I recently visited New Oriental Market and they’ve updated themselves quite a bit. If you haven’t seen my review of the place from last time, please check it out here. It’s a Korean place I would definitely recommend that is very affordable and deliciously fair for the price. It’s a pretty long bus ride from campus, but a reasonable 10-15 minute drive by car. It is near Austin Karaoke, but be careful not to miss it as it is pretty deep inside the strip mall near the railroad tracks.
As for the update, it is still located at New Oriental Market and the grocery store is as nice as before. However, I was first surprised when I entered to see a nicely printed menu on the wall. Yet with the better menu, I felt a loss of their spontaneity of dishes and there were also higher prices. Now the average price of a meal is $5-6 (bibimbap is still $5!) instead of the $5 before, but it’s not that big of a deal to increase the price a little considering inflation and all. The bulgogi, in fact, has gone down in price by about $5 so there is definitely some streamlining of prices. It is also still cash only and $0.25 for a take-out box. Be Asian and bring your own Tupperware?
This time, I tried out the bibimbap I was eyeing last time. It was really good and the vegetables were definitely fresh. However, I was a little disappointed that the meat is not very well seasoned. It tastes like beef, but I was kind of expecting a bulgogi marinade that was not there. Just FYI.
One friend got the spicy tofu soup (#6, soon du boo bak pan). She enjoyed her meal, but it was definitely on the spicy side. However, as she was my discerning taster from A Love-Cake Relationship, it was important that she deemed it a worthy enough dish to entice her to come try out more dishes at New Oriental Market again.
Another friend tried the samgyetang soup, which is basically a whole chicken, stuffed with glutinous rice in our case, in a slightly seasoned ginseng broth. It is supposedly good for you, especially in hot weather. However, I feel like it’s a hearty meal for anyone who’s hungry and apparently both my friends who have had it have been able to eat it all with rice. The soup is pretty good, but also more on the bland side as the ginseng is not a very strong flavor. Actually, the only flavor seems to be the chicken. But that satisfied my friends perfectly well and they enjoyed their meal.
Also, tried the seafood pancake. They also have kimchi pancake available. It is just like the green onion pancake available at Coco’s Cafe (which I will do a review on next) in that it is a sort of flat bread that is fried with ingredients like green onion or squid inside. It is surprisingly delicious, but also on the oily side. It is a good appetizer to split among people and we saw many other parties doing the same thing. At $7, this is a dish you want to share, and the pancake was deemed pretty good. It was warm, tasty, with lots of squid (but no shrimp sadly). However, it was also quite salty and not well-seasoned.
Finally, for extra info, the soups are still available and great as appetizer or to fill in any spaces in your stomach. I personally feel like you definitely get enough to eat and I usually have room to take stuff home. The sides also seem to be reduced to just kimchi now instead of the multiple sides they had before. And I never realized, but the New Oriental Market uses its resources well and uses ramyun from next door as well as its crockery. Want New Oriental Market dishes at home? You’ve come to the right place!
Rating: :P :P :P :P 1/2. I would still recommend the place for people interested in Korean food at the right college student price, but if you want the full Korean experience, you might want to go someplace else.