35/1 Dixon St
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Today is another celebratory dinner! Approximately 2 weeks after deciding that he would like a new job, Chris went ahead and got himself one at a schmancy 40th floor office, along with a rather respectable raise and some great on-the-job perks. This is especially impressive, given that he had been promoted to senior developer just earlier this year. I know it’s not good to brag – I promise my parents raised me better than this – but I’m just so darn proud of him!
I had originally planned to have something healthy for dinner, but given the circumstances, my speculations on tofu vs. tempeh went out the window. Given that Chris is funding this entire ‘going-back-to-school-to-study-medicine’ thing, the least I could do is treat him to some fried chicken at Arisun!
We’ve actually both been keen to check out Arisun for ages, as it’s known as one of, if not the best place to get Korean fried chicken in Sydney. The place is absolutely enormous, and judging by what I’ve seen every time I’ve walked past, packed to the brim with merrymakers. It is loud and rambunctious, with K-pop blaring in the background, but that’s hardly surprising considering its self-proclaimed status as a chicken and beer house.
With that said however, Arisun’s menu actually extends far beyond fried chicken, into a large variety of traditional Korean dishes designed to share. Unfortunately the banchan situation is not up to scratch. Far from the half a dozen side dishes I’ve come to expect from Korean restaurants in Sydney, all you get here is a small dish of shredded kimchi that isn’t even all that good, plus some palate-cleansing pickles if you order the fried chicken.
Chris agreed with me, regretfully, that we couldn’t have a meal of just fried chicken. So to start off, we ordered the $20 Lunch Combo, which is available after 4pm for an extra $2. It’s certainly great value – not only do you get a pot of Spicy Seafood Soft Tofu Soup, you also get your choice from 4 different meat dishes, along with a bowl of rice. Unfortunately the soup wasn’t all that great. Despite its spiciness, it was actually surprisingly bland, with a disappointing lack of seafood, though plenty of delicious silken tofu.
I chose the Spicy Pork Belly to have with the soup, and once again, this was rather disappointing. The pork was cooked in a sweet and savoury sauce that lacked character, though thankfully it didn’t fall into the trap of being flavourless like the stew. Like the soup, I was happy enough to eat it, but I certainly wasn’t impressed. Still, we’re not really here for non-fried-chicken things, and I could happily forgive the below average dishes if the chicken is as good as everyone promised.
And thankfully, the chicken was top-notch. The Soy Fried Chicken ($22, half size) was some of the best I’ve ever had. The meat was super hot and juicy, and although the batter was light, it stayed crunchy even under the sticky soy glaze, and had plenty of addictively nubbly bits to boot. There was also impressively little bone, which meant extra chickeny bang for your buck.
Arisun may not necessarily do very good Korean food that isn’t fried chicken, but surprisingly, I find myself not minding that one bit. I imagine most people really only come here for the fried chicken, and I’m certainly not about to start recommending anything different. It’s no more and no less than a spot to grab some great KFC (that’s Korean fried chicken to you!) and a few drinks with a large group of friends, and as long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be just fine.
Rating: 12.5/20 – i feel like chicken tonight.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.