By Misun Farley
EatGoody is a small Korean cafe in a hole in the wall of an old big brick building behind Oxford Road. The building also accommodates a bike repair shop on one side and The Sandbar, a bar that makes authentic pizza by authentic Italians. It’s easy to miss, even with the bright green and orange signs on the side that reads 맛집 (matjib), a place promising delicious food.
Once inside, which might take time as there’s often a line out the door (never a bad sign), the restaurant is over two stories. You order your food as you enter the top floor and then make your way downstairs where you’ll find modest benches and chairs to sit and enjoy your meal.
The experience itself is simple and efficient. Yet, this simplicity exudes an easy familiarity that ensures you will receive a dish that is both delicious and remarkably cared for and is what I love about EatGoody.
If you’ve been to the cafe before, you’ll already have seen the busy workers walking back and forth to complete the lunchbox-style orders. The owner, Chung Chil Ho, is there every day, sometimes from as early as five or six in the morning, and often not leaving until nine at night.
Now, you may wonder if this is necessary given the limited hours of the cafe as well as the small menu itself, but I think the effort of Chung Chil Ho perfectly represents the dedication, precision and passion that goes into each dish served at EatGoody.
The fresh ingredients are painstakingly hand cut for hours (I know, I’ve had to do it once or twice), the kitchen is immaculate and always being cleaned, and the dishes themselves are comforting and delicious in a way only true Korean (and Japanese curry) food can be.
The consistent quality of the food is also in large part due to the staff that cares about the product they create, most importantly seen by Chiyeon, Mr Chung’s wife. Chiyeon is always there to greet customers with a smile and to ensure each dish looks and tastes up to her high standard.
What I’m saying here is not old news, this Mancunian restaurant has been around long enough for the owner’s kids to grow up and move out. The family has built strong relationships throughout the city, dedicating their time to the Korean church in Didsbury and using the restaurant itself as a hub to help Korean students ship their luggage across the seas. So every day, familiar faces are returning to EatGoody to say a quick hello and enjoy some satisfying food. EatGoody stands as a simple place, with simple food, but is welcoming to the extent that you will want to go back again and again.
Outside of the Bibimbap, a Korean classic served with fresh vegetables and a homemade Gochujang sauce, the menu at EatGoody revolves around perfectly crispy fried chicken and potato, served upon your choice of rice, homemade spicy rice, noodle or more fried potato. The chicken can be replaced with vegetarian options of vegetable dumplings or tempura-battered tofu.
After the base choice, you have the option of topping your food with a Sweet Soy Sauce Glaze, an addictive Sweet Chilli Sauce, Japanese Curry, turning it into Pepper Chicken (or vegetarian), or smothering the top with Spicy Rice Cake. That’s it.
Although simple, or maybe because of its simplicity, I can guarantee that whatever your choice, it will be the right one.
It can be extremely difficult to pick favourites from the menu, but I’ve eaten its entirety so I’d highly recommend the spicy
rice cake, 떡볶이(tteokbokki), with fried vegetable dumplings or fried chicken. This dish is a classic Korean street food and will leave your nose watering and your taste buds happy.
Alternatively, nothing hits the spot on a cold winter day in Manchester quite like tempura-battered tofu smothered in Japanese curry with a side of pickled radish and pickled cabbage on a bed of rice.
You can find EatGoody on Hillcourt street just off Oxford road, open 11:00 -15:00 Tuesdays to Fridays.
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0161 275 2930 University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR