In Vietnam, the first month-old birthday of a baby marks an important celebration. So today is the day, Flavor Boulevard is a month old! Considering FB‘s birth month is also the month of passion and chilly winter, what’s better than a hot plate of “Omu-rice – Perfect for sharing between a couple in love,” said the menu at our local Korean fave on Telegraph Avenue?
So I ate it, and here I share it with my FB. Fried rice with ham, green beans, and peas wouldn’t normally rank high on my list, but the saucy, creamy running egg yolk does wonders. The omelet tasted unseasoned, but its natural plainness was a great base for the rice. Given the fact that I always prefer my French fries sans ketchup, I didn’t find ketchup a well-matched condiment here, perhaps something more buttery would be nice. But perhaps a sour brush was a healthy contrast. Omu-rice is lovely still.
As usual, Berkel Berkel has unlimited spicy kimchi, nonspicy pickled cucumber, and sweet black beans to accompany your main course. Firm and nutty, the black beans (kongjaban) are a pleasant delectable if eaten individually. Of course it’s not easy to eat one by one with chopsticks, but it may be well worth the effort: black bean sweetened with honey and soy sauce “is good for your head,” so I was told by the kind-hearted host of Berkel Berkel. I’ll sure take any chance I get to be smarter, so I ate a bunch of these.
Being in the starchy mood, we also went for a steaming plate of japchae (glass noodle) on rice. I never thought about noodle on rice as a real meal, although as a kid I did find ramen a savory substitution for meat when it came to rice’s aids. The lustrous sesame oil is profound, but there’s a whole package of sweet and salty in every chewy bite of glass noodle. Once again the chefs show that texture harmony and flavoring are more essential than substance, I’d be a vegetarian everyday if I could eat this japchae and rice everyday.
Although we haven’t tried the whole menu (*glance over other tables* the soups look smoking good), I have faith that everything at this joint scores at least 8 out 10 points for Korean comfort food. The atmosphere helps.
Want to know a little more about Berkel Berkel? Take a look at our first visit. The place usually gets crowded around 8pm. Do Korean folks tend to eat dinner late?
Address: Berkel Berkel
2428 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704