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Korean

Jo Ja Ryong

I had naively shown up at Strathfield at 5:45pm on a Saturday night, absolutely starving, with the intention of having some Korean BBQ. As it turns out, this is actually a rather popular pastime for the locals, and not feeling like waiting upwards of 2 hours at the restaurant I had originally intended to eat at, I decided to have a wander around and see what else was available. And although most places in the area were plagued with a dismally long queue, I was lucky enough to nab the last remaining table at Jo Ja Ryong. The menu at Jo Ja Ryong looked suspiciously familiar when I first laid eyes on it. As it turns out, they are affiliated…

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Eunhasu Korean Restaurant

I have been reading Pachinko recently (fantastic book by the way, would 100% recommend, especially for those looking for excellent novels by women of colour), and the descriptions of Korean food in it got me absolutely craving for the stuff. Eunhasu Korean Restaurant is a small, unassuming little shop located on the quieter side of Strathfield, serving up a range of dishes that would be familiar to many. But despite its utilitarian appearance, the space was clean and comfortable, and the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming if we had been family.

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The Mandoo

After an extremely long day, I found myself unwilling to even contemplate cooking, and so ended up at The Mandoo, a small but popular Korean dumpling restaurant that I’ve had my eye on for the last year or so. The place is even tinier than I had imagined, with diners crammed elbow-to-elbow on shared tables in the narrow space. Combined with the warm day, the lack of air conditioning, and the steamers full of dumplings in the open kitchen, and you’ve got a stuffy and frankly rather uncomfortable place to eat. But having dined perched on plastic stools at the side of the street in South-East Asia during summer, this is far from a deal-breaker, and would be happily forgiven…

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Old Garden Kaffe

I’d like to think of myself as too old and too world-weary to be sucked in by Instagram-worthy food. After all, I’ve been burned before by restaurants that proffer up food that looks good, but doesn’t do much else. Except as it turns out, I’m not quite as dead inside as I thought, because when photos like this started popping up on my Instagram feed, I was sucked in, hook, line, and sinker. Old School Ka-Fey, recently re-branded as Old Garden Kaffee, is currently the hottest (or is that the coldest) place to get your dessert on. For those of you familiar with Asian dessert cafes, the offerings are Old Garden are pretty typical. Think giant slabs of buttered brioche…

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Myeongdong Korean Restaurant

Like the next person, I love a good freebie. Nothing gets a restaurant into my good books like a quality serve of bread and butter, or a complimentary nibble served before a meal. And one thing that completely won me over in Korea was the generous varieties of free banchan that came with free refills, or better still, the self-serve station at the airport where I totally gorged myself on pickles and fish cakes. Being used to Melbourne’s banchan situation – that’s to say, 2-3 small dishes with each meal – I was already rather impressed with Sydney’s offerings, which usually ranges between 3-5 options. But when I heard about Meyongdong Korean Restaurant, my mind was completely blown. 12 banchan…

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Vecino

One of the most disappointing meals I’ve ever had was at a now-defunct restaurant called KOBA. I had been so excited for its promise of Korean and Mexican fusion, yet they fell so far off the mark in execution that it still stings to this day. This explained my mixed feelings when I first came across Vecino, another Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant, and what appears to be the one and only of its kind in Sydney. I was keen to see the concept finally done justice, yet I was afraid of being disappointed for a second time. Thankfully in the year or so it’s been open, Vecino has garnered some very positive reviews indeed, so it was with cautious optimism that…

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