Being an Uni student with more than 25 contact hours a week means one thing – I’m poor. This doesn’t really go well with my addiction of finding new places to eat in Melbourne. Consequently, I’ve developed this obsession of hunting down cheap places that serve up some pretty decent nosh. Every time I find one, I do a little happy dance (on the inside, of course).
CJ, definitely ticked all the boxes. It’s tucked away conspicuously on Little Lonsdale Street. The name says it all, it really just looks like a simple tuck shop with tired-looking orange signage above the little place. This is the type of the place, where you order at the counter and get your own water and cutlery. Honestly, I don’t mind this set up one bit, I rather think it adds to the street food experience and that’s what CJ serves – Korean Street food (among other things).
This is actually not my first time visiting, since my boyfriend took me here, before I started blogging. Being the second time, he wanted to order something different, but I insisted on ordering the Chicken Bulgogi with Cheese again, just so I can share this dish with you.
An overflowing mount of moist chicken, sizzling away on the hot plate, coated liberally with flaming red, sweet and spicy sauce, all topped with generous amounts of shredded cheese. Seriously, what’s not to love. I love the feeling of trying to pull out a piece of chicken and being partially afraid that the whole fiery mound will collapse on the table. Watching the melted cheese clinging on to the chicken piece, not wanting to let go, it’s another sensation all together. It’s hot, addictive and lip-licking good. The heat does build up as you shove piece after piece of chicken into your mouth, but the spiciness doesn’t linger, nothing a mouthful of rice can’t counter. This dish is cheap and seriously more than plenty to feed two with some steamed rice, but we decided to order another snack anyway.
Last time I was here was the first time, I’d had Twigim, which is a type of street food that my boyfriend remembers from his childhood. It’s basically potato starch noodles wrapped in nori, coated with batter and fried to a crisp. Apparently, in Korea they sell Twigims at the ddeokbokki stand so you can dump these crispy, starchy nuggets into the spicy ddeokbokki sauce. We didn’t order ddeokbokki this time, so I dunked it in the chicken bulgogi sauce to a similar effect. The sweet, spicy sauce clung onto the potato starch noodles, the nori gave it some umami and the crispy texture made the whole package so junky but so irresistible. My only complaint is that I think the batter is a little too thick.
I can’t wait to return to CJ in winter, when I’m bogged down with Uni work, stressing about exams and shivering in 3 layers of clothes, because there’s nothing a good feed can’t fix, right?