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SSC Newspaper : November 2013
18 Strathfield Scene NOVEMBER 2013 FOOD The craze over dangmyeon seems to have reached boiling point. Ever since I pronounced the Korean sweet potato noodle a new super food, I’ve been asked: “ Where can I get it, and what’s the best way to eat it?” The good news is there are a dozen different ways — and many places in Strathfield to sample it. Here are my picks. The Black: Jjimdak, chicken and vegetables in a spicy soy marinade Jjimdak is a classic Korean dish of spicy chicken braised in an inky soy sauce. Stra Pocha (19 Everton Road, Strathfield) makes its version like they do in the South Korean city of Andong. Like Italy, South Korea is a country peppered with regional cuisines. Just as Naples is famous for pizza, Andong is famous for black braised chicken. Stra Pocha’s $40 serve comes on an impressive 35cm-wide platter. It contains an entire chicken (chopped into pieces with bone in), together with a host of other ingredients such as rice cakes, no fewer than eight vegetables, red dates, dried chillies and sweet potato noodles. All these glide around in a sweetish, spicy soy sauce that totally permeates the noodles. Given all that deliciousness, a soy sauce moustache is a small price to pay. The Red: Budae jjigae, army base stew Traditional Korean cuisine adheres to the ancient notion of food as medicine, using foods with healing or fortifying properties to enrich the body. I’ll make it clear from the start: Korean army base stew isn’t one of those perfectly composed dishes fundamental to that time-honoured practice. It was created only relatively recently, in the 1950s. Budae means army base — a reference to the US Army presence in South Korea during the Korean War. Jjigae means stew. The hero ingredients in Korean army base stew are Spam, hot dogs and baked beans — all US Army handouts during the Korean War. These are combined with a versatile range of Korean ingredients such as red pepper paste, kimchi, rice cakes, vegetables, instant noodles and sweet potato noodles. It might not be traditional, but it sure is delectable! At Doo Ri Korean BBQ Restaurant (136/20 Albert Road, Strathfield), for $35 you can try this ultimate fusion dish, complete with casserole pot bubbling away at your table. The Wriggly: Japchae, sweet potato noodles with beef Attend a Korean party and you’re likely to find fellow guests slurping up japchae, non-spicy stir-fried noodles that make a popular party dish. Sweet potato noodles, the main ingredient of this dish, are cooked and tossed with soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. The noodles are then combined with beef bulgogi and vegetables like sautéed spinach, carrots and onions, each of those items having been cooked separately. The $12 japchae at CeCi (37 The Boulevarde, Strathfield) is redolent with the inimitable fragrance of Korean sesame oil and is properly chewy. For a meal on the run, you can also get a pre-packed takeaway box of japchae from Korean grocers, usually near the cashier. The long and the short of Korean super noodles Eating tip Carbo-phillics, this one is for you. Atkins and Paleo dieters, time to move on to the next article. Korean meals often come with a bowl of shortgrain rice. The bland stickiness of that rice is a peerless match for the umami chewy noodles. Have half a spoon of rice, quickly followed by a chopstick’s bundle of sweet potato noodles from any of the three dishes described above. Munch to combine. Hear the angels sing. LEMONY SNICKET, THIS IS JUST THE TICKET! Magazines often feature glowing celebrities virtuously claiming to wake up to “just a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon to vivify me before I hit the gym”. Inevitably, some nutritionist will contribute a comment that the benefits of lemon water are unproven, and the acidity isn’t great for tooth enamel health either. For a less acidic alternative, try lemon rind tea. Health benefits aside, this is a soothing drink that makes good use of the oft-discarded lemon rind with all its aromatic oils. Simply peel off three or more strips of lemon rind, being careful to remove as little of the bitter white pith as possible. Steep these strips in a mug of boiling water. Sweeten to taste with honey, if desired. Finally, in the love-food, hate-waste spirit, once you’ve extracted lemon juice for salad and removed the rind for tea, don’t discard the spent lemon halves yet. Pop them in the fridge to replace any unwanted smells with lemony freshness. Now that’s squeezing maximum value from your lemon. 2014 STRATHFIELD GOOD FOOD GUIDE For more ideas on eating out in the Strathfield area, check out the free 2014 Strathfield Good Food Guide inside this copy of the Scene. You can pick up a copy from Strathfield Council, or look out for the online version at www.ourstrathfield.com.au. DASH OUT A DELICIOUS DUMPLING DINNER Show me a child who doesn’t like dumplings and I’ll show you a vegetarian lion. In my household, there’s no dawdling over dinner when dumplings are served. Making dumplings from scratch is not technically challenging, but it is best done as a communal activity on a leisurely Sunday afternoon, with Uncle Bob and Aunty Shirl chatting and wrapping. Many hands, light work and all that. As the sole adult whipping up a weeknight family dinner, though, the thought of doing a fine dice to fill 50 dumplings, then wrapping and cooking them, is enough to make one reach for another glass of riesling ... or for Domino’s Pizza on speed dial. On a school night, making dumplings from scratch or having a dumpling restaurant meal are not ideal options. There is a third way, known as Freezer Delights Secrets. Visit any Asian grocer and you will find dumplings in the freezer. They come in family-size packets for about $5, in every meat and vegetable combination and in vegetarian versions too. Coriander lovers, keep your eyes peeled for pork and coriander Chinese dumplings (jiaozi). People who prefer lighter fare might go for Korean mandu, as the common meat, tofu and chopped noodle combo makes for a less meaty dumpling. Cook the dumplings straight from the freezer. Avoid defrosting dumplings as they will stick together. Drop the dumplings into a big pot of water on rolling boil. Keep boiling, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until they float. At this stage, to be doubly sure no raw mince remains, pour a cup of tap water into the pot. By the time you get a rolling boil again, the dumplings will have been completely cooked. Drain, toss through a little soy sauce and sesame oil, and Bob’s your uncle. A dumpling dinner in 10 minutes flat. Get Chinese jiaozi at Tan Hung Long Asian Supermarket, 12/90 The Crescent, Homebush West. Get Korean mandu at Hanaro Mart, Shop 16, Strathfield Plaza. Author profile: Wee Lynn Teo specialises in team-building and private food tours featuring authentic eats in unassuming Sydney suburbs. She is also a freelance food writer and blogger. Website: http://FeastingInTheKnow.com Telephone: 0439 472 985 KOREAN CHINESE VIETNAMESE INDIAN JAPANESE PUBS & PROVIDORES CAFES, BAKERIES & DESSERTS Strathfield Guide 2014 GOOD FOOD Chef Jimmy Park with Stra Pocha’s jjimdak Given all that deliciousness, a soy sauce moustache is a small price to pay. N EW SBITES Tasty items to whet your appetite. On the menu this month