Darac Grill & Bar (A’Beckett St, Melbourne CBD)

The Army Stew or budae-jjigae is one of the biggest draws 

Army Stew or Budae-jjigae came about during the Korean War when food was scarce. The people back then mixed up whatever ingredients they had with army rations of Spam, ham and sausages into one big pot to boil.

What used to be a humble dish – eaten during those days when food was scarce, has now become more expensive, different dining experience.

Stepping into Darac, one would notice almost every table would have an Army Stew of  sorts. I’ve had Army Stew in Seoul before and I really enjoyed it.

The picture says it all really – a dish made up of processed meats, macaroni, beans, cheese, vegetables, tofu, rice cake and pork. The waiters will pour the soup and you just let it boil at the table. It is spicy and savory (probably due to the bean paste that is mixed in somewhere in the pan). I could never get tired of this – especially on a cold wintry nights. Someone told me Army Stew isn’t really eaten as much of a meal. The stew would go well if there is a big pot with 3 or 5 people sharing. And order instant noodles to go with the stew. Add those in when half the stew is done. The noodles soak up the flavor of the stew pretty well. Overall, there’s something warming about sitting down for a stew surrounding by friend/friends.

The Seafood kimchi pancake came nicely sliced. It wasn’t the usual crispy version but one that was more substantial on the batter and came packed with ingredients. Although this wasn’t the crispy version which I prefer, I still dig Darac’s pancake pretty much. .

One of my Korean friends thinks that Darac is pretty good. So far the impressions are good, and I would definitely return in the future to try its other dishes, if not for the stew.

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