8 Lyons St
Strathfield, NSW 2135
I love a good Korean meal, and I’m lucky to have Myeongdong just down the road from my house. But as much as it pains me to say it, Myeongdong is not the be-all-end-all of Korean food. Although they have some great soups and share plates, they’re still missing a few of my favourites. Luckily, the Strathfield area is nothing if not chock-a-block with good Korean restaurants, and a quick search led me to Hansang, which has an impressively large menu with pretty much every Korean dish I’ve ever eaten, and great reviews to boot.
Just like most of the Korean restaurants in the area, Hansang is about traditional Korean cooking, rather than the over-sweet bulgogi and obligatory bibimbap you’re likely to come across elsewhere. Not only do they not skimp on the offal and the secondary cuts, they also have some home-styled dishes that you’re not likely to see outside of a family kitchen, the most intriguing one to me being the stone pot rice with chestnuts and beans, cooked in the single-serve pressure cookers lining the wall.
Ever since Myeongdong became my local Korean restaurant, I’ve turned up my nose at any place serving less than half a dozen banchan. And whilst Hansang doesn’t quite do the dizzying array of side dishes that Myeongdong has become known for, I was definitely drawn here partially for their solid offerings. Aside from the usual kimchi and fish cakes, there are also some fun little items I’ve never seen before, such as sliced spam cooked with egg, and a deliciously mayo-heavy pasta salad. But my favourites would have to be the marinated seaweed, as well as a delightfully fresh and crunchy pickled daikon.
Hansang is known for their soup; in fact, you can see two swimming pool-sized vats of it boiling right by the entrance. One vat contains a light, translucent broth, but it’s the 72 hour sa-gol I’m interested in. Simmered with a mix of beef and ox bones, this marrow-heavy soup has the colour and consistency of milk, and approaches tonkotsu in its richness, but without the accompanying heaviness.
You can get the sa-gol with a few different meats, but the best option is arguably the Ox Tail Soup ($23), with its double whammy of tender meat and collagen-filled crevices.
I’ve had a soft spot for Spicy Rice Cakes ($18) ever since having them in from a street cart in Korea on a raining day, so I find it hard to say no when I see it on the menu. These unfortunately made the cardinal mistake of being overcooked, resulting in a slightly mushy texture, rather than the delightful chewiness that is this snack’s biggest drawcard. But aside from that, the sauce was up to scratch, and there was plenty of good quality fish cake mixed through. Maybe it was just a bad lot?
Despite the slightly disappointing rice cakes, I’ve found plenty to like about Hansang. Their sa-gol is as good of a beef soup as I have ever had, and there are many more things on the menu that I’m keen to make a go of. I think I still like Myeongdong a little more overall, but when I’m looking for variety, Hansang is where I’ll be heading.
Rating: 13/20 – super soups.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.