2428 Telegraph Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
I love Korean food. Something about the combination of chili spices and red bean paste fills me with joy and glee. Since Korean food is incredibly rare where I go to school in the mountains of Massachusetts, I was craving it something strong when I returned to California. So when I stumbled upon the very literal hole in the wall that is Berkel Berkel, I had to give it a try.
The dining area is tiny and totally no-frills, with lots of people filtering in and out. We were immediately given a few dishes of panchan, which seem to be serve yerself when it comes to refills. These were pretty good but nothing special, although I did enjoy the cucumbers.
The menu is short and sweet, listing various BBQ items, lots of tasty looking tofu stews, bibimbap, and a few stir-fried items. I picked out the stir-fried squid and the dolset bibimbap with beef as my options, and we were ready to go.
The squid emerged with terrifying rapidity. The portion was huge (especially for the six bucks or so I paid), and the flavor was quite good, with a rich chili burn coming out from underneath the red-bean sauce. There were even perceptible green vegetables, including some tasty zucchini. I enjoyed slurping down the meaty tentacles, one of the many disgusting but oh so good pleasures that come from eating squid.
The bibimbap arrived next (of which I, being an idiot, have no photo of), and it was a pretty standard version on theme, sizzling merrily away in its stone pot. We let it go for a while so we could scrape off the blackened and thus yummy rice from the bottom. The flavor was good, although I wish the beef had been a little meatier.
If you're around the UC Berkeley campus and want some decent Korean food at bargain-basement prices, Berkel Berkel is your sugar daddy. Don't expect ambience or over-eager service, but that really shouldn't be your first aim when you're going for discount Korean food anyway.