Chaegane Korean Restaurant Eastwood - Sydney NSW

Spicy pan fried duck meat with a zing, can be medium hot - one of my fav choices.

Korean menus are communal.  It is always liberating to share the food and it brings a group of diners in more sync and harmony.  The starters preceding a typical Korean meal already emphasis this, with small serve sampling plates of usually marinated and pickled petite offerings, of which I especially love in bite size cuts and cubes of vegetables in a rather pick me up spicy garnishing.   There are also fresh herbs doused with dressing, but what gets me going is always a good and well prepared Kimchi, cabbage that has been soaked in flavours as only the Koreans know how to! On the other end of the plain or spicy spectrum are the stir fried bean sprouts.   

With wooden tables and metal chopsticks, Korean is so distinct from other East Asian cuisines.   There are several such restaurants on the side of Rowe Street like Chaegane, which is nicely sited beside the vehicle entry to the Aldi supermarket's underground car park.   Chaegane can be small but is has comfortable vibes - and it is only a walk away from Eastwood Rail Station.

The welcoming set of starters to appetite the palate.

I was rather surprised to have pan fried fish already prepared with a dry marinade, enhancing the bite when accompanied with what I reckon is the the red yeast rice ( Bap).    The fish has a crisp outer skin and firm tasty insides. This is a refreshing change from barbecued meats.

I absolutely loved having the pan fried spicy duck - tender mouthfuls with enough flavour but not overly spicy hot on my palate.  The meat melted in my mouth and is saved on a hot plate Korean cuisine uses.  Best eaten with rice but also good as a grilled serving.  To me , this duck dish beats the pork Bulgogi or Daeji Bulgogi.

My group that Sunday did not have Bibimbap or  cold mixed rice nor the cold potato noodles, Japchae, which I love having from a nearby restaurant, the Jonga Jip.  What I tend to not have in Korean menus are the pancakes, which I find rather filling.

Tofu with egg cooked in a pleasant soup, good for a rainy day.
(Sundubu Jjigae )

I normally do not have Korean soups, so I was delighted when my cousin Susan chose one.  The richness and flavour of any particular  soup determine their attractiveness  - we had one that was not overwhelming nor too thin.  Perhaps Korean soups reflect the cold winters they do have back in the Mother country, but they are also illustrative of clever interplay of spiciness, fullness and satisfaction in the stomach.  Korean custom does not require the lifting of soup bowls when consuming the contents, as relevant Korean spoons are provided.

  I noticed other diners having cold noodles, an interesting approach with cold ice when served and something I aim for on my next visit. (Mul Naengmyeon)

I am told that younger members present at a Korean meal gathering cannot pick up their chopsticks or spoons to commence eating before the eldest relative attending does so.  What common sense and good etiquette!  Those who are younger must also cover their mouths and face away from elders when drinking alcohol at the same table.

These days you can easily see younger members at a family meal not possibly having such decorum - and may not even want to eat, obsessed instead with Apps, videos, photos and messages on their hand held phones.

I am also taught there is a specific order in which one places utensils and food in front  of you as the diner.  Moving clockwise from the diner's left are specifically placed the rice bowl, spoon and chopsticks.  This is followed in the circle by cold foods, vegetables, rice and Kimchi.  Sauces are placed tight in front.  On the right of the diner are hot foods, soups and stews.

Spanish Mackerel rubbed with a light tasty marinade.  Whole fish are served here instead of fillets as in Banchan.

The bright red chili flakes smeared on Kimchi...fermented soybean sauces referred to as Jang in hot to be downed with side dishes and freshly grilled meats.  These are images I have of Korean cooking.  The atmosphere can be boisterous, or it can be a family gathering.   There is even a hangover stew dish in Korean cuisine but maybe not at the Chaegane.

Chaegane Korean is located at 80 Rowe Street, Eastwood, north west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Telephone: 612  9858 5538
Opening hours are from 10am to 10 pm every day.

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