Given my love for Korean dramas, films, popular culture and just Korean stuff in general, i am going to introduce some Korean places in Melbourne. There has been an influx of Koreans into Melbourne in the past 2 years for some reason and there are now more Koreans here than was visible a mere 2 years ago....for some reason, there are so many korean backpackers,tourists,students and also many Korean groceries, restaurants and businesses have opened as well. I will introduce these places and update them when new ones appear. I have actually seen Korean students/visitors on many occasions, once even meeting like 5 to 10 koreans a day on the street which surprised even me. Obviously there are still much more Chinese around but it seems that the no of koreans have surpassed the japanese just from general observations of the city area.
I am really happy given that i am one of the Korean Wave fans (i was a fan even before this korean wave started way bck in 2000) and so more koreans and businesses is good news for me!
List of Korean Establishments in Melbourne:
(1) City Mart Korean Grocery/DVD rental
This is a well known Korean grocery store amongst both koreans and non-koreans selling your average Korean fare of ramyun, kimchi,etc AND it also rents out the latest Korean films, variety shows and dramas having one of the most up-to-date collection of Korean films in Melbourne. Moreover, most of the Korean DVD films have english subtitles and the k-dramas tend to have Chinese subs too, many being pirated versions from China. I frequent this place to borrow Korean films very often cos they have eng subs so i understand....many korean students come here too..LOCATION: Right Across the well known Queen Victoria Market,City. The storefront has large korean characters displayed.
(2)Family Mart Korean Grocery/DVD
This is another Korean grocery again selling all the kimchi,imported korean foodstuff, etc and also allows rentals of Korean films, however, the collection is quite small compared to City Mart's DVD collection. LOCATION: Lonsdale Street, City
This is situated on Hardware Street and is an internet cafe which provides online games as well as has a rental section for comics and Korean films. Owned by Koreans and frequented by Koreans and some non-Koreans. LOCATION: Hardware Street ,City
(4) Vora Cafe
Situated also on Hardware St just a few shops away from Kazen store is Vora cafe which opened like many of the Korean restaurants and businesses only last year. It sells Korean food and is owned by Koreans with your staple kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbab, and it also sells Ja Jaeng Myun (Chinese Black Sauce Noodles). Tried it but i still prefer the Ja Jaeng Myun i had in Tokyo's KoreaTown Shin Okubo where in one of the restaurants owned by Koreans, the chinese noodles were DELICIOUS! In comparison, the one here is not that good ( in my opinion anyway). Frequented by korean students and australian office workers nearby. LOCATION:Hardware Street, City
(5) Grandma Kimchi
This has three branches and is one of the most well known Korean restaurants in Melbourne. It sells all your average Korean dishes like bulgogi, bibimbab, cold noodles, kimchi hotpot,etc. It has branches in Boxhill, Carnegie and in the city near russell street. I would recommend this place as the food is good and the interior design of the branch in the city is really nice and classy.
LOCATION: city, boxhill,carnegie
One of the most established Korean restaurants in Melbourne located on Russell St serving all your normal Korean dishes including, kalbi tang, ginseng chicken tang (yummy!), kimchi soup, noodles,etc. Apparently i heard that when the film crew of the TV drama 'Sorry I Love You' came to Melbourne to shoot some scenes, the cast and crew had meals at this place. LOCATION: Russell Street, City
(7) Seoul Palace
Located in Chinatown and serving again everything you'd expect to find in a Korean restaurant and they have Korean KTV too. LOCATION: Market Lane, Chinatown
(8) There are two korean restaurants on exhibition st which i can't remember the name of and both sell korean food.
(9) The street beside Queen Victoria Market on the side of the Australian Sheep/Wool Tourist Centre has alot of Korean internet cafes and most importantly Korean-style BBQ restaurants where you cook your own meat and have soju. I can't remember the name of this street but it is right beside QV Market, if u walk down you will see the Korean restaurants all clustered up.
(10) Green Mart
Another new Korean grocery which just opened a month or two ago selling Korean imported frozen foods, kimchi, korean snacks as well as Japanese food. LOCATION: LaTrobe St, City Opposite Melbourne Central
(11) Korean Bridal and Make-Up Shop
There is now even a Korean Bridal shop where they provide make-up and services for brides!! It is a really classy place and prominently located at Melbourne Central shopping Mall. LOCATION: Melbourne Central, City
(12) Korean Hand Therapy Institute
In case u're wondering what the heck 'hand therapy' means, don't worry i was completely mystified myself when i came across this on the 2nd flr of Paramount Centre, Chinatown. Basically, after asking the Korean lady inside, i found out it means hand acupuncture. My my my, the range of korean services has really expanded in Melbourne, from the usual grocery stores to hand acupuncture shops now? LOCATION: Paramount Centre, Chinatown
(13) QUA Korean Apparel
Also located inside Paramount Centre selling Korean imported fashion. Has a branch in Boxhill. LOCATION: Paramount Centre, Chinatown
(14) Korean Lunchbox
This is a counter at the Paramount Centre foodcourt selling one of the best Korean Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup i have ever had and i go there often till the point where the owner knows me and knows i always order her spicy noodle seafood soup such that once she sees me, she will know what i want. Offers the best bargain in Melbourne for Korean food i reckon given that its in a foodcourt, the food sold there would cost double in a restaurant i think. Very popular with office workers, non-Korean students as well.LOCATION: Paramount Centre FoodCourt, Chinatown
(15) Oriental Spoon Korean Restaurant
Located on LaTrobe Street right across the Korean bridal shop i mentioned, this place offers all the usual korean fare with nice kimchi hotpots,bibimbab,etc. Right next door is this Korean karaoke place called 'M' and this just goes to show the significant korean population now with many korean karaoke joints popping up around Melbourne. LOCATION: LaTrobe Street, City
(16) BakPak Hotel
This place has many backpackers from all over the world but it also has, i realised, a significant number of korean backpackers all yr round. LOCATION: Franklin Street, City
(17) Melbourne BackPackers Hostel
This place and the many hostels around this area has many korean tourists. LOCATION: Franklin Street,City
(18) State Library of Victoria
A popular studying place for many Korean students of English. You can find at least one or two koreans on any given day. LOCATION: City
(19) Korean Beauty and Hair Salons
One of the most popular businesses that koreans in melbourne engage in is the hair and beauty industry with many korean beauty centres and hair shops opening in boxhill and the city area.
This is a Korean hair shop with branches in Little Lonsdale Street and Bourke Street. LOCATION: Little Lonsdale Street, Bourke Street
There are also several more restaurants and korean education consultant centres all over Melbourne, too many in fact, for me to list here. A tip is that most of the Korean eateries advertise as Korean/Japanese places and this is common all over Australia. I just ate at this place called Sushi Max which i had initially thought was Japanese owned but turned out to be korean-owned and they sold one korean dish, pork bulgogi, amongst their sushi and tempura sets. So if you ever see a Korean/Japanese restaurant in Australia, you can be sure it is almost guaranteed to be Korean-owned. I think they are afraid that Korean food is not as popular as Japanese and thus advertise themselves as both. There are also two (or maybe more) free Korean magazines (one is called Korea 21) available at Korean groceries and establishments advertising the numerous Korean services available in Melbourne such as Korean owned education and immigration centres,beauty parlours, restaurants etc. MANY korean students now come to Melbourne to learn English and many language schools are filled with Koreans now. Their numbers i would say have surpassed the number of Japanese students in Melbourne but no doubt still way behind the huge chinese student population here.
I also had a pleasant surprise last week when as i was walking home, this Korean guy (a tourist i think, there being many Korean tourists nowadays in Melbourne) suddenly stopped me and asked me in Korean if i was Korean. I couldn't believe it, it was the first time i had been mistaken for being a Korean and there were so many people walking on the street but he stopped me out of all those people. I was really happy (not that i wanna be korean cos i love being of chinese heritage but I was thrilled anyway) and said in english what, and he repeated in english asking whether i was korean. I said no and asked if he was lost hoping to get to know him better cos i REALLY WANT a korean friend but he said he just mistook me as a fellow korean and so sadly i had to let him go.....but it would have been weird anyways even if i was korean, i mean you don;t just stop ppl in the streets cos u think they are from the same country as you, i mean if he wasn't lost what would he have said to the korean person he stopped? Like 'can you take me around cos i am touring melbourne alone?' That would seriously be kinda weird but in my case, I wouldn't mind one bit given my desperate attempt to find korean friends.
SO IF ANY KOREANS ARE READING THIS OR ANYONE WHO HAS KOREAN FRIENDS IS READING THIS AND PREFERABLY STAYING IN MELBOURNE, PLEASE (I AM BEGGING) CONTACT ME BY LEAVING A COMMENT AND UR CONTACT DETAILS AS I REALLY WANT KOREAN FRIENDS BUT DON'T KNOW HOW TO MEET THEM GIVEN THAT MOST ARE IN ENGLISH SCHOOLS>THANKS, KAMSAMNIDA!