Korean Rice Bowls & Burnt Rice Gelato with Mee Market X Gelupo
I was at lunch with a fellow blogger the other week and we were talking about how sometimes I feel like I say the same thing over and over on the blog, but in reality only about 5% of my readers read every single post: I can’t take for granted that people reading my blog know something about me because I’ve said it before. So, here is an update for any of you who don’t know: I really, really love Korean food. I love eating out, my favourite restaurant in the world is a Korean barbecue joint, and I cook a hell of a lot of Korean food at home. So, when I was invited to try a new lunchtime collaboration between brand new Soho Korean market and rice shop Mee Market and the local favourite gelataria, Gelupo, I said yes very, very quickly.
Mee Market does two things and they do two things very well: Korean groceries and Korean rice bowls. The grocery part here is important; I know my way around Chinatown pretty well and, as I saids, I do a lot of Korean cooking at home and while you can get a lot of Korean ingredients in the grocery stores and markets there, some things are still hard to get. To be honest, before I discovered Mee Market I got all my Korean ingredients at Kukki on Station Road in Canterbury. However, they have all the sauces and jangs you could possibly need, a dispenser with all the different types of Korean rice, Korean snacks, a freezer of Korean ingredients and a great fridge of fresh Korean kimchees and pickles. If you’ve just ordered a copy of my favourite cookbook for Korean home cooking, Our Korean Kitchen, or a copy of Koreatown, head here first.
So, about those rice bowls. While the menu looks small, you can really go for endless combinations for lunch; they have several comforting Korean soups, curries and stews on each day as well as several types of rice, and a whole array of Korean pickles, kimchees and small dishes (known as banchan, I talk about them more in this Korean barbecue review post) to mix and match. Everything is fresh, excellent and full of authentic, Korean flavours. Eat downstairs, or take your food back to you desk to go. I had (pictured on top) the Bee Bowl (classic Korean Bibimbab) over white rice with delicious, crunchy chunks of Korean fried chicken (excellent, but don’t go here just for the chicken, it is the rice they do excellently!) I went for spring onions, seaweed salad, cucumber kimchee, pickled radish and sesame beansprouts, and a Korean chilli sauce on top. Kelly had the BBQ Bowl with spicy chicken. it disappointed me that the chicken was not really Korean Barbecue style, but it was still delicious with slaw, pickles, and Korean spicy mayo.
Now, for dessert. Gelupo’s gelato is always a good idea, but until Thai New Year on April 13th, they’re serving up a whole array of Asian-inspired gelato flavours, including a Korean favourite: burnt rice. While I usually favour Japanese matcha in an Asian dessert setting, this was nutty, rich, sweet and creamy, and lovely in a way you just can’t put your finger on. Pop opposite after your rice bowl for a proper lunch full of traditional Korean flavours!
If you’re after a taste of Korea but you can’t quite make it to Mee Market and Gelupo at the moment, here are my recipes for Cold Korean Noodle Bowls, Soy Rice Cakes, Korean Prawn Rice Bowls with Sesame Pak Choi, Korean Pork Belly Bun Bowls, Kimchee Fried Rice and Kogi Barbecue Inspired Korean Hot Dogs. And, for an education be sure to check out my post about all of the Asian ingredients I have at home, and what I use them for.