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Strathfield Good Food Guide : Food Guide 2011
Serving up the real Korea Seoul of Sydney Peter Jo, frontman for Seoul of Sydney, believes Strathfield is one of the last places serving up authentic Korean cuisine. Interview by Saira Carr. wo critical factors explain why Strathfield is a centre for eating excellence: its close proximity to Flemington Markets, home to so much fresh produce, and the extraordinary influence of Korean cuisine. As you leaf through the following pages of our 2012 Strathfield Good Food Guide, these fundamentals about the area’s culinary history will come up time and again. Small wonder, then, that Peter Jo, founder of the Seoul of Sydney (SOS), which was created to showcase traditional Korean cooking, feels right at home in the municipality’s many restaurants reflecting the tastes of his homeland. Of course, Korean is by no means the only food available. There is a mouth-watering array of cuisines from China, India, Vietnam and Japan, among others. You can read about them all in the pages that follow. But while other Asian chefs have gone for fusion in an effort to broker a bridge between Australian palates and their own, Korean cooks are reaffirming their roots and demanding not just traditional dishes but authentic ingredients as well. The Japanese may own and produce a noodle factory in Australia that exports to Tokyo, but Strathfield’s stalwart Korean chefs fly in theirs direct from the motherland. SOS are nine funky and cool young chefs, most of them born in Korea, who spend their days working in some of Sydney’s best eating establishments. When they are not turning out dishes at restaurants including Rockpool Bar & Grill, Miss G’s and Bilson’s, they are educating Australia about the best of their culinary culture. “ Kimchi” Jo, as the headline writers insist on calling him, is both their spokesman and a confirmed Strathfield food-o-phile. He knows his stuff. Jo managed Madang, his parents’ Korean restaurant, and has worked in Sydney CBD restaurants such as Berta, 121 BC and David Chang’s Momofuku. So praise from him is praise indeed. “ In Strathfield, in terms of Korean food, I usually go to Arisan for Chinese-Korean cuisine.” Jo says the restaurant serves a very popular menu that has become like the “meat pie” for Australians and sees it as serving a cuisine that was developed by Chinese immigrants in Korea. “ They have similar dishes in China but nothing exactly the same. You can interpret it as being an adaption of Chinese foods to Korean palates,” he says. But then, displaying a more catholic culinary taste, he adds: “Some of my favourites around that locality include Janani, the Indian restaurant next to Homebush Public School, and the Chinese barbecue restaurant in the little arcade at Flemington.” Like many professionals in Sydney, SOS get their fresh produce from the Flemington markets for their Koreaculum dinners – fellow member Danny Yoon visits Flemington markets almost daily. Jo is convinced that although Sydney has lots of fine Korean chefs, they have few channels through which to demonstrate their art and the 6 | Strathfield Good Food Guide SFG#2_2-10 JP.indd 6 14/10/11 12:49 PM
Food Guide 2010
Strathfield Good Food Guide 2012