’s Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel: Takeaway Menu Page 1

We flicked through the menu at the counter and quickly agreed that everything looked delicious. We picked the Chilli BBQ Chicken (3 chilli rating; $32) and the BBQ Duck (1 chilli rating; $34), plus a serving of plain steamed rice for Richard. The counter staff looked me the Asian girl up and down and said their servings were very big, then looked Richard the white boy up and down and said their chilli dishes were very hot. We brushed her aside and assured her we love our heat and giant portions (we do!); inside, we were quite certain nothing here would be spicy enough for us and I’d probably need a second dinner.

Jean's Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel: Takeaway Menu Page 2
Jean’s Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel: Takeaway Menu Page 2

The place was so packed we weren’t sure if we’d be able to find anywhere to sit, but we managed to get a nice little booth with three TV screens nearby. Total win! After a while, a waitstaff brought the dishes to us.

Jean's Chilli Chicken, Eastwood Hotel
Jean’s Chilli Chicken: BBQ Chilli Chicken (front middle), BBQ Roast Duck (right with salad on top), self-serve rice balls (right back & far left), complimentary Korean pickles and pasta salad (middle back)

The first dishes that came were some Korean pickles and pasta salad that we never ordered, but the waitstaff told us they’re complimentary. The dishes we ordered arrived after. The counter staff didn’t lie; their portions were massive indeed. We also received two silver bowls of warm rice with a bit of seaweed in it. Not quite the plain white rice we expected, but if they provided a disposable glove each for the DIY rice ball rolling fun, DIY rice balls we’d make.

We attacked the main dishes. Holy. Macaroni. The Chilli BBQ Chicken was super tender and had a lovely smoky taste that you could just tell was properly charcoal barbecued, and it was mildly spicy. No, it was moderately spicy. No no, it was actually legitimately spicy. The BBQ Duck wasn’t as hot and the pieces were hidden under a huge bed of green leaf salad, but they were equally tender and tasty. We downed every single piece of meat and, for once, I was full and satiated. I suppose we did finish over 4 servings of food between the two of us. tongue

For some reason, the bill only came out to $66, which I didn’t realise until I started to prepare for the blog entry. But $66, or even the supposed proper price of $73, for a full belly of quality barbecue chicken and duck is simply worth it.

If you love barbecue chicken and hot food and ever end up in Eastwood, I highly recommend a visit to Jean’s Chilli Chicken.

Jean's Chilli Chicken on Urbanspoon