Friday, 8 November 2013

Sardines in a can at Jayusigan

Forget the like button, I'm pressing the love button...
Jayusigan on Urbanspoon
I particularly love the suburb of Vic Park in Perth for its myriad of different cuisines meshed with other bits and bobs in the area, but the dominance of restaurants and cafes along the long stretch of road unmistakably makes it a haven for foodies (I use that term with reluctance. The wisdom of Urban Dictionary tells me I'm much more of an eatie).

Our every intention to stuff our face with multiple bentos was thwarted by a sign stuck on JBento's entrance stating that had run out of ingredients on a very busy day. Saddened by this fact but knowing we had to move on, our instincts led us across the road to Jayusigan, which was practically full house at lunch time. We squeezed into the centre table, taking note to keep our elbows close to our body to avoid any elbowing of nearby heads.
Walking into the restaurant is like walking into a breath of hot air, as I recall the same stuffy, humid, icky feeling the last time I ate here. It is a small restaurant and simply leaving the door open doesn't relieve the restaurant of all the heat and steam rising from the numerous hearty bowls of soups and stews that turn the place into a delicious-smelling sauna. Although the wonderful aromas really add to the dining environment, dining here at peak lunch hour can get a little uncomfortable. I do have a terrible soft spot for Jayusigan though, as I really enjoyed it from the first time I wandered in accidentally en route to another restaurant and discovered that they had just opened.
Mini side dishes
Delivered with your mains are these complimentary side dishes, which are small and satisfyingly addictive to keep picking at whilst eating. The good thing about these is that they'll never be empty - a top-up is only a call away; making them served in essentially bottomless little dishes.
Seaweed, pickled radish, kimchi
The flavours of Korean cuisine are predominantly spicy, and the kimchi has quite the kick if you are not too good with chilli. Even I felt the spiciness in their version of kimchi, suggested by its vivid, fiery red appearance. The pickled radish strips go a little easier on the chilli, retaining their slight crunch and have a milder chilli taste.

But oh my, the small flaky seaweed flakes blew me away that it deserves a rave! There are small visible grains of salt that give it a really addictive salty hit and its crispiness gives each mouthful a delightful crackle - kind of like popping candy almost! But salty instead of sugary - on top of little bursts of flavour. It seems deep fried and is so sinfully good, but I couldn't pry myself away nor could I stop, and I didn't, until they were all gone :)
Fried Fish cake - $3.50; Rice cake - $3.50
Rebecca wasn't hungry and settled for two items from Jayusigan's entree menu, which set her back $7, which seemed a little steep considering how small the skewers were. They are not mentioned on the menu that they come in skewered form either, so it was a little misleading to say the least.

The skewer in the foreground is fried fish cakes with a Korean style sweet chilli sauce, which is a lot thicker and richer than the overused, dare I say Westernised version of the sweet chilli sauce found in bottles on your supermarket shelf. The other skewer holds four rice cakes, slightly chewy in texture and also smothered in the same chilli sauce. Special? Not quite so.
Bibimbap - $13
Korean cuisine to me, is notable for its strong flavours from simple, honest ingredients. These aspects are found in a hearty bowl of bibimbap, which combines different ingredients into a marriage of textures and flavours in the one bowl. There is also the option to add temperatures to that list, as bibimbap can be ordered in a sizzling stone pot at $15. I don't usually feel full after one bibimbap but I did here, so their portion sizes are really quite good.
They say colourful food is good for you!
A bowl of bibimbap is as much an artwork as it is a hearty staple of Korean food, with all its elements arranged separate to one another before being mixed and thoroughly stirred through to ensure each mouthful has a little bit of everything. Rice is the backbone of the dish, to be tossed with the beef mince and well marinated shiitake mushrooms, seaweed flakes, seasoned bean sprouts, carrots, crunchy fernbrake and wilted spinach through a dollop of hot chilli sauce. The yolk, once pierced, melds with the rest of the dish and adds a creamy texture to the whole dish.

The flavours are bold, strong and could make you thirsty, but don't try to quench it with the bowl of soup it comes with - it is UNbelievably salty. We all think each other are exaggerating the extent of the salt laden soup so we all end up graciously taking turns pulling faces at the bowl of seawater we just drunk. We can't help but think that this surely is a mistake!
Korean style pancake - $9
Served last was the Korean style pancake, which we were unfortunately quite stuffed to the brim to fully enjoy this beautiful savoury pan-fried entree. Hating to see unfinished food meant I braved myself to finish this off, which was luckily not too hard considering the lightness of the pancake.

The chilli soy sauce laced with sesame seeds and spring onions was a good sauce on its own, but I preferred to have the pancake without it because it took away the crispiness, particularly at the edges where it was most golden and were my favourite part. Small bits of mung bean, bean sprouts, cabbage and pork are scattered within the pancake, which is thin and pan-fried until a crust is formed on the outer side. Forget the like button, I'm pressing the love button.
Restaurant seating - this is more or less the size of the restaurant
Being packed in like sardines in a can amidst a feeling of slight stuffiness, are the characteristics I've likened to many Korean eateries - especially Korean BBQ. Despite sweating like a pig on the hotplate, I love it - the close proximity to both people and food makes great conversation as you're flipping pork belly and ox tongues together.

I've heard that staff members here are a little aloof but with only one person serving an entire floor of customers, I think it's completely understandable. If you do come outside of peak eating hours as I did previously, the service as I experienced it was more attentive and personable. 

Hey, we can try as much as we want but we can't always be at our best can we?
Jayusigan, Victoria Park
Monday - Sunday: Lunch and dinner
Closed Tuesdays (at time of enquiry)

Tel:(08) 9470 1372
Shop 5, 393 Albany Highway, Victoria Park WA 6100
(Entrance via Leonard Street)


  1. Mmm I love fried seaweed! Bibimpap is one of my favourite foods too, I'm drooling look at your photos haha! I'm here for work until Thursday and staying at Crown which seems to have pretty expensive and lacklustre eating options, so I think I might start heading down to Vic park now that I know it's a bit of a foodie area.

    1. Our Crown doesn't even start to compare with Melbourne's Crown. I'm going to Melbourne in January, hook me up to the best places to gain a few kilos! :)


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