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Posted December 9, 2013 by David Tang in Occasion
 
 

Moon Park, Redfern

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Most people reading this post by now would have ventured into one of the many Korean hubs around Sydney and already have a favourite place to get their “Korean fix” Most people would also have tried the traditional Korean fare of Bibimbap, Japchae, Soondubu Jiggae, Seolleongtang and Korean Fried Chicken, but Moon Park is not about the Korean food you’ll find at Strathfield or Eastwood – oh no it is about much more than that. For me Moon Park showcases the next level of Korean food. Many times I’ve heard when anyone tries any variant to a traditional cuisine it automatically gets labelled as fusion. However to me, what Moon Park is doing is not fusion – it is evolution.

soju, drinks, korea
$22 for Soju is a little pricy but a must when eating Korean food

rice, cracker, wafer
rice crackers – something to snack on

We start off with a bottle of Soju at $22, was a little pricey but it’s just not Korean without Soju. Some complementary rice crackers also come out; wafer thin and a nice way to wait out the time until the food comes.

bibimbap, bibim, gochujang, korean food
Bibim with the gochujang

barley, corn, crab, nori, egg, bibimbap, bibim
Pearl Barley, Corn, Nori, Cured Egg & Crab

Bibimbap is one of those comfort dishes for me even though I’m not Korean. I lived in Strathfield for 4 years and on a cold night nothing could beat a sizzling stone bowl full of rice, vegetables and meat with a cracked egg on top. So when I saw Bibim ($20) on the menu I had to order it. What I didn’t expect was for this dish really set the tone for the whole night.  The pearl barley, corn, nori, cured egg and crab were such a great combination once tossed together with the gochujang (fermented chilli paste). I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed but the dish just smacked of “next level” goodness. On a side note I recently went to my local Korean and paid $17 for Bibimbap and for only $3 more; I would take this every time.

tarakjuk, oxtail, congee, kimchi
Tarakjuk with braised oxtail & kkaennip kimchi

Tarakjuk ($18) is said to be one of the oldest dishes in Korean cuisine and is essentially a rice porridge made with milk, very similar to congee. There are many different types of tarajuk (as there are congee) and this one offered braised oxtail and tendon which had a very deep & rich flavour with a sweet note on the end. The porridge itself was silky smooth and luxuriously creamy because of the use of milk when comparing it to congee and the kkaennip kimchi was there to cut through & offset the richness of the dish. Again this was very well thought through but a slight increase in serving size would have been appreciated as it was so good and disappeared very quickly.

fried chicken, shrimp, brine
Shrimp Brined Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken has been a raging trend over the last few years as it offers something a little different than the “regular” kind of fried chicken and to see our hunt for the best KFC click here. Moon Park opened well after the hunt but I’ve got to say it’s has to be a contender for the top! Why? The Shrimp Brined Fried Chicken ($18) was moist and juicy on the inside as well as being crisp and crunchy on the outside. I’ve brined my fair share of pork shoulders before, however never had anything shrimp brined; but the flavour and moisture that it fused to the meat was nothing short of amazing. Moon Park’s chicken is finished with soy and syrup but if it was spicy then I would have been in Korean Fried Chicken heaven – please make a spicy version Moon Park!

green beans, beans, korean food
Upon recommendation we got the green beans ($6) to go with the fried chicken – highly recommended

bulgogi, burger, fries
Bulgogi Burger at $15 is a bargain

What can I say?  I’m a burger freak. If I hear of an amazing burger somewhere from a reliable source, rest assured I’ll be there soon. I’m not the biggest fan of – let’s call them “non traditional / fusion / flavoured” burgers but I’ll say right now that it was utter joy eating the Bulgogi on a roll ($15). Where some people go wrong when making a bulgogi burger is that they take the regular thin slices of beef and slap them between 2 bits of bread and call it a burger… that is not a burger. Moon Park have done it properly and made a bulgogi patty which isn’t too much more effort but the payoff is delicious circle of meat, topped with kimchi and pickled onion inside a soft bun. I’ve had the bulgogi burger at Lotteria before but to compare the two would be ridiculous so I won’t,  instead I’ll just say order the burger and enjoy it for what it is – a damn good burger.

patbingsu, doughnut, strawberry
Not your ordinary Patbingsu

Now there’s a difference in liking something and “like liking” something. I’ll go ahead and say that I “like like” what Moon Park have done with the desserts. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when we ordered the Patbingsu ($13) as the only Patbingsu I know is the big orgy of fruits, beans, condensed milk, shaved iced topped with cornflakes served in a Pyrex measuring jug. The combination of fig leaf shaved milk and strawberries was so nice and refreshing but what brought the whole thing together was the omija, which is a traditional Korean tea made from dried fruit of the plant. It’s supposed to exhibit the 5 flavours (sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter) which I’m not too sure I got but I will say I lapped up every drop like a dog.

moon pie, choco pie, pear, marshmallow
Moon Pie or Choco Pie – either way you need to eat this!

The Moon Pie ($14) aka Choco pie is a top 5 in my best desserts of the year. I don’t know if it was the little rounds of poached pear or the ginger jelly or perhaps it was the delicate maesil (Korean green plum) marshmallows that made me joyously entranced, but a little bit of each scooped up with some graham crackers and I was in another place far away from this world.

soju, couples, dating, dinner
everyone gets happy after soju – see?

I’m not saying that after eating here you’ll never want to eat “normal” Korean food ever again, in fact I went to my local Korean 2 nights ago, but Moon Park just pushes you into seeing what else can be done with Korean food when you put on some fancy pants. Again this is not fusion… this is evolution.

Moon Park
4 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW
Phone: (02) 9690 0111

Moon Park on Urbanspoon


David Tang

 
David has been working professionally in the Food & Beverage industry for the past 4 years. As head of marketing & development in a food & travel company, David's work, home and dining lives are constantly overlapping. Obsessed with coffee & burgers, David can be found downing a piccolo (or gin & tonic) while he’s out and about eating his way through Sydney. Otherwise David will be in a kitchen recreating & experimenting with both celebrated and contemporary dishes. His culinary influences include his mum (trained in classical French cooking in a pre-war Vietnam), David Chang & Anthony Bourdain.