My travels have taught me that most major cities have a Chinatown somewhere. Some are big and some are really small, regardless you are instantly immersed in the Asian food and culture right away. During my recent visit to Sydney, Australia I happened to stumble upon their Chinatown (which really pales in comparison to London’s) while we were out exploring and I felt instantly transported. What I didn’t expect to find to in Sydney was Koreatown because usually Chinatown covers everything Asian, yet here I was standing on the corner of Pitt St. heading into Koreatown. If you are anything like me, just the thought of Korean bulgogi puts my tastebuds in a frenzy and I’m instantly salivating. As with any “town” there are multiple food options to choose from and if you aren’t a local you depend heavily on reviews similar to this one for an unbiased opinion. We ultimately chose Naruone because it was rated extremely high for its Korean style fried chicken and it was open late.
I found it hard to believe someone outside of the southern United States has truly mastered the art of fried chicken so I wanted to see what the hype was about and give my own review. I embarked on this late night foodie adventure with my cousins and their friend and we walked through downtown Sydney until we reached Naruone.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were promptly greeted and shown to our seats. One member of our party arrived before us, however they wouldn’t allow her to order any beverages until we arrived. While I thought this was a little weird, it didn’t set the tone for the entire night. Our first order of business was a round of Kimchi (which honestly can be hit or miss depending on the vegetable and who prepared it). It was my cousin’s first time trying it and I won’t say she’s a fanatic, but she did go back for seconds. The zucchini and seaweed were my favorites and as you can see we are all smiles and chopsticks. They did an excellent job with the kimchi and our waitress so so sweet she packed me some to take home. Cha ching!!
Kimchi: (Kim- chee) a dish of fermented vegetables which is usually an acquired taste.
Here is the part when things got out of control lol. My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach and when my dishes arrived it seemed as if I had ordered half the menu. I certainly won’t apologize for ordering too much food. I mean what foodie wouldn’t want to try multiple menu items. First up is the Bipimbap and if you have never eaten it, it is certainly worth a try. It is such a popular dish many restaurants have assumed the name. Since it was my first time trying it, I got the beef bulgolgi bipimbap bowl which was a mixture of carrot, zucchini, and beef over rice then topped with bean and alfalfa sprouts and a medium well egg. This was my way of trying something new while still getting my bulgogi fix. This bowl was warm and inviting and I found myself falling more in love with it bite after bite. The vegetables were tender and the meat was delicious. The only thing I’d change would be the sprouts, I’m not a big raw bean sprout person but hey, you might be. It is important to note that if you are looking for comfort food in a bowl..look no further, this bipimbap has it covered.
Bipimbap pronounced [Bip-em-bap] : Bipim refers to mixing various ingredients bap refers to over rice
Next up to the palette is the seafood ramen bowl. I must admit that after watching multiple food shows that show ramen I wanted my shot at some good ramen. The shows always make it look so good and I’m sitting at home with a bowl of Top Ramen. I decided to order the seafood ramen which was full of prawns and clams. It was dressed up with shitake mushrooms, carrots and topped with a slaw. The only drawback to this dish is that the ramen noodles weren’t fresh it was made with the same type of noodles that you make at home. Now don’t get me wrong, I can hook up some ramen noodles at home. When you dine out at a Korean restaurant however, it really isn’t what you expect to be served. By the end of the dish, the noodles were saturated and soggy. I’m not sure I’d give this dish a go again and if I did perhaps I’d as for the noodles separately so I could add the them to the broth as I go.
FUN FACT: Ramen is actually a Japanese dish.
Last but definitely not least is the Korean fried chicken that every raved about. I’ll be completely transparent here, the chicken wasn’t spectacular. It was good, but it pales in comparison to southern fried chicken. Nonetheless, I ate it and I will say that it had a nice crunch to it. The flavor was a little lackluster. It was topped with a coleslaw and a what tasted like a mayonnaise based creamy sauce. To be fair and square, I probably would have enjoyed it more with some Lousiana, Crystals, or Texas Pete hotsauce. Regardless of my personal preference, the two together complemented each other than the fact that the sauce did make the chicken a little soggy. Perhaps if the slaw had been added to the side the chicken would have stayed crispier. For the price you receive a decent portion of chicken, although there were a few pieces that could have been cooked longer. NaruOne’s chicken is decent nothing more, nothing less. If I had to give it a rating it would be an 6/10.
If you find yourself out in Koreatown Sydney late at night just know that NaruOne is an option. It stays open to 3am which is helpful for those late night cravings. The chicken is mediocre so I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it, but the kimchi is a must. Sticking to the traditional Korean menu may be the best option and before I leave you all, I want to give an honorable mention to the Korean pancake.
If Korean isn’t your forte, check out my food review on Nick’s Seafood to see my experience with Kangaroo. Until next time, Forks Up!