12th October 2017
371A Pitt St
Sydney, NSW 2000
You know what is super duper excruciatingly awkward? When you walk into a restaurant, sit down, and look at the menu for a good 10 minutes, before realising that you’re in the wrong place. At least I realised before the banchan came out.
In my defence, Sydney Madang is hard to find. Not only is it one of many on a street lined with Korean restaurants, it’s also tucked away in a side alley, marked out by an incredibly unhelpful sign. In fact, when I finally found the restaurant (after excruciatingly excusing ourselves from the first), I felt as if I had been temporarily transported back to Korea, with its plethora of bustling back street eats.
As you can see, there was a wait, but it was surprisingly reasonable given the size of the crowd. Pretty soon we found ourselves sitting down amongst raucously shouted greetings from the staff, greedily inhaling the aroma of meat sizzling on the BBQ.
The Banchan game here is strong, with 5 different dishes on offer the night we visited. There was the obligatory kimchi, followed by slivers of seasoned potato, pickled tomato and onion slices, chewy strips of fish cake, and a green salad dressed with an odd but also oddly addictive slurry of mayonnaise and mashed potato.
The meal started well with a plate of Haemul Jabchae ($17). The sweet potato noodles were slippery and chewy, stir-fried in a sweet, smoky sauce with plenty of seafood and fresh veggies. The portion is on the smaller side, but quality over quantity, right?
But it was the Kimchi Jjigae ($16) that really impressed me. The depth of flavour in the soup base was unrivalled by anything I’ve had to date, and hidden under the surface was a plethora of goodies, with the chunky pieces of pork belly being a highlight. Frankly I only shared this with Chris because I had to; I would’ve happily devoured this on my own.
I’ll admit to not being a great connoisseur of Korean food; often I can’t tell the difference between the decent stuff and the good stuff, and I’ve never fully understood when my hairdresser laments that the restaurants here aren’t as good as what he’s used to back in Korea. However, I do seem to know enough to decide that Sydney Madang does some of the best Korean food (or at least, kimchi stew) I’ve ever had.
Rating: 14/20 – maDANG that’s good.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.