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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sydney Madang Restaurant, Sydney

Korean barbecue is always an event of happy chaos.

First there's the lighting of the barbecue grill at the centre of the table. It usually doesn't take too long for the platters of raw marinated meats to arrive, then it's just an excruciating wait for the first round of meat to cook.

Somehow I always end up taking charge of the barbecue. Whether it's due to my maternal instincts or a happy relinquishment of responsibilities by everyone else, I'm not sure, although I suspect it's a combination of both.

In truth, the longest wait we endure tonight is for our table. Madang seems to be the hottest Korean bbq joint in town, as we join a patient queue of young students hovering by the garbage bins in the nondescript alleyway off Pitt Street. (no bookings are accepted on Friday and Saturday nights).

We finally get a table on the balcony outside, a good thing considering the amount of smoke that comes with any Korean barbecue.

The pan-chan complimentary side dishes are clattered down onto our table not long after our waitress hurries away with our order punched into her keypad.

Kimchee pan-chan

Rolled omelette pan-chan

Mung bean sprout salad pan-chan

Grated daikon pan-chan

Steamed broccoli pan-chan

Dweji Kimchijurn $18.00
Pork and kimchi pancake

The pork and kimchi pancake is thinner than I prefer, and I'm disappointed there aren't big chunks of kimchi buried within its golden surface. I love really crispy Korean pancakes but this one is a little doughy for my liking.

BBQ Modum $50.00
Combination of beef, pork, chicken and seafood

The BBQ Modum, a combination platter of beef, pork, chicken and seafood, arrives to plenty of oohs and ahhs. The bulgogi beef and chicken, marinated in a sweet soy mixture, is always a hit. The prawns are also large, fresh and tasty.

Tong Kimchi Tong $18.00
Pork belly marinated in wine with whole cabbage kimchi

Wine-marinated pork belly takes a while to caramelise, but after about twenty minutes the wait is worth it. Much of the fat has rendered out, leaving a charred and crunchy surface that contrasts with the sweet melting flesh within.

The accompanying whole cabbage kimchi has a wondrous fire to it, and would've been a good foil to the fattiness of the pork, except we polish it all off before the pork has even half-way cooked.

Woo Sul $13.00
Sliced ox tongue

Sliced ox tongue is a tasty delicacy. The thin shavings cook in a flash and impart earthy rich flavours on the tongue.

Our marinated whole octopus arrives in a aluminium foil package that we're instructed to deposit directly onto the barbecue. This effectively reduces our cooking surface by half and takes another patience-trying wait of about 15 minutes to cook.

Tong Ojinguh $15.00
Marinated whole octopus

It's time well spent. The octopus is the meal highlight. It's meltingly tender and drenched in a superbly thick spicy sauce. Scissors are provided to cut the octopus into manageable pieces and when the octopus is all gone we fight over the sauce to drench over our bowls of rice.

Everyone thinks I'm mad when I go to fry the lettuce leaves too, but all the leftover marinade on top of it seems far too good to waste. Besides, my mother does a very delicious stir-fry lettuce dish whenever there's a glut in the fridge.

It works. The lettuce leaves wilt to a gentle crunch, bathed in a sweet spicy sauce that converts even the skeptical into big happy smiles.

Sydney Madang Restaurant
371A Pitt St, Sydney
(entrance located down a small alleyway just north of Liverpool Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 7010

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Korean--Dae Jang Kum
Korean--Nagoya Japanese BBQ
Korean--Se Joung
Korean--Seoul Ria
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/02/2007 11:33:00 pm


  • At 12/02/2007 11:59 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    I always judge a Korean place by its quality and variety of panchan ... madang seems like a good place to visit ! Yeah that pancake did look a little lacking ..the octopus looked superb though! Did you think the combination was a bit pricey ? Also, does the place do hotpots as well as bbq?

  • At 12/03/2007 4:12 am, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    Not really into octopus.. but sure liked egg pancakes though.. :)

  • At 12/05/2007 12:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've said it before and i'll say it again, can never have enough, tender, succulent, luscious meat!!

    Looks mouthwatering.

    A curse on anyone who overcooks their meat.

  • At 12/05/2007 10:58 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Rachel - The octopus was pure bliss. The combo plate had a fair bit of seafood on it, and yes they do do hotpots. Apparently their spicy hotpot is very very good!

    Hi MamaBok - The rolled omelette was delicious. So soft and moist.

    Hi M - lol. Mmm... meat. I hear you. And each to their own, but medium rare for me every time please :)

  • At 12/08/2007 10:05 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    wow that looks fantastic! i've never seen whole octopus at a korean bbq here in the states. the pork belly also looks delicious. now i've got a craving...

  • At 12/10/2007 1:38 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi foodhoe - The octopus (more a squid really) was unbelievably good. Hope you've managed to satiate your craving :)

  • At 12/12/2007 12:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This place sounds really nice and exciting too.

    I'll be visiting Sydney in February with family.

    Can anybody tell me if it's OK for vegetarians? (and she ain't cooking a carrot on grill where a dead cow just got done - before you ask).

    Thanks! Frog.

  • At 12/13/2007 12:43 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Tartan Frog - In a word, no. There's only one grill per table so she'll be restricted to a few side salads and kimchee. Korean bbq is pretty much all about meat. Perhaps you will have better luck at a sushi bar or ramen house?

  • At 1/29/2008 3:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's the best korean BQQ in CBD. I think...

    Yum Yum........

  • At 2/18/2008 1:53 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi YumYum - Judging by the consistent queues, I think there a lot of people who agree with you too!


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