Thursday, November 18, 2010

Min Sok Chon, Sydney

There are lots of places to go to eat Korean in Sydney. Many of my friends have suggested me to try Min Sok Chon. I went there tonight with a couple of mates just to have dinner and to try their food. When I eat Korean, I expect the meats to be well marinated, tender and juicy and the taste has to be there but not overpowering. A good test for a Korean restaurant is to try their basics and see how they turn the basics into something memorable. Basics for me ranges between Bulgogi, Galbi, Gamjatang, Pae Jun and Jap Chae.

I enjoy Korean food very much when it is spectacular. Lucky for us Sydney people, I have to say, I have tried many awesome Korean food especially at Strathfield area. It is a fair bit of a drive if you live in the City area, but trust me, its worth the drive. One of my favorite Korean restaurants has got to be Bassim in Strathfield. Order their So Galbi when you are there. Mind blowing.

Back to Min Sok Chon, so we ordered Bulgogi, Jap Chae, Braised Pork Belly and Korean crispy chicken wing. As always, when you are in a Korean restaurant, the first thing that comes on to the table would be their many condiments. Kimchee, stewed potatoes and cold sweet and sour beansprouts just to name the few. My first comments to these condiments are, its tasteless. I love the sweet, sour and salty beansprouts usually. But this time, it was just tasteless. It seems like they made it, so that the condiments are there. Made with no love and passion and it shines right through.

The first dish that came was our Jap Chae. Jap Chae is a clear mung bean vermicelli, marinated with soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil and tossed with vegetable and a touch of thinly sliced meat. Jap Chae is supposed to be not too overpowering in flavors, but the balance has to be extremely perfect between salty and sweetness. The Jap Chae tonight, was very sweet. The flavors were too bold and they need to tone it down a bit.

Bulgogi was the second dish to come and Bulgogi is basically, thinly sliced beef that needs to be marinated with grated pear, soy sauce, garlic, salt, sugar and sesame oil and fried quickly with vegetables. The key to the perfect Bulgogi is that it has to be tender, especially with the thinly sliced meat, it is very easy to overcook it. But once again, the meat was from the wrong cut of beef and there was a lot of sinew.

Third dish was the Braised Pork Belly. Braised with sugar, soy sauce and I tasted some cooking wine in it too. Pork belly is a cut of meat that needs either to be roasted or braised really slowly until the meat is very tender. The meat tonight was dry and tough. Only means one thing, that they didnt braise it long enough. The taste was substantial but if it had been able to melt in your mouth, then it would have been so much better.

Fourth dish, the battered chicken, deep fried and coated with a sticky sweet sauce. This was probably the highlight of the whole dinner. Chicken was succulent, sauce was reasonably tasty, but it seems that they were using frozen battered chicken wings. The batter was tough and it wasn't light at all. Its like chewing through a crispy dough. But other than that, it wasn't too bad.

In conclusion, I would not eat here again if I don't have to. But push comes to shove, when am craving for Korean food really badly, I think I'll visit this restaurant again.


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