It's the groovy bright purple rice and the spread of beautiful red chilis on tofu that make the display so inviting. If you are here at lunchtime however you might wonder what the heck we are talking about, the lovely spread looks like a locust plague has been through once the officeworker hordes arrive.
No matter how it looks, the food is pretty good, simply good, honest Korean food. Avoid the fried dishes and it's pretty healthy too, as the name suggests. It's only $7.50 for three choices and rice. The groovy purple rice is like sticky rice, and also has some (kidney?) beans and chopped veggies. The Chinese greens are fresh and simple, the Korean beef is sweet and tender and superb; the fried chili puffs are great, those red chilis aren't as nearly mean as they look.
We love how it is served on a metal tray, we can pretend we're in prison - RIOT!!!
Stonepot bibimbap - $10. Served with a little tub of kimchi on the side. Ten bucks is a good price for this dish, dolsot bibimbap usually costs a little more. This Korean classic is so incredibly simple yet so incredibly delicious yet so incredibly healthy - mixed rice and a little meat and a googy on rice. The rice forms a nice crunchy crust on the bottom as it should - this dish tastes fantastic and makes you feel fantastic.
Mr Shawn arrives at pack-up time and he meekly asks if they would possibly mind making him a bibimbap. He said it was ok if they don't want to, he understands if the staff are trying to pack up and get out of here. He expected the counter staff to grumble a bit, fair enough, instead their faces lit up with smiles. The counter staff informed the kitchen staff who seemed ecstatic. "Hey everybody, the bald pasty white guy is ordering bibimbap- let's party!!!!" The whole joint lit up with smiles. Mr Shawn wondered if they were going to form a congo line - "the fat guy wants bi-bim-bap! the fat guy-wants-bi-bim-bap!" When the meal was ready this was cause for another mini celebration, the joint seemed like a stage musical about to break into song. "Enjoy your meal" said the nice lady. She meant it.
Mr Shawn smiled all afternoon... We've had great service in many high-falutin' restaurants in our time, but nothing can beat the warm, unfakeable smiles you get from the lovely folks in the little places, in Sydney's great culinary underbelly.
Manna Healthy Way is in the Hunter Connection Food Court, 7-13 Hunter Street city. Get here around 11.30 or around 2 to avoid the lunch crush if you can. Manna Health Way. Sadly the wonderful Sushi Nagashima next door has closed.