I’m sorry this is so late, but I’m back in Austin and ready to reboot this blog. I am now presenting the post that I promised a while back and it’s full of yummy food and pictures for a new place to try. Thank you for reading!
Super hungry and free for an evening, my friends and I decided to have a foodie adventure and went to a Korean restaurant a little ways up and across from Austin Karaoke. The restaurant is attached to an Asian supermarket and all put under the same title: New Oriental Market.
I don’t even know if the restaurant is called New Oriental Market or has no name. Either way, the food is way yummy and the food you eat can be slightly walked off looking around the grocery store part and walking to the bus stop.
So what makes this place different? It seems many a Korean restaurant has been found attached to an Asian market with a counter to order from, a board full of foreign-named foods, and pick-your-own seating. What makes this place different is the food and their prices.
Entering into New Oriental Market, you walk into the grocery store part full of classic Asian grocery store stuff from Pocky to ramen to…sake sets? Yes, sake sets, sushi boats, all sorts of Asian crockery that may appease your tastes for a time. There are also Korean goodies like kimbap available as well. Walking past the endcaps, you see a strange passageway of video tapes and enter into a bright and windowed dining room. A huge TV is set up in a corner and you see people sitting and enjoying their food at the mishmash of Asian-looking chairs and tables. You won’t be losing weight walking around the place, but there are little goodies to linger over and contemplate opening your wallet for.
At first glance, the menu can be overwhelming with its many dishes and those that are only described in hangul. There is a basic menu of dishes like jjangmyun and galbi and then some extras for the people in the know (or can read hangul :)). My friends and I were having a hard time deciding what to get. Some of us had been there and some of us had not. I was the “had not.” Some popular choices are the ‘bi bim bab’ and ‘bul go gi.’ If you have a feeling for carb overload, there is always the noodle and rice choices like ‘jab chae bab.’ There is also a nice variety of soups such as the kim chi soup and seafood soup. What really catches the eye is that all the entrees are $5! Including tax! Now, granted, it is cash only and there are some dishes that are more than $5, but that’s because these are the dishes that are a little harder to make yet super tasty as well. Overall, the price is definitely right and you get great value for your $5. The food is yummy and portion size is large.
Now, onto the food! One of my friends ordered the cold buckwheat noodles and found it quite tasty, a dish that would be refreshing in the hot summertime of Austin. Next was another friend who got bibimbap and it looked so yummy! What made it different from others I have seen is how fresh it looked. The egg was fresh off the pan and sat upon the top in all its crowning glory. The veggies beneath were colorfully arranged with the green shining beneath. A third friend got a sort of soup dish that came in a quaint pot and was deemed rather tasty. I personally got the noodle and rice dish, total carb overload. It was yummy though and I appreciated the clean slate of the rice against the rather greasy noodles. There were also a lot of vegetables, which was good since I had been missing some for the last few days.
After ordering, the cashier gives you a number that is called when your order is ready. The entrée, with its three side dishes, are put onto a tray to be carried to the bright dining area full of a mishmash of Asian-looking chairs and tables. The place seems to be generally clean and the side dishes checked on regularly for temperature control. That leads me to what must surely be noted: the side dishes and extras available in the dining area that come complimentary with the meal. First, to quench your thirst, there is a tank for water and a tank for hot tea. Next, there is a pot full of egg soup as either an appetizer or an accompaniment for the meal. Finally, there is a cooler further to the side full of a sweet bean soup that could also be an appetizer or a dessert.
Overall, New Oriental Market is a very interesting place to waste a few hours eating and then walking around the market, which is a decent size. You won’t be losing weight walking around the place, but there are little goodies to linger over and contemplate opening your wallet for. The food is delicious and the price is more than fair. The place seems to be generally clean and other than the somewhat confusing walk and bus ride there, this would be a cheap and easy way to satisfy your Asian food fix.
If you want to learn more about the different food options available, some good places to look at are the official Korean visitor’s website or Wikipedia. The rest of the food pictures are at the bottom! 🙂
Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 ½ for $5 entrees that are awesome and lots of food options. If you have a craving for Korean, I strongly suggest trying this place!