By Korea

1/222 La Trobe St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9662 2370

A few years ago, if you asked me what I thought of Korean food I would have wrinkled my nose and said that it sucked. Well, probably more eloquently than that but you get the picture. To me, Korean food was all kim chi and BBQ beef that was too sweet for my liking and for a while, I stayed away. My Korean food-loving friends, however, decided to change my perception of Korean food by recommending me places such as Oriental Spoon, Yami Yami and Hallah. Since then, I don’t mind a bit of Korean and will more often than not, happily choose a plate of Korean fried chicken and beer over a meal at KFC. A brief visit to the new Cupcake Central store in Melbourne Central (I don’t like cupcakes at all, but the media release that landed in my inbox promised me free cupcakes if I rocked up on opening day so I was sold) was enough to send Shirley’s and my stomach into hunger mode so we crossed La Trobe to By Korea, a walk-pass-and-you’ll-miss-it Korean restaurant.

 If you’ve been following my blog for quite some time, you’ll know that my default dish at Korean restaurant is a bibimbap. There’s something about eating rice, cooked vegies, marinated beef and egg, all mixed with a pepper sauce in a cute little stone bowl which makes the rice down the bottom go all crunchy. By Korea’s beef dol sot bibimbap ($13) was up there in terms of quality bibimbap. What I really liked about the sauce was that it wasn’t as spicy as others I’ve had in the past (by saying this, I’m admitting that I’m a very weak Asian who seemingly can’t handle heat but whatever) and it had a prominent sesame taste which I really liked – it certainly went well with the sweet marinated beef that was, thankfully, not overly sweet to begin with. And while the bowl may have been slightly smaller than what I’m used to, it was actually a perfect size – enough to fill you up.

Shirley had a not-overly-descriptive dish called seafood noodles ($15). Looking a lot like the love child of a bowl of tonkotsu ramen and a packet of those Korean instant noodles, she eyed her bowl with much suspicion. I don’t blame her, really – it was essentially a bowl of milky-white liquid with very minimal noodles and even less seafood items. I didn’t get to taste the dish but I didn’t miss out on much for apparently it was tasteless. Bah.

Thankfully, the serving of BY KOREA (YES, CAPITAL LETTERS!) fried chicken ($25) made up for a disappointing dish for Shirley. And although my bibimbap was delicious, the fried chicken totally rendered it to ‘meh’-ness levels. Each drumstick was perfectly crunchy on the outside and the chicken flesh inside, beautifully tender. Dare I say that they were even better than the ones Adam and I devoured at Hallah all those months ago. Delicious. Sadly, we couldn’t finish the mountain of crispy fried goodness so we got one of the ladies to retrieve a plastic take-away container for Shirley to bring them home in (as an aside, they don’t taste so good when reheated).

Despite the WTF seafood noodle dish, we both said that we’ll be back just for the chicken (well okay, the bibimbap for me too). Its central location and reasonable prices makes it a far better option than Hallah (which is a few blocks away), and given our lacklustre second meal at Hallah on Friday night, it’s clear to us that By Korea will be our default place for Korean fried chicken.

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I eat too much.


  1. Miss T
    July 31, 2011

    what? no kimchi? say it isnt so! (we say we’re going to Queensland every year, but we never make it….)

  2. Fatbooo
    July 31, 2011

    I do like having Korean food ever so often, but not the BBQ’s. Also haven’t tried the bibimbap before, mmmm much to be explored~! Thanks for listing other places like Yami Yami, Hallah… I now can add Korean places to my wishlist!

  3. DL
    July 31, 2011

    LOL, Yami Yami & Darac (A’Beckett St) over this place hands down! I think you told me there’s a Yami Yami out in Lonsdale St?? If I’m lucky I can walk over and grab a Bulgogi!!!!!!!!!!!1

    1. libishski
      August 3, 2011

      Ahh I really gotta try this Darac place that you keep speaking of…

  4. shirlz
    July 31, 2011

    “Defiantly” better than that honey soaked garlic shit from Hallah

  5. thundermistress
    August 1, 2011

    I’m quite the same as how you used to be with Korean food, it never really registers in my brain as something I’m keen on eating or go out of my way to try. Although I’ve never really associated fried chicken with it….and dayum those drumsticks look freaking good. :L

  6. Emma
    November 25, 2011

    YAMI YAMI on Lonsdale Street (formerly Fliying Chicken) has the BEST dakgalbi i have tasted in OZ, its pretty much th real deal. Just as spicy and just as good!! Its from the original Cheungcheon (SP) recipe (where Dakgalbi originates). Its great, BIG portions too so i woudl suggest ordering one less portion than people sharing. Always have it with Soju for the true taste to come out. Plus the Egg thing, Karumjim, is amazing! Best if eaten with the Jigae (spicy soup).

    1. libishski
      November 28, 2011

      I’ve been to the Yami Yami in Box Hill and thought it was fantastic, but have yet to set foot in the Lonsdale Street restaurant. I will definitely give it a go now, after reading your positive comments about it. Looking forward to it!


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