Chinese food cooked by Koreans is one of my favourite type of foods. As strange as that sounds, there are a small number of Korean restaurants which cook Chinese dishes with Korean flavours and techniques, and the end result is quite a delicious combination of cultures. Won San (previously known as Arisana) is located on the bustling Rowe St of Eastwood and is one of two Korean/Chinese restaurants in the area. It is quite large (two storeys) and tonight we’re ordering a mix of dishes to share between the four of us.
In classic Korean style, they’ve started us off with some side dishes first! This consists of yellow pickled radish, kimchi radish and raw onions with black bean sauce. The kimchi radish is my favourite as it has spicy and sour flavours, but the raw onions and black bean sauce really strike me as strange. I am hesitant to eat raw onion at first, but after dipping a chunk of black bean sauce on it, it doesn’t taste too bad! You get the saltiness of the black bean and crunchiness of a raw onion, without the unpleasant raw flavours.
Deep Fried Garlic & Chilli Chicken – $24 (M)
Our first proper dish which comes out is the fried chicken. This is quite fragrant and piping hot, with a crispy layer of batter on the outside and succulent, tender chicken on the inside. The garlic flavour is quite apparent, but I don’t find it spicy at all. Unless you eat an actual piece of chilli, there is very little chilli flavour in the sauce. Despite this, it is a very tasty dish and highly recommended to fried chicken lovers!
Sauteed Pork with Garlic Chives – $29
The next dish are garlic chives tossed with sauteed pork. This is accompanied with a complimentary bamboo steamer of soft fluffy buns, and isn’t stated on the menu, but is a very pleasant surprise. The chives are tasty with the pork strips and are crunchy, with some light soy flavours. It is a bit oily but the buns soak this right up.
Steamed Dumplings (10pc) – $10
Next are our dumplings which are also presented in a bamboo steamer, and served with a soy dipping sauce. They contain some soup inside so you have to make sure not to pierce the dumpling when picking it up, but otherwise it is a tasty small bite to have in between mains.
Sauteed Seafood Black Bean Noodle – $15 (L)
Our last dish is the seafood black bean noodle. I’ve had this before here and it was absolutely delicious, but the problem is that there are six variations of the black bean noodle and the English names on the menu are all quite similar, so I don’t remember which one I ordered. This time, the one I order has the noodles and the sauce/toppings cooked and served separately (item #17). The noodles are soft and chewy, and the seafood plentiful, but I find there is not enough sauce to cover the noodles, and subsequently rendering them a bit bland. We asked for more sauce which they were happy to provide but this isn’t the same one I had on my previous visit, so I would suggest to order a different variation to item #17.
Overall, Won San is one of the better Korean/Chinese restaurants which I’ve been to. The dishes are quite large so it’s best to come in a big group so you can try more food as well. My top pick is the deep fried garlic and chilli chicken, make sure to order that dish if you pop by!
Won San (previously Arisana)
108 Rowe St, Eastwood, NSW
Ph: (02) 9858 2300