Microbiologist-turned-homemaker, she is a foodie with a flair for cooking. An avid traveller and voracious reader, she also loves to paint and indulges in photography.
Published August 12th 2015
Korean Charcoal BBQ
Have you ever had the real feel of South Korea while having Korean food in Sydney? Well, I have been to many Korean restaurants but nothing prepared me for what I was about to encounter in Strathfield. It was complete gut instinct that we followed and made our way into the restaurant, which is represented just by a door(easy to miss and easier to ignore). It is when one makes it into the door which leads into a corridor opening into the world of Jang Ta Bal that the world of Korean food in an authentic Korean setting comes into picture.
Like most other well-known and easy-on-the-pocket south east Asian restaurants, Jang Ta Bal too is marked by a queue of eagerly waiting people but unlike others where the line trickles down to the pavement, the corridor of this restaurant veils the masses that gathered every evening to dine there. On entry, the kitchen on the right greets you first. Once inside, you write your name and number of guests down on a paper hanging by the second door which opens into the large dining area. And then the wait starts. The restaurant gets so crowded by 6:30 pm that the wait becomes a test of patience. But then once you are led inside and your order appears before you, it all becomes worthwhile, which is what happened with us.
The inside is a cacophony of banter; laughters rising above the crowd and scurrying waiters with hot pots, hot plates, burning charcoal and what not. The air is smokey and filled with aroma from different kinds of meat cooking on the tables. The seating arrangement adds to the typical Korean feel. Half of the dining space has low tables on a raised platform with on-the-floor seating and the other half is occupied by the usual tables and chairs.
Once seated, we placed our orders (the menu is dominated by beef followed by pork with a few choices in sea food, chicken and duck) and without delay a variety of side dishes were served. These included pickled onion, pickled radish, bok choy, crab marinated in chili paste, kimchi, pickled cucumber and herb mix, mashed parsnip and some lettuce. Soon after, we were served our order of chicken marinated in chili paste and chicken fried rice.
Chicken marinated in Chilli paste(image courtesy Chetan Prusty)
The service was surprisingly fast and the waiters polite(adding to our satisfaction) given the huge crowd the restaurant was catering to. The servings were generous. To top it up, everything tasted fresh, delicious and lip-smackingly good. With each mouthful, our taste buds were bathed in the tangy and savory goodness of the pickles and marinades.
Have all the above descriptions increased your craving for Korean food manifold? And do you miss the authentic Korean set-up to enjoy your meal? If your answer is yes, then Jang Ta Bal is your destination. As a matter of fact it will meet the expectations of all who love Asian food. Disappointment does not stand a chance.