Grilled sausage $12
Now I don't mind a hot dog every now and then. There's a bit of guilty childlike pleasure in that fluoro red skin, bouncy fatty "meat and squiggles of tomato sauce and mustard, all encased in a soft squishy bun.
Frankfurters belong in buns don't they? It's like their natural housing. Even the Chinese bakeries wrap their frankfurts in sweet baked bread or steamed mantou bun.
Perhaps that's why I find the picture of a sausage and vegetable saute on the menu at Arisun so incomprehensible. Discs of frankfurter cascade over a mountain of stir-fried carrot, cabbage, celery and onion. And it costs $27.
Then there's the sizzling sausage on a hot plate. Also $27. Or sizzling sausage on a hot plate with cheese. $28.
The G-man really wants the cheese version but after coordinating our table of dishes, we agree on the grilled sausage. Three frankfurters for $12.
Would you believe they were surprisingly tasty? The frankfurters are scored on an angle, then deep-fried so the exterior crisps, a squiggle of mayonnaise adding extra decadence.
We'd ended up at Arisun on a search for Korean fried chicken. We were devastated when we'd found out that Dashi had closed, and then I'd walked past and noticed the pictures of battered chicken. Dinner venue instantly decided.
Arisun is on the northern strip of Dixon Street, on the far end of the block that houses the new Mandarin Club. There are a heap of students here most nights, and the menu, we soon discover, is a Korean take on Chinese food.
But first, we're impressed by our hand towels which are the fancy grow-your-own type. A little dish arrives with what looks like five large peppermints on it. The waiter adds a tablespoon of water from a pitcher and then whoosh, like Jack and the Beanstalk's magic beans, five little towers climb upwards with enthusiasm. Whilst I'd seen these demonstrated at hospitality convention shows before, it's the first time I've actually had the pleasure of using them in a restaurant. Lots of novelty value.
Kimchee, chilli soy and pickled daikon radish
Chop suey $27
At first believing we were in a Korean restaurant, we'd instantly started searching the menu for jap chae, the potato starch noodle dressed with carrot and black funghi. There are quite a lot of Chinese-style dishes on the menu which adds to our confusion. Unable to find jap chae, we resort to asking the waiter who simply turn the pages of the menu, points to the words "chop suey" and nods in affirmation. "Are you sure this is jap chae?" we ask, and he nods again.
What arrives is sort of like jap chae but not really. There seems to be no end of cabbage which perhaps qualifies it as chop suey, but don't really give justice to the accompanying $27 price tag, given there is no meat nor seafood within the dish.
Korean style seafood pancake $18
Pajeon Korean style seafood pancake looks more familiar. The golden pancake is reasonablly filled with prawns and garlic chives although it's not quite as crispy as I usually prefer.
Fried chicken with hot sauce $30
The finale of our meal is the fried chicken with hot sauce which arrives in a little wicker basket. Nobbly pieces of floured and fried chicken are sweet and sticky with a coating of tangy sauce that isn't as hot as we'd expected. The chicken is tender but it seems to lack a little spice and heat.
As for the frankfurters... the next table's order of sizzing sausage on a hot plate with cheese looked and smelled disturbingly good.
1 Dixon Street, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
(near Liverpool Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 1588
Open 7 days 10.30am til late
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3/13/2009 01:40:00 a.m.