Fried chicken done ten different ways? Tell us more...
Maybe Korean food tastes so good because of all that fermentation – the sure-fire way to get umami into every element of a dish. Or maybe it’s their way with fried chicken. Either way – actually, for both reasons – we were pretty excited when the new Korean joint Seoul Orizin recently popped up in Chinatown.
Now, we’re pretty easy marks for a fried piece of meat – that’s a given. So let’s start with the fried chicken. No soggy bottoms here: the coating is crisp and ultra-crunchy, and makes a satisfying shattering sound when you bite into it. Greasiness is not an issue, and the whole thing is seasoned just right and all the way through, so it’s flavour central with each bite. Nearly a dozen variations are available, including one with soy and garlic and another one covered in cheese “snow”. But we like our simple pleasures, and recommend sticking with the traditional plain option. Why gild the battered lily?
Sadly, one cannot live on fried chicken alone. Give your arteries a break with the japchae, glass noodles tossed with zucchini, carrots and mushrooms. They're simply dressed in soy, with a good kick of sesame oil for nuttiness, and the noodles are nicely chewy. The spicy pork bibimbap comes in hotstone pots (known as dolsot), and the egg yolk is raw – as it should be. As you toss the veggies and bits of pork together, the heat from the stone cooks the yolk. Easy. Plus you get those crisp, sticky bits of rice that tack onto the hot bowl as you eat it. Commence drooling.
The topokki (cylindrical Korean rice cakes) are tasty and fun to eat. For first-timers, they're especially fun – bendy, chewy and coated in a fermenty, chilli-hot sauce. They might seem a bit odd to the Western palate on first chew, but get past the strange texture and they end up feeling more good-weird than just plain weird-weird.
Comfort food comes in the form of Korea’s beloved jajangmyeon bowl. It’s ugly as sin: a big pile of noodles covered in a thick black bean sauce. Don’t be put off. Once you mix it together, it’s a carb fest that celebrates the savoury depth of beans and the country's love of fermentation. Day treating you rough? Order a bowl and you will soldier on.
The service needs work – it takes a really long time to get our menus and have our order taken, and nearly every effort to gain any of the apparently blinkered waitresses’ attention subsequently turns out to be in vain. But persevere. The rewards are worth their weight in golden-coated chicken.
|Venue name:||Seoul Orizin||Contact:|
203-209 Thomas St
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am-11pm|