Burning tongue, burning bum
Did the title catch your attention? Well, that’s exactly what you will get from eating Stra Pocha’s chilli chicken. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
While we are spoilt for choice when it comes to Korean cuisine in Sydney, it’s not always possible to find a place which hasn’t lowered the heat intensity of it’s chilli foods to cater for the general non-chilli-eating population. At Stra Pocha, the chilli chicken ($35) comes with a warning of three red chillis on the menu. Back before this new menu was introduced, the warning used to come in the form of “It is very hot, okay? No return if too hot…“
Preempting a burning tongue, we order a bottle of Korean black raspberry wine ($22) which is sweet until it hits your throat. We also have a bottle of chilled water ready.
Soon enough, our star dish arrives on a burning hot plate with a tray of condiments. There’s kim chi, pickled daikon, pasta and bean sprouts.
The secret chilli paste coating the chicken and rice cake tastes a bit like gochujang, which is made from dried chillies, salt, water, fermented soybeans and sweet rice powder. It leaves us panting and numbs our tongue, but is tremendously addictive. We eat on, trying not to think about the painful side effects tomorrow. A sore throat? A burning bum? Aww, but it’s so good right now.
Thankfully our egg soup ($5) is served bubbling hot not too long after. I find that it combats the heat much more effectively than the water or wine.
We also have the spicy sliced pork belly with cheese ($35), stir-fried in a cast iron pan at the table. The cheese oozes with the chilli paste and pork belly, creating something quite special that words cannot describe.
And because I was here with four other hungry foodies, we add the spicy hot pot stew with assorted sausages ($35), spam, baked beans and vegies. Topped with a block of ramen and cheese, it is pure comfort food.
If you’re a fan of charcoal BBQs, then Stra Pocha is also the place to go. There’s a wide menu of beautifully marinated meats and seafoods. It’s an one-stop-shop for all things Korean, delicious and hot.
19-21 Everton Rd, Strathfield NSW
(02) 9534 8117