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Madtongsan Korean Restaurants

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published June 4th 2014
The restaurant so good it spawned a sequel
Elizabeth Street also goes by the nickname of Korean Street because of all the Korean restaurants along the strip over the road from the Myer Centre. Madtongsan Korean restaurant in Elizabeth Arcade has proved so popular that it has spawned a sequel, named Madtongsan II, also on Elizabeth Street.

Both restaurants serve almost identical dishes, with Madtongsan I being the better setting for a quick meal with a small group, while Madtongsan II has a larger dining area so it is a much nicer setting to linger or take a larger group. However we almost always end up going to Madtongsan I because on Friday and Saturday nights Madtongsan II is usually already full of Korean students enjoying real Korean food.

Madtongsan I in Elizabeth Arcade
Madtongsan I in Elizabeth Arcade


Some of the types of dishes to try

Bi Bim Bap is a rice dish served in a stone bowl. When you are served the dish you should mix it up yourself before eating. On the top, maybe under the egg if the dish includes egg, is usually the hot sauce. If you don't want your meal to be too spicy you should remove some of the sauce before mixing.

Some of the Bi Bim Bap dishes come with raw meat. Stir it through immediately to cook the meat in the hot stone bowl it is served in.

Rice Dishes are dishes served on a plate with rice. This is typical Korean style fast food. I know some Koreans who will mix the dish up with the rice, but most won't.

Korean Soups are usually very spicy. I would recommend trying one of the Kimchi soups. The soup comes with a bowl of rice on the side. You eat it by spooning the soup on top of the rice and eating it together.

Noodle soups are also an option. Most are spicy soups packed with lots of ingredients.

Korea's most famous dish is Barbecue and so it is available at Madtongsan as well. But here there is only a limited selection so I would suggest going to a dedicated Korean Barbecue restaurant if that is what you are looking for.

Madtongsan II: The larger dining area is often full
Madtongsan II: The larger dining area is often full


Some Korean Dining Etiquette

You will be given a few little entrees to eat before or during the meal. I always feel like ordering extras because in Korea you will normally be given lots of these. Most Korean restaurants in Brisbane are pretty stingy with their free entrees.

Never pick up soup or rice bowls with your hands. Rather they stay on the table and you eat from them with a spoon. Never eat rice with chopsticks, not because this is rude, but because Koreans will laugh at you.

It is perfectly acceptable to mix up the rice dishes yourself. In fact Bi Bim Bap, the rice dishes served in stone bowls, literally means 'Mix Rice'.

Cutlery shouldn't be placed on bowls or plates. Ideally they will give you a little plate or stand for your cutlery. If they don't, place a serviette on the table to put the cutlery on it.

If the food is too spicy try drinking one of the Korean milky drinks to cool off your mouth. One of the most famous brands is Milkis.
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Why? Great Korean Food, especially Bi Bim Bap (Mixed Rice Bowl)
When: Madtongsan I 11 am to 8:30pm. Madtongsan II 10 am to 11 pm
Phone: (07) 3210 2773, (07) 3003 1881
Where: Elizabeth Arcade and 85 Elizabeth St Brisbane, QLD
Cost: Dishes from $10
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