How do you solve the daily struggle of which cuisine to have for dinner? Korean? Japanese? Well, why not both? Dae Bak Korean & Japanese Eatery certainly think so! Specialising in both Japanese and Korean foods, husband and wife Kelly and Wen, with a combined 22 years of hospitality experience between them, have opened their first, awesome restaurant Dae Bak – which translates in Korean to just that – ‘awesome’!
Honing in on his many years mastering the art of Japanese cuisine, and channelling her Korean upbringing, Wen and Kelly are each responsible for their respective menus, which feature well-known favourites including gyoza and bibimbap, as well as more traditional dishes, such as Japchae and Korean Military Soup.
Kimchi & Bacon Pancake
As someone who does not normally go for the Kimchi Pancake option, hand over heart, this is bloody delicious. This sweet and salty take on the classic Kimchi pancake sees cubes of bacon and generous cabbage chunks strewn throughout the delicately orange disc, with the additional crisp, pickled onion pieces introducing a necessary tang. Consume with a knife and fork or, for maximum enjoyment, fold it in half and eat it like a pizza!
A solid, tasty pot-sticker that simply melts in the mouth. The dumpling wrapper has been perfectly cooked, encasing the sweet, juicy pork filling that, when dipped into its accompanying sauce, delivers a lovely balance of flavour.
This is your standard Korean favourite, with a slight twist – egg ribbons and shitake mushrooms. The lovely texture of the soft, moistly cooked fungi offers a delicious surprise, having absorbed an amazing amount of flavour. Served with conventional choices bulgogi beef, spicy pork or tofu, and all your usual suspects – bean sprouts, carrot and sweetly crisp onion – here, the typical sunny side, goldenly runny egg is swapped in place of lightly fried ribbons. Drizzle with a generous amount of sesame oil and Gochujang, and you’ve got yourself a wholesome bowl of food.
Panko Crumbed Katsu Chicken
Though simply presented, this earthy dish is striking in its contrast of both colour and texture. Lightly crumbed pieces of moist Katsu chicken is served with fresh, lightly-dressed shredded cabbage, emerald green seaweed salad, and elevated by the dark, thickly voluptuous Tonkatsu sauce, and good ol’ Kewpie mayo.
Hot Stone Beef Bulgogi
One of the more traditional menu items, this is comfort in a bowl, and feels like a noodle soup that mum prepared just for you. The sweetness from the bulgogi, crunch of the vegetables, silky slurp of the glass noodles and hum of chilli-infused broth all combine to produce this great, healthy winter warmer, perfect for these colder months.
Korean Fried Chicken
KFC lovers rejoice, your prayers have been answered! Dae Bak boasts five different fried chicken flavours, including cult favourite Cheetos! Hugely popular internationally and among the more serious KFC fanatics, this is its first appearance IRL at an Adelaide restaurant. Crisply fried morsels of succulent chicken pieces are sprinkled with a generous dusting of this savoury cheesy snow. Cheetos and Fried Chicken? You will die (in a good way). Speaking of dying – the Volcano Spicy flavour is not kidding around. Named for its explosive seasoning and fiery heat, this is a textural delight for all the senses. Well-dressed so as to maintain its signature crunch, the darkly red sauce clings to the crisp batter, to produce a sticky, sweet, chilli warmth that slowly builds and lingers in a satisfyingly, lip-tingling way.
This homely little eatery, which seats less than 30 patrons, is an intimate and cosy dining experience. With their fast and friendly service, Dae Bak is ideal for a mid-week drop in or a casual weekend dinner, answering the age-old question: “What’s for Dinner”?
Dae Bak is open every day from 11am to 8.30pm
Words by Anh Ngo
WHERE: Shop 3, 383-389 Fullarton Rd, Fullarton