Myeong Dong

Ain’t no party like a ban­chan party – and this North Strath­field cheap eat does the Korean side-dish thing like a cham­pion

Time Out (Sydney) - - FOOD & DRINK - He­len Yee

WHAT’S NOT TO love about ban­chan, those free side dishes served in Korean res­tau­rants? Myeong Dong in North Strath­field, how­ever, steps things up a notch. It’s not just the num­ber of ban­chan – at least a dozen seems to be stan­dard – but the va­ri­ety on ro­ta­tion too. On any given day you’ll score cab­bage kim­chi, soy-mar­i­nated per­illa leaves, mung bean jelly, soy bean sprouts, radish kim­chi, fish-cake slices, sim­mered lo­tus roots, stir-fried spinach and more. Each of­fers vari­a­tions in crunch, salti­ness, acid­ity and heat, per­fect for al­ter­nate nib­bling through­out your meal. And if you need re­fills of any­thing, you can have that too. Also free. Get the haemul pa­jeon seafood pan­cake to start, and revel in a mas­sive disc of prawns, cala­mari, mus­sels and shal­lots, bound to­gether in a light and crunchy bat­ter. Don’t over­look the clas­sic sim­plic­ity of sun­dubu jji­gae, a spicy soup filled with fresh curds of silky tofu and hunks of seafood. If you’re down with of­fal, you’ll love the ten­der chewi­ness of the beef in­tes­tine stew. You won’t find bar­be­cue grills here, but you will no­tice the ma­jor­ity of din­ers – Korean fam­i­lies and groups of friends – shar­ing hot­pot dishes, giant ves­sels set over por­ta­ble gas cook­ers at the ta­ble. The gam­jatang spicy pork-bone stew is a crowd favourite, a spicy soup piled with raw onions, cab­bage, enoki mush­rooms, green veg­eta­bles and sweet po­tato noo­dles. There’s not a huge amount of DIY cook­ing in­volved, just some gen­tle prod­ding. What you will be re­warded with is a pip­ing-hot soup, swollen with goodies. The pork-rib bones are the best bit. Don’t even bother go­ing for one un­less you’re will­ing to do it jus­tice by us­ing your fin­gers to get into ev­ery last nook and cranny.

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