AP­PEAL­ING TO THE MASSES

WHILE THE POP­U­LAR­ITY OF KOREAN FOOD CON­TIN­UES TO GROW, ONE OF ITS PI­O­NEERS IN CAIRNS, COREA COREA, RE­MAINS A FAVOURITE

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Speak to any­one who dines out with the fam­ily and they are sure to know about Corea Corea. Fast, af­ford­able, fresh and fill­ing, it’s a good so­lu­tion when you’re short on time or pen­nies.

Stricken with Fri­day-itis (symp­toms in­clude an un­will­ing­ness to cook din­ner) we ar­rive around 7pm to find the place swamped. Once or­ders are placed at the counter, the task of try­ing to find some­where to sit en­sues.

Check­ing in­side we find an empty booth ta­ble, but it looks like the af­ter­math of a kids’ party, com­plete with dishes, strewn cut­lery and messy floor. You’ve got to roll with the punches here, this is not fine din­ing by any means.

The turnover re­volves at such a pace on a busy night like this, that staff are run (lit­er­ally, we see a guy sprint­ing from ta­ble to ta­ble) off their feet try­ing to clear up and make space for new cus­tomers.

Out on the food court we se­lect a space which has just been cleared and given a quick wipe. By the time we set­tle, our or­ders ar­rive, it’s that quick. We self-serve wa­ter from an Esky dis­pen­sary into plas­tic cups just be­fore it runs out.

If it all sounds a bit manic and un­re­fined, it is. But that’s all part of the pack­age and cer­tainly tes­ti­mony to the level of traf­fic this place at­tracts at peak hours.

We’ve or­dered jabche (a beef and veg­etable stir-fry with rice and ver­mi­celli noo­dles); bar­be­cued beef pot and spicy chicken pot.

All meals are straight from the wok to the ta­ble, topped with finely shred­ded fresh cab­bage, herbs and spring onion. You can still hear the food siz­zling in its cast iron dish.

The chicken and bar­be­cue beef come with miso soup and rice. Plas­tic cut­lery or dis­pos­able chop­sticks are self pro­cured and we ten­ta­tively be­gin. This food is freshly cooked and while the aroma makes you want to delve in, waft­ing steam ad­vises cau­tion. It’s a great way of en­sur­ing you take your food slowly and ap­pre­ci­ate the flavours.

The chicken is not for the faint-hearted. Fresh chilli slices, com­plete with seeds, are plucked out and put to one side, there’s enough heat spice in this stir-fry dish with­out those lit­tle devils.

I’d pre­fer a bit less of the pi­quant sauce, which over­whelms the meat and veg­eta­bles, but the menu does show clearly a red chilli be­side the item to in­di­cate this will have some kick.

The chicken’s not a win­ner this time, the rice at the bot­tom is in­suf­fi­cient for the heat load and there are crispy bits where the food has over­cooked and stuck to the pan.

Both the jabche and bar­be­cue beef are loaded with crunchy veg­gies, ten­der meat and are more palat­ably sea­soned.

Corea Corea has le­gions of fans for lunch and din­ner based on the con­cept of gen­er­ous por­tions, healthy food and sen­si­ble prices.

Be pre­pared to jump into the ex­pe­ri­ence and go with the flow and you’re likely to join the throng of reg­u­lar fol­low­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.