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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Korean fried chicken at Seoul Orizin, Haymarket

Korean fried chicken at Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown

Korean fried chicken isn't just fuel. It's an entire sensory experience. Show me someone whose eyes don't light up at the sight of that golden batter, rippled with scales that promise an earth-shattering crunch. Forget about cutlery. Korean fried chicken is made for eating with fingers, a caveman experience that sees you tearing shreds of succulent flesh off the bone as crumbs of batter fly everywhere.

Decor inside Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Inside Seoul Orizin

It's the lure of Korean fried chicken that sees the new Seoul Orizin resolutely packed in its first week of opening. The decor is stripped back and uncluttered although a back wall glittering with gold adds some pizzazz. The industrial-style exposed light bulbs are totally on-trend. A Chinatown location (it sits across the road from ramen favourite, Menya) means it's a natural magnet for uni students and locals.

Kimchee panchan from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Panchan [clockwise from front]: Kimchee cabbage, jap chae, fish cake and mashed potato

Panchan or complimentary appetisers are always a welcome sight. We dabble our way through mini plates of spicy kimchee cabbage and slices of panfried fish cake.

Japchae panchan from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Japchae noodles

There's the delightful spring of japchae potato starch noodles and a scoop of sweet and creamy mashed potato. They'll happily provide replenishments if you ask nicely.

Beef stew bulgogi hot pot from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Beef stew bulgogi hot pot $12

The special lunch menu includes a list of more than 20 dishes that run from $10 to $13. The beef stew bulgogi hot pot is a simmering combination of marinated beef slices with glass noodles and enoki mushrooms. The broth is sweet and salty, perfect for drizzling over the accompanying bowl of plain rice.

Vegetable fried rice with black bean sauce from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Vegetable fried rice with black bean sauce $11 lunch special

There's a whole series of fried rice combo's too. The vegetable fried rice with black bean sauce comes with a huge and ominous puddle of black bean, studded with cabbage and onion. It's the same sauce they use for jajangmyeon black bean noodle.

Vegetable fried rice from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Vegetable fried rice $11 lunch special

Not into black bean? You can get your fried rice with prawns, bulgogi beef, chicken or vegetables.

Wagyu beef salad from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Wagyu beef salad $16

In a move that can only be seen as covering all bases, they offer salads too. The wagyu beef salad piles slices of panfried marinated wagyu beef over a dressed salad. They also do a tofu or a prawn salad, both of which are deep-fried. Win.

Jajangmyeon black bean sauce noodle from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Jajangmyeon $10
Black bean sauce noodle with pork and vegetables 

If you're a fan of Korean drama and always wondered what jajangmyeon tastes like, here's your chance. This dish is always featured, with looks of rapturous glee upon the faces of each actor as they slurp their way to the bottom.

The noodles are buried beneath a lake of black bean sauce, requiring a few minutes of spirited stirring to get everything mixed together. There's a great chew to the noodle and the black bean sauce has a satisfying meatiness to it, even though we can't find much evidence of the promised pork. It's sweet and saucy with an umami hit that makes it immensely satisfying. I'm starting to see why Koreans find this dish so comforting.

Today's trivia - jajangmyeon is the dish traditionally eaten by Korean singles on Black Day on April 14 each year. Singles who did not receive gifts on Feburary 14 (Valentine's Day when females gift males) or March 14 (White Day when males reciprocate gifts to females) commiserate together on Black Day with a bowl of jajangmyeon black bean noodles.

Boneless chicken gangjung from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Boneless chicken gangjung $17 half chicken
Deep fried crispy boneless chicken thigh fillets

But more importantly, where's the fried chicken? There are ten varieties on the menu running from fried chicken wings to fire grilled hot spicy chicken with cheese on top. The boneless chicken gangjung is for fast feasting, hunks of chicken thigh fillets covered in a rubbly batter.

Crispy Korean fried chicken from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Crispy fried chicken $30 whole

I'm all about fried chicken on the bone though. The whole crispy fried chicken yields a mountain of deep fried deliciousness.

Spring onion Korean fried chicken from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Spring onion chicken $33 whole 
(we requested the spring onion and mustard sauce on the side)

The spring onion chicken is usually served with the sauce and spring onion curls across the top, but we ask that the sauce be served on the side. There's a resounding crunch when we bite into the batter, a sound that's as loud - and mouthwatering - as pork crackling. It's a crunch that eclipses Arisun, Naruone, Red Pepper and Sparrow's Mill. The meat itself remains juicy too.

Korean fried chicken batter from Seoul Orizin, Haymarket Chinatown
Crispy batter

They do soy and garlic, sweet and spicy and an intriguing spicy prawn and chicken gangjung. I can't wait to acquaint myself with their version of snowing cheese chicken on my next visit.

Attracting the attention of servers can be tricky when the restaurant is busy, but when you do, staff are super friendly and eager to please.

Seoul Orizin Korean Restaurant, Haymarket Chinatown


Seoul Orizin - the Chicks on Urbanspoon

Seoul Orizin Korean Restaurant
Shop 4, 203-209 Thomas Street, Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8541 7531

Open daily 11am-11pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Korean fried chicken - Arisun, Haymarket
Korean fried chicken - Beschico, Epping
Korean fried chicken - Kim, Potts Point
Korean fried chicken - Moon Park, Redfern
Korean fried chicken - Naruone, Sydney
Korean fried chicken - Red Pepper, Strathfield
Korean fried chicken - Sparrow's Mills, Sydney

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/01/2015 04:09:00 pm


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brewery Yard Markets at Central Park, Chippendale

Nutella donuts from Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets

Markets are never a good match for night owls. Weekend sleep-ins usually win in my household. But a 10am market start is doable in my books, especially if the promise of donuts is involved. That's how I ended up at the new Brewery Yard Markets for their first two sessions of the year.

Entrance to Brewery Yard Markets
Brewery Yard Markets

The Brewery Yard Markets are held at Central Park, across the road from the UTS tower building on Broadway. The markets are held on the first and third Sunday of every month. They first kicked off in October last year.

Market stalls beneath Central Park at Brewery Yard Markets
Market stalls beneath Central Park

There's a chilled and laid back feel to the market. The stalls are mostly homewares, beauty and fashion with several food and drink stalls to keep you fed and watered. This market's not really about doing the weekly shop for organic produce. It's all about poking around stalls selling pretty, eclectic and creative products - perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Salt scrubs and body cremes by Remedica at Brewery Yard Markets
Salt scrubs and body cremes by Remedica

Organic soaps by Remedica at Brewery Yard Markets
Organic soaps by Remedica

Scented salt scrubs by Remedica at Brewery Yard Markets
Scented salt scrubs by Remedica

Watermelon, pistachio and mint donuts by Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets
Watermelon, pistachio and mint donuts by Glazed Doughnuts

Glazed Doughnuts is my first port of call. These donuts are handmade by two Californians, Candy Berger and Eden Elan.

Triple chocolate fudge brownie donuts by Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets
Triple chocolate fudge brownie donuts by Glazed Doughnuts

There are about thirty different donut flavours in their total range. They churn out a small subset of those varieties, rotated every couple of weeks. They do morning drop-offs at various cafes throughout Sydney - these tend to include Paramount Coffee Project, Reuben Hills, Kingswood Coffee, Baker Bros, Tap Espresso, Sample Coffee, John Mantagu, John Smith, The Wedge Espresso and Sensory Lab Bondi.

Apple pie donuts by Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets
Apple pie donuts by Glazed Doughnuts

Nutella donut with waffles and banana chips by Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets
Nutella donut with waffles and banana chips

Their donuts are light and fluffy with a slight chewiness in each bite. There's a great sense of fun in their flavour combinations, jazzing up Nutella with waffle smithereens and banana chips or adding splashes of pistachio green to their candy pink watermelon donut.

Watermelon pistachio donut and Nutella donut with waffles by Glazed Doughnuts at Brewery Yard Markets
Watermelon and pistachio donut and Nutella donut with waffles and banana chips

Unfortunately they don't seem to be regulars at Brewery Yard Markets anymore. They weren't there on my second visit. You should be able to catch them at Bondi Public School Markets - check their Instagram for the latest.

Self-watering planter by Feedback Organic Recovery at Brewery Yard Markets
The Corner Store self-watering planter by Feedback Organic Recovery

Cactus planter boxes by Feedback Organic Recovery at Brewery Yard Markets
Cactus planter boxes by Feedback Organic Recovery

Herb coffee table by Feedback Organic Recovery at Brewery Yard Markets
Herb coffee table by Feedback Organic Recovery

How cute is this multi-function coffee table?

Terrarias by Bottlecosm at Brewery Yard Markets
Terrarias by Bottlecosm

Soy wax candles by Keepsake Candles at Brewery Yard Markets
Soy wax candles by Keepsake Candles 

Soy wax candles by Keepsake Candles at Brewery Yard Markets
Soy wax candles in mason jars by Keepsake Candles 

Stalls on Chippendale Green at Brewery Yard Markets
Market stalls on Chippendale Green

Ping pong tables at Brewery Yard Markets
Ping pong tables

Free ping pong tables, deck chairs and live music are a nice touch too.

Deck chairs on the lawn at Brewery Yard Markets
Deck chairs on the lawn

Sweets by Raw Eats at Brewery Yard Markets
Sweets by Raw Eats

Pork and coconut chicken on the grill by Eatabella at Brewery Yard Markets
Pork and coconut chicken on the grill by Eatabella's Vietamese food stall

Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Brooklyn Boy Bagels has a regular stall here. Word is their Matraville store isn't too far from opening either.

Challah bread by Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Challah bread $9

I could not pass up a loaf of challah bread. It's been delicious with butter - and I'm looking forward to a couple of decadent French toast breakfasts in my future.

Pretzels by Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Pretzels

Nutella, salted caramel and chocolate babkas by Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Nutella; salted caramel and sesame seed; and chocolate babkas

And there was no need to recreate the Seinfeld scene when Elaine misses out on chocolate babka. I managed to score a slice of this sweet yeast treat before they ran out. They also do Nutella and salted caramel with sesame seed versions.

Sesame seed and poppy seed bagels by Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Sesame seed and poppy seed bagels $3.50

And I had to grab a bagel too. If you want to eat one on the spot, you can get them schmeared with cream cheese for $2.50. If I wasn't on my way to lunch I definitely would have gotten the bacon, bourbon and maple schmear.

Michael Shafran founder of Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Michael Shafran, founder of Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Brooklyn Boy Bagels at Brewery Yard Markets
Brooklyn Boy Bagels

The Brewery Yard Markets will be on again this Sunday, and in good news for sweet tooths, Kraving K will be making their debut appearance at the markets too.

Brewery Yard Markets in Chippendale



Brewery Yard Markets
28 Broadway, Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)416 172 061

Held on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month
10am-4pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Chippendale - Brickfields
Chippendale - Ester
Chippendale - LP's Quality Meats
Chippendale - Something for Jess

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/25/2015 12:39:00 am


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Li-Sun Exotic Mushroom tour in the old Mittagong railway tunnel

Li-Sun Exotic Mushroom tour in an old railway tunnel at Mittagong

The Mittagong railway mushroom tunnel is unlike anything you've ever seen. Cool, damp and eerily quiet, the long disused train tunnel has been used to grow mushrooms since the 1950s. The tunnel itself stretches for 650 metres, its curved archway soaring way above our heads. Since 1987 the tunnel has been home to Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms, established by microbiologist Dr Noel Arrold.

Entrance to the old railway tunnel at Mittagong now growing mushrooms
Our tour group at the end of the disused railway tunnel in Mittagong

Today you can take tours of the mushroom tunnel, held on public holiday long weekends. Tours take place on a Sunday as the market closures on Monday mean no mushrooms are harvested the day before. That means the chance to see a good crop of mushrooms grown in the tunnel itself, including chestnut, oyster, shiitake, shimeji, Swiss brown and wood ears. Enoki, king brown and nameko require different climatic conditions and are grown in laboratories off site.

Dr Noel Arrold, microbiologist, founder and owner of Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms
Dr Noel Arrold, found and owner of Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms

Dr Arrold is the founder and owner of Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms. The name Li-Sun comes from the names of his children, but he freely admits this was deliberately engineered to sound Asian to appeal to the Asian market. A microbiologist with a PhD in mushroom cultivation from the University of Sydney, Dr Arrold is an expert in genetic breeding.

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

The single track railway tunnel was built in 1886 to connect Bowral to Mittagong as part of the Main South Railway Line. It runs directly beneath Mount Gibraltar, a mini mountain that stands 868 metres high and is thought to be the rim of an ancient volcano. Construction took three years to complete.

When rail traffic increased, a new double track railway tunnel was built alongside it in 1918. The abandoned railway was briefly used to store explosives during World War II but these were removed when it was realised that the tunnel was prone to flooding during periods of heavy sustained rainfall.

Enoki mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Enoki mushrooms in front of a photo of Jamie Oliver in the mushroom tunnel

Constant 16C temperature and high humidity levels in the tunnel mimic the same conditions as the forests where these mushrooms varieties naturally grow. It's blissfully cool in the tunnel, especially on a 40C day like the day we visit. Dr Arrold says the consistent and sheltered environment offers ideal condition for mushroom cultivation. Only in winter do they occasionally hose down the paths to increase humidity levels.

Initially starting with shiitake mushrooms, Li-Sun now grows and supplies a wide variety of mushrooms for both restaurant and domestic use. Only a few are grown outside the tunnel, including enokis that are grown in a coolroom at 6C and king browns that prefer a warmer 18C-20C.

Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Garbage bags filled with sterilised eucalyptus sawdust and used to grow oyster mushrooms

The mushrooms are not grown on compost but sterilised eucalyptus sawdust that is then innoculated with mushroom spores. The black garbage bags are a clever innovation by Dr Arrold, slashed with small holes so the mushrooms emerge from these openings for easy harvesting.

Oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Oyster mushrooms


Today Li-Sun grow 1500 kilos of mushrooms per week. That's only a modest amount compared to most other mushroom farmers who harvest an average of 20 tonnes each week.

About 70 per cent of their crop used to be bought by restaurants but Dr Arrold says this is changing significantly with individuals buying more and more of his supply through supermarkets and farmers markets. His credits this mostly to the rise of cooking shows and growing confidence by the public. While he used to export mushrooms to Japan, now all his stock is sold locally in order to keep up with demand. 

Fun fact: Australians consume the second highest amount of mushrooms per capita in the world after France. On average we eat seven kilos of funghi per year. 

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Seeing these mushrooms up close and in various stages of growth was quite a magical experience. I couldn't stop taking photos. Enjoy them in peace and quiet like I did.

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Pink oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Pink oyster mushrooms

Golden oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Golden oyster mushrooms

King oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
King oyster mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Walking through the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Walking through the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Wood ear mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Wood ear mushrooms (also known as black fungus or cloud ear mushrooms)

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Golden oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Golden oyster mushrooms

Pink oyster mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Pink oyster mushrooms

Shimeji mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shimeji mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Baby shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Baby shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Shiitake mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms in the Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong
Chestnut mushrooms

Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms railway tunnel, Mittagong



The Li-Sun Exotic Mushroom tunnel tour costs $35 per person and includes a guided tour with Dr Noel Arrold, coach transfer to the tunnel from a nearby carpark (not Dr Arrold's laboratory) and a punnet of exotic mushrooms. The tour takes about 60-70 minutes.

Remaining tour dates for 2015 are
Sunday 5 April
Sunday 7 June
Sunday 4 October

To book a tour, contact the Highlands Foodie Group
Tel: +61 (02) 4871 2524
Email: info@highlandsfoodiegroup.com.au


Grab Your Fork attended this tour anonymously as a paying attendee.


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Bowral - Biota Dining
Moss Vale - Bernie's Diner

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/21/2015 11:48:00 pm



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