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During my undergraduate years, the biomed group loved going to Peko Peko to eat (until they discovered Korean food). In fact one of them used to work here! I fell in love with the pop chicken dish (fried chicken “cubes” with seasoning) the very first time I tried it and I have since held a soft spot for this dish. On the Saturday following my birthday, J offered to take me out to dinner and it was not a fancy restaurant that I wanted to go to but rather Peko Peko for a hit of chicken!
The place is always busy during lunch and dinner time! Be sure to book ahead if you want to fit in a larger group.
What a funky- and ancient-looking water pitcher.
Ocean Peko - seafood platter of tobiko scallops, squid balls, wasabi mayo prawn, fish spring roll, mango prawn spring roll.
This was essentially a plate filled with various battered and fried goodies with different fillings. The wasabi mayo prawn was the same as always. Deep fried with mayo. You can’t go wrong with this combination. The squid balls were surprisingly ok. I usually give anything with squid in it a miss because of their icky appearance. Here I decided to give them a go because the tentacles were hidden from view. The squid had been chopped up so finely that there were no chewy bits and I could not distinguish the squid balls from the fish balls. The batter may have also had something to do with me not minding it so much.
Pop chicken - authentic Taiwanese crispy fried chicken cubes, seasoned with spiced black pepper.
And now we dance the delicious chicken dance. The last time I went to Peko Peko was over a year ago and it came as a relief to my palate when it experienced that familiar taste of deliciousness. Just as delicious now as it was back then! The batter was very crisp and practically melted away in my mouth.
Experiencing the pop chicken dish again following at least a year of deprivation made me peko peko (onomatopoeia for hungry in Japanese) for more. So it came as no surprise that I returned no sooner than a week later, with thehouseofem and susper.
Peko dumpling - pork + vegetable dumpling with soy dipping sauce (steamed).
With quite a thick and floury skin, these dumplings were quite filling.
The pork and veggie filling. These dumplings tasted no different to other dumpling restaurants but considering the fact that Peko Peko doesn’t specialise in dumplings, they were pretty good.
Vegetarian fried rice.
Silky egg tofu - egg tofu in sweet soy broth with tempura sprinkle.
It’s never a bad tasting experience when it comes to silky egg tofu.
Tobiko mayo scallop - battered scallop coated with tobiko mayo.
We order scallop quite frequently nowadays that I think I’m starting to get sick of it and this is likely to be the main reason behind not liking dish very much. They seemed to have gone overboard with mayo and we had to wipe off the excess by smearing it around the plate. The mayo and the batter were similar to the wasabi mayo prawns and the filling had a very strong seafood scallop taste.
Wasabi mayo prawns - battered prawns tossed in light wasabi mayo.
A must-order dish every time I’m here. It’s always good*.
*Only if you don’t order anything else with mayo. Say, the tobiko mayo scallops… Mayo OD is a possible side effect.
190 Wells St,
South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205.
(03) 9686 1109
Hidden away in the little streets of West Footscray is yet another well-received restaurant that can be easily missed. Disguised as a typical take away shop, the establishment actually offers some good quality Japanese food that can give some of the bigger names in the Japanese restaurant business a run for their money.
‘Just’ a typical-looking take away store. Or so you think. If it weren’t for susper’s cheap eats guide, we would have never come across the restaurant.
Spot the losers/thehouseofem and susper.
Green tea. Love the cups!
Crab croquette - creamy crab potato and corn with Japanese barbecue sauce.
Just like every other croquette you come across in many Japanese restaurants - light and crispy on the other side, creamy and delicious on the inside. $2.50 a pop.
Veggie balls - vegetarian version of an Osaka street snack.
The description didn’t give much away. These tasted just like takoyaki balls but BETTER, because I don’t like octopus or squid or whatever chewy seafood they use in takoyaki balls (I’m pretty sure I recall seeing a tentacle in one). But I digress. Back to the veggie balls, they were packed with flavour. And despite to crab croquettes tasting great, the veggie balls tasted heaps better! Shocked? I was when the other two had already started on the veggie balls and I was still mid way through the crab croquette.
Them: “It’s soo goood! Better than the croquette!”
Me: (with croquette in mouth) “Really?! But I already have so much awesome in my mouth? How can it possibly be better?!”
It was better.
We had to split the last one up between three because is was THAT tasty.
Wagyu Beef Bento - beef fed with sesame and ponzu sauce.
Prawn Bento - King prawns done many ways.
Close up of the prawns. When they say many ways, the literally mean it. Or 5 different variations anyway. That still is many.
Susper and I both ordered the prawn bento while thehouseofem picked the wagyu beef and we were all happy and stuffed (like takoyaki!) by the end of our meal. Again, the quality of the taste was on par with any other Japanese restaurant. The tempura prawn definitely tasted like the crispier tempuras you get from other restaurants and the “non Japanese” selections could fit right in.
Highly recommended if you enjoy great quality and tasting food and a decent price. Oh and great location if you’re a west sider around the Footscray area, ie. Susper!
Ebi Fine Foods
18A Essex St,
Footscray, Victoria, 3011.
A restaurant with a name such as Big Mamas’s would no doubt get some eyebrow raises. What type of cuisine do they serve? Is that even a restaurant? These were the questions that were running through my mind when I first heard about the restaurant. After making sure that Big Mama’s was indeed a restaurant, a few of the lab members and I made the 5-10 minute trek over.
Check out the pretty tree on the wall. Oh, and the man who just happened to be looking when I took a snap.
Complimentary miso soup.
BiBimBab - warm white rice topped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables, beef and fried egg.
All Dr. K had to say about this dish was that it was good. Seeing as I also had the bibimbap, I will elaborate further (see the description for two photos down)
Pork bento box, with side dishes and rice.
N also said his meal was good. Going by appearance, it did indeed look good. And N mentioned that he would come back, so I think that seems to indicate that it was good grub.
From the few lunch adventures we have been on, it’s clear that many of the lab members are very articulate when it comes to expressing their opinions about their meals haha!
Hotpot BiBimBap - warm white rice topped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables, beef and fried egg, served in a hotpot.
For an extra $1.50, get your meal scorching hot and your rice on the crispier side. That’s basically the only difference between the bibimbap served in a normal bowl (Dr K’s lunch) and a hotpot bowl. I suppose it also added to the experience and gave the dish a real Korean-y feel. I doused the dish with chilli paste and there I ended up with some good ol’ bibimbap. It tasted like the typical bibimbap you get at other K-restaurants. Considering the cheaper prices here, getting standard-tasting Korean food is a win!
Ten Don - bowl of rice topped with deep fried prawn, vegetables and sweetened soy sauce.
Did I mention they also serve Japanese food here? Well, they do. J.P. had the tempura prawns and vege on rice. If memory serves, the prawns were good and there was too much rice. Mmmm, again going by appearance it does look delish!
So while I did have my doubts about the food served at a restaurant called ‘Big Mama’s’, these thoughts dissipated almost soon after stepping foot into the establishment. Nice venue with a somewhat modern feel. Great aroma coming from the mix of Japanese and Korean food. And finally the most important, good food. Oh, let’s not forget the cheap prices as well! GREAT for uni students! This one is definitely a keeper.
466 Swanston St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3053