It mightn’t have the 170-year history of its Chinese counterpart, but there is an enclave of the CBD’s northwest turning out a high concentration of excellent Korean food, the de facto capital for a cuisine that continues to boom in Melbourne. 

From KBBQ to army stew, here’s where you’ll want to get yourself a taste of Korea in and around Healeys Lane, Melbourne’s flourishing Koreatown.

Seven Star Pocha

Army stew: A Korean-American fusion stew featuring processed delights like spam, sausages, canned baked beans and sliced cheese in a kimchi-based stew. You don’t have to order it every time you visit Seven Star Pocha, but why wouldn’t you? Opened in 2017, Seven Star peddles other Korean hits like haejang-guk, a beef and cabbage broth otherwise known as hangover soup, and Melbourne’s favourite simmered rice cakes, tteokbokki, with a good whack of soju on hand for your thirst-slaking convenience.

Shop H/535 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne  

Seoul Toast Bong

Seoul Toast Bong probably wins best name on Healey’s Lane, and despite stiff competition from Nico’s Sandwich Deli, it might just take best sandwich, too. A fiercely loved “toast” chain in its native Korea since 1997, Seoul Toast Bong construct their sandwiches on two slices of pillowy white bread, fleshing them out with breakfast-geared fillings like ham, cheese, hash browns, among more flavourful options like beef bulgogi. Cheap, handheld and delicious.

Shop 6 On, Healeys Ln, Melbourne

Jang Gun

Where would this kimchi stew fanatic be without Jang Gun, a stalwart of Korean food in Melbourne. The pork kimchi jjigae is exceptional, a preternaturally hot and sour soup that’s nourishing beyond compare, but no trip to Jang Gun is complete without a kimchi pancake with melted cheese on top. The restaurant aspires to “become the finest Korean restaurant in Melbourne”; we believe in you, Jang Gun.

3/21 Healeys Ln, Melbourne 

Paik’s BBQ

Around the corner on Little Lonsdale Street, grilled meat dreams come true in full at Paik’s BBQ. Select your meats, crank up the flames at the centre of your table and watch as your dinner cooks before your very eyes. Paik’s menu is full of great supporting dishes such as stir-fired glass noodles known as japchae, but the focus here is squarely on the grill and the supporting banchan, a fleet of cute sides that provide a moment of respite from the meatfest. 

525 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Gami Chicken and Beer

Chicken and beer – a match made in heaven, and a combination from which Gami minted its culinary empire. These days you’ll find Gami everywhere – at the MCG, at Chadstone, in Perth: just about wherever good times are had – but the quality of the fried chicken and the sheer volume of beer at the table have remained, even after serving over 47.5 million pieces of chicken nationally. Choose your flavour, choose your quantity, go hungry and leave immensely satisfied.

Shop g/535 Little Lonsdale St