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Strathfield Good Food Guide : Food Guide 2011
2012 edition | 7 rich diversity of the food of their homeland. “I originally tried to find Australian-Koreans but I couldn’t find any,” he says of the formation of SOS. “Now I’ve found a few, but they don’t understand the culture as I do.” And try as he might, there is still a way to go to make ordinary Australians understand Korean cuisine. Strathfield, of course, has a head start. It has a large Korean population, and more Korean restaurants than any other suburb. Which is why it remains one of Jo’s big hopes. But he admits it is hard to fight the cliche: most Australians equate Korean food with barbecue or kimchi (hence the headliner’s epithet). However, his country’s food goes far beyond that. Korea, for instance, was never a meat-eating culture, and many of its dishes are vegetarian. As well as owning Madang, one of Sydney’s most successful Korean restaurants, Jo’s parents were the proprietors of city’s first Korean grocery. But Jo admits there was a lot to learn – and going home was a revelation. “I thought I understood maybe 50 to 60 per cent of the culture, but I went to Korea and it was the first time I actually ventured out of Seoul. “I borrowed a car and just drove around the country and visited little farms and villages, and there was just so much that I had never seen as part of Korean cuisine.” Jo would like to highlight these differen t dishes,but confesses that right n ow the collective are plating up modern Austr alian style to keep the crowds coming. He is adamant, however, that fusion is not on the menu. He knows there are elements in their dishes that could make it fusion, but it is SOS’s solemn intention that at least 80 per cent of the dishes are Korean. For example, saeng tae tang, a dish SOS cooked at their first dinner in July, is a soup made with Alaska pollock, but this is only available in Australia frozen. So they replicated it using fresh Australian leatherjacket instead. Jo and SOS aim for their food to remain traditional and come as close as possible to the dishes you get in Korea. “ We would describe our food as being interpretation s of traditional and authentic Korean cuisin e, u tilising modern cooking techniques and Australia’s freshest produce. I guess you can almost label it as nouvelle Korean cuisine. ” Jo and SOS were happy to perform at the Strathfield Food Festival alongside such greats as Chung Jae Lee, head chef at Mapo, a popular Korean restaurant in Adelaide. It is, Jo believes, one of the few places in Australia where authentic Korean cuisine is still being served and eaten with relish. We would describe our food as being interpretations of traditional and authentic Korean cuisine www.ourstrathfield.com.au SFG#2_2-10 JP.indd 7 14/10/11 12:50 PM
Food Guide 2010
Strathfield Good Food Guide 2012