Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Korean Ginseng & Chicken Restaurant

Address: Shop 2, 94-98 Beamish St Campsie NSW 2194
Tel: (02) 9787 2707

Above: Korean side dishes - L to R: chilli pickled radish, onion picked in vinegar (sweet flavour)

Samgyetang is the literal translation in Korean for "Ginseng & Chicken Broth".

Extracted from the restaurant information: Samgyetang is a traditional Korean dish which consists of a young whole chicken (called spatchcock) cooked in water with ginseng, dates and glutinous rice. It's the perfect dish to enjoy anytime of the year but it is especially enjoyed in the summer months when energy levels are running low and recharging with nutritious fuel is required. This broth also assists with rehydrating the body after sweating in summer.

Samgyetang has a very rich but subtle flavour. The slow cooked recipe brings out the flavours and goodness of all healthy ingredients. The ginseng is very good for the heart (as you know Korea is renown for its ginseng which is found rarely anywhere else in the world). Garlic cloves are used for the taste and medicinal purposes.

It has been renown for reducing cholesterol levels. The chestnuts and dates benefit digestion and help prevent anemia.

And of course the chicken is an important source of healthy protein.

This traditional dish is a favourite among Koreans. It is eaten when one feels tired, when one loses his or her appetite or when one wants to prepare for the hot summer months to come.

It is also a popular meal for mothers-to-be or new mums.

Upon speaking with the owner Ms Jun, it was discovered that her family had a rich history of specialising in this Korean dish over the past 40 years, with the first family business established in Seoul. This resturaunt is the first of its kind in Australia to specialise in this dish.

Careful consideration is placed in the selection of ingredients - a whole young chicken (under 800g) is used for each 'pot' of broth - it is said the young chickens contain more nutrients. These chickens arrive daily and are fresh, not frozen. The rationale for this is evident as when cooked, the meat breaks away and almost 'melts' from the bone in the soup resulting in a very tender texture. The chicken is stuffed with rice, whole ginseng pieces and dates whereby the flavour gets slowly infused in the broth. Other versions include Chinese herbs, abalone, or nuts & grains.

There is also another rendition of this traditional broth which uses a "black" or "Silkie" chicken. Black chicken have a chewier texture and contain more nutrients.

Jjimdak (included on RHS in photo above) - 'braised chicken with vegetable & clear potato noodles in a special sauce'. The homemade sauce contains 10+ ingredients, has a slight peppery spice - sweet yet mild but rich in flavour. A very morish, unique soy-based sauce. Highly recommended!

This is not a restaurant with a huge menu but it's huge selling point is that it specialises in what it does best. The modern & newly furnished establishment makes for an enjoyable dining experience, out of the hustle & bustle of the local shopping strip. Suitable for those with a busy lifestyle and want a low fat, highly nutritious meal cooked with meticulosity and love. There is always a generous serving of food and the staff are happy to pack the rest away for you - in one of the most elaborate take-away packaging I have seen!