Korean restaurant with an eastern twist.
This newish Korean may look like the others in Lidcombe, but it holds a few aces up its sleeve. We’re talking KFC meets pizza, with Chinese stir fry for good measure. Noodlies, Sydney food blog takes a long, lingering look.
The cheesy chilli chicken (above) is a scene stealer, a conversation stopper, the real deal jaw-dropper. Framed by the square white plate, the colourful contents glisten alluringly, daring you to attack it. Try to pull a piece of chicken wrapped in fluffy batter and you’ll encounter resistance from stringy cheese. Actually cheeses, we’re talking mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan. This is KFC meets pizza, with Chinese stir fry for good measure.
Actually cheeses, we’re talking about mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan
And it’s a bewildering clash of flavours with sweetness being the most prominent, the dish itself is not too spicy. The cheesy gooey-ness is unusual for Korean food but it literally binds the whole dish amazingly well. Under the golden cheese top layer are more traditional stir fry ingredients including diced red and green capsicums.
Gwanghwamun is named after the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace (below), arguably the most beautiful and grandest of all five Royal Palaces in Seoul. Noodlies was lucky enough to visit Seoul this year and visited this national landmark. If you’re thinking of visiting the land of spicy K-food and catchy K-pop, check out my list of top 20 things to do in South Korea.
The nationalistic theme masks the type of food served up at this compact eatery. Unlike other Korean restaurants in Lidcombe, they serve up Junghwa yori; Chinese Korean food. That’s not surprising really, given South Korea’s proximity to China. In a sign that this cuisine is embedded into Korean food, these restaurants are usually run by Koreans and not necessarily ethnic Chinese.
The dish above is a classic case in point. Jajangmyeon is a Korean Chinese dish with noodles and black bean sauce. Here you have fried rice and a thick black bean sauce on the other side, just in case the Chinese influence wasn’t already obvious. It’s a sweet and, for a Korean dish, remarkably plain dish. If you’re looking for punchiness, then avoid. But there’s a lot to like if you dig subtle flavours. The owners proudly proclaim that they make all their noodles in the kitchen.
The generous bowl of seafood chilli soup (above) is back to more traditional Korean territory; extra spicy and a strong seafood pungency from clams, prawns and other seafood. Bold but controlled, it’s a satisfying slurp on its own or with mouthfuls of short grain steamed rice that comes with it.
You’ll find the usual Korean fare here such as pancake, bibimbap but it’d be wrong not to order Korean Chinese dishes. If you’re not sure like us, play it safe and order from the picture menu on the wall, these dishes are obviously their specialties. Not surprisingly you’ll find lots of stir fry dishes, one dish comes with Chinese bread (spicy beef & vegetable with plain rolls – bottom left above).
Gwanghwamun – Banjum might look like other Korean eateries, but this little place has a few interesting surprises you’ll have to try. Top on that list should be their cheesy chilli chicken (or pork).
Gwanghwamun – Banjum, Korean Restaurant
16 Joseph St, Lidcombe
(02) 9643 1933