A couple months I took a trip to South Korea and spent a couple days in Seoul. Firstly, it’s such a beautiful city which is constantly awake with lots of hot food, bright lights and shopping! But the temperature stays around an average of -10c in winter, so it’s no wonder chilli is a staple in their dishes. Over my short stay, I set out to explore a wide range of Korean foods but apologies in advance because there are very few restaurant names to the below as I often could not read the name!
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.
A couple years back I went to this restaurant in Strathfield which is known for their chilli chicken. When I say chilli chicken – I mean marinated in chilli, cooked in chilli and served with chilli on a hotplate. I still have horrid memories of this place because of that dish destroying all my taste buds in seconds but somehow my friends convinced me to go back.
I’ve been to several Korean BBQ restaurants in my time, but Miga has a slightly more upmarket feel than the rest and the prices they charge for it definitely reflect that. The décor is more plush than you see in the usual Korean restaurant, with dark furnishings and a trolley for our BBQ meat to sit on so it wasn’t taking up precious tableroom. There’s also a couple of flat screen TVs mounted on the wall playing Kpop music videos and a well stocked looking bar in the corner too.
We order the funky sounding Yakult soju from the bar and while I thought it tasted interesting (like an alcoholic version of Yakult), my friends thought it tasted like antibiotics. To each their own I guess! The soju comes in a quirky little bottle where there’s a hole in the middle for an ice cube to keep the bottle chilled and it works well, except make sure not to pour the bottle the wrong way (like yours truly did…) as the melted icewater will spill out.
Yakult soju, $20
I love marinated meat at Korean BBQ but today we decide to try out their non-marinated Angus boneless short rib to see if the quality of the meat is actually higher. It turns out to be very tender; even without the marinade the meat is quite flavoursome. The only downside is that there isn’t much meat for the price you pay.
Angus boneless short rib, $23
We also tried the pork belly which was reasonably tasty (and fatty of course…) and very easily charred. It also became tougher than the beef was but that could be due to us leaving it on the hot plate for too long.
Pork belly, $16
As a carb filler to balance out all the meat, we got the Jap Chae (potato noodles) stir fried with shredded vegies and sesame oil. This was pricier than the other potato noodles I’ve had at other restaurants and although it was a bigger serving, it didn’t taste that much different than the cheaper versions. It’s very hard to mess up this dish or do it particularly well because it’s the sesame oil which gives the delicious flavour to the noodles.
Jap Chae, $18
Miga has tried to position themselves as a premium Korean BBQ restaurant and while in some respects they do deliver that experience, overall you might be better off going to the usual neighbourhood Korean BBQ restaurants which don’t have all the decorative frills. You get more bang for your buck in terms of meat in those places, since you’ll walk out smelling like charcoal regardless. At least they still deliver on the best part of Korean cuisine – the free side dishes!
Shop 34, 1 Dixon St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9261 0888
Ever since my visit to Tudari, I’ve been struggling to find another Korean restaurant that provided so many side dishes that the table was filled, but I may have found one today. On the Korean side of Eastwood near the roundabout sits Jonga Jip, a bustling Korean BBQ restaurant. It is quite busy when we arrived and later a line appeared, which is quite surprising for a weeknight!
Filed under Eastwood, Korean