Korean with the locals.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog name our favourite suburb for Korean food.
Yep, it’s a big call because there are so many deserving contenders: Strathfield, Burwood, Eastwood, Campsie, Sydney CBD etc, but noodlies’ pick for a fast and authentic Korean feed is… Lidcombe.
Away from the crowds and long queues of other suburbs, here, there is plenty of parking thanks to the huge (and free) multi-storey carpark. Together with wallet friendly prices, Lidcombe is our favourite Korean suburb.
…noodlies’ pick for a fast and authentic Korean feed is… Lidcombe.
And one of the restaurants that make up the local Korean strip is Palbok House, a humble family run restaurant. Don’t expect fancy overheads and don’t expect to pay for any either. Inside the walls are painted in that unending and ubiquitous tan colour, with a few Korean beer advertising posters to break the monotony.
Don’t expect fancy overheads and don’t expect to pay for any either.
The restaurant space is relatively large but they haven’t crammed it with tables and chairs so navigation is relatively not-so-sqeezy. That just means you need to come early to avoid the rush – think before noon and 6pm.
As with most suburban Korean, the complimentary kim chi and banchan sides are generous (and bottomless). Our kim chi came in a long plate, easily double what you’d get elsewhere. Today it’s aged more than I’m used to, dry and a little bitter. The banchan are usually a lottery of what’s available, but today we get my favourite, pickled radish in thick cubes – much, much better than the thinly sliced version.
Palbok House makes one of my favourite versions of Korean pancake. It’s thick but not too floury nor too eggy – perfect for absorbing soy dipping sauce. Shallots feature prominently for a bit to taste and colour contrast. You’ll find plenty of seafood too, especially little crunchy tentacles, which might be a heads up for those who don’t like seafood. For the others, dive right in.
Today we go native – caution to the wind, run naked along the seashore (figuratively speaking) and order stir fried pork skin. It has an attractive reddish tone and comes in a sizzling plate. The dish is made up of sliced, lightly fried onion and thick strips of fatty, translucent pork skin. It tastes like you’d imagine, not much flavour though it borrows some zing from the lightly spiced marinade. What you don’t expect is the texture to be crunchy though still fatty.
Not sure if it’s the Vietnamese upbringing, where soup is a part of each meal. But we love, love, love the choice of soups in Korean cuisine. You get a lot options at Palbok; spicy through to eggy mild. Today it’s milder soy bean stew. The adventurous could gamble on blood jelly, ox tail or duck with ground perilla seeds.
But back to the soup. It’s an earthy, cloudy bowl with lurking tofu cubes and roughly cut onion that’s gone transparent during cooking. Earthy and smooth, it feels like a more substantial miso soup. Perfect palate cooler if your other order are spicy.
The adventurous could gamble on blood jelly, ox tail or duck with ground perilla seeds.
Service is friendly and family run casual – though reasonably efficient. Palbok House won’t be winning any TV cooking show awards and they haven’t been reviewed by mainstream food media. But heck, that’s a good thing. Lidcombe and this, as yet, relatively undiscovered Korean food oasis should stay that way. The rest of Sydney can flock to Strathfield and Eastwood.
Leave Lidcombe to locals and noodlies please.
2 Bridge St, Lidcombe, NSW
(02) 9649 1312