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Monday, May 13, 2013

Red Pepper Korean fried chicken at Strathfield Sports Club

korean fried chicken with spring onion at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro

If you've never had the need to go to a sports club, I've found the perfect one for you. Head past the tennis courts and soccer fields at Strathfield Sports Club and hook a right into the Red Pepper bistro for, yep, you guessed it, Korean fried chicken.

red pepper dining room, strathfield sports club bistro
Strathfield Sports Club bistro

A club bistro might be the last place you'd expect to find good food, but we're in Strathfield, transport hub and home to a Little Korea of restaurants, snack shops and grocery stores. We sign in at the desk (temporary membership is free) and head into the bistro. It's the usual set-up of TV screens, a TAB section off to the side and a bar where you can order and pay for drinks and food.

view of soccer field from red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
View of soccer pitch from the bistro

The crowd is a mix of locals, with a significant number of Korean families, couples and groups of friends.

We can see the soccer field from our seats, but on a cold evening like tonight, I know where I'd rather be!

korean fried chicken menu at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Two pages and 11 kinds of fried chicken

There's a Western menu on the wall (fish and chips, burgers, schnitzels and sandwiches) but everyone in the room seems to be eating from the Korean menu. We're handed a Korean menu that runs through entrees, stir fries, grilled fish, soups and stews before concluding with two pages of fried chicken options - that's 11 kinds of fried chicken!

banchan at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro

Banchan complimentary side dishes are included depending on how much you order. We dig into a mix of kimchee, sauteed vegetables, pickles and mung bean sprouts.

pure blonde beer jug at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Jug of Pure Blonde beer $17

And because fried chicken goes best with beer, we get a jug to share.

kimchee pancake with mozzarella cheese at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Kimchee pancake with mozzarella cheese $13.50

We kick things off with kimchee pancake, not super crispy but it's hot and warming, if a little stodgy.

soft tofu with seafood and vegetable stew at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Sun tofu $13
Spicy soft tofu with seafood and vegetable stew

We also tuck into the spicy soft tofu and seafood stew. There's quite a peppery kick to the soup, and we fish around to find clams and prawns among the soft pillows of fresh tofu.

bulgogi gangjung korean fried chicken at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Bulgogi gangjung $15 half

The fried chicken menu is split into two sections: original and gangjung. Gangjung is described as a Korean rice and peanut cookie that is sweet and crispy, a flavour profile that is then apparently applied to their fried chicken.

The bulgogi gangjung is crusted with a thin but dense batter. The sticky sauce doesn't remind us of bulgogi much - it's more like a sweet soy - but there's a pleasant textural crunch from the crushed peanuts and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

hot and spicy gangjung korean fried chicken at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Hot and spicy gangjung $17 half

Hot and spicy gangjung will quickly clear your sinuses. There's a chilli burn that creeps up on you and then lingers persistently. It's peppery and hot and spicy all at once. Batons of ddeok rice cake taste like they've been put through the deep fryer too, with a thin caramelised surface giving way to a chewy glutinous rice flour middle.

spring onion korean fried chicken at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Spring onion fried chicken $17 half

The original fried chicken version yields more of the rubbly batter we're looking for. The spring onion fried chicken is piled with a mountain of spring onion curls and then drizzled with a wasabi soy dressing. It's my favourite of the night, although I'm particularly partial to this combination as it's also my preferred order at Naruone.

There's a little bit of zing from the wasabi, and the dressing is just enough to moisten the batter without making it soggy.

korean fried chicken at red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro
Original fried chicken $16 half
Premium crispy powder covered original Incredible Chicken Gangjung

Waitstaff had tipped us off that the original fried chicken was the crunchiest, so we place a third order in the name of research. The original fried chicken is unadorned, and I end up dipping my chicken into the remnants of the wasabi soy from the spring onion fried chicken.

The batter here isn't as crunchy as Naruone but what is impressive is the juiciness of the chicken inside. We don't find any dryness in our chicken, although the jumble of pieces does occasionally include a chicken neck which seems a little cheeky.

If juicy fried chicken is your thing, then this is the place for you.

red pepper, strathfield sports club bistro

Food bloggers on 702 ABC Weekends with Simon Marnie
simon marnie with lee tran lam and thang ngo on 702 ABC
Food bloggers chatting live on air with Simon Marnie

And yes, that was me on 702 ABC on Sunday morning chatting with Simon Marnie on the Weekends show. It was great chatting on a panel with fellow food bloggers Lee Tran Lam and Thang Ngo.

We talked about our Mums, given it was Mothers Day. Thang said he remembers his Mum's cheesy pizza the most, I talked about my Mum's steamed fish with ginger and shallots and Lee Tran piqued everyone's curiosity with talk of her Mum's grilled sugar sandwiches on white bread. I'm totally trying that one, pronto!

lunch for $3.80 sticky rice and cocktail bun

Simon had also set us the task of uncovered the best feed for lunch for under $7.50. Thang suggested Vietnamese banh mi thit pork rolls, Lee Tran recommended the cheese and tomato pizza slices from Bourke Street Bakery, and I spruiked the wonders of Asian grocery stores. I found a pork and salted egg sticky rice for $2.80 and nabbed a cocktail bun for $1 from an Asian bakery. That's $3.80 for lunch with dessert - although you will need a microwave to heat the sticky rice.

behind the radio announcer's desk
Getting a behind-the-scenes look at the radio announcer's desk

A fun morning talking about my favourite topic, and I even managed to sneak in a few mentions of fried chicken! Mission complete!

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Red Pepper on Urbanspoon

Red Pepper at Strathfield Sports Club
4a Lyons Street, Strathfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9701 0911

Bistro opening hours:
7 days 11am til late

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Korean fried chicken - Arisun, Haymarket
Korean fried chicken - Beschico, Epping
Korean fried chicken - Hello! Kyochon, Chatswood
Korean fried chicken - Naruone, Sydney
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/13/2013 02:08:00 am


  • At 5/13/2013 2:32 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    eat ALL the fried chicken! and tee hee i want to hear more of you on radio!

  • At 5/13/2013 3:31 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    OH YUM 11 kinds of fried chicken! Hehe, the wonders of cheap Asian bakeries :D

  • At 5/13/2013 5:41 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    11 kinds of Fried Chicken?? Whoa! That was totally a Frieday! lol Can't wait to check it out.

  • At 5/13/2013 8:53 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Red pepper sure is my go to place for fried chicken! May not be as grand as naruone but it's the best fix I can get close to home. And yes, unbelievable how juicy the chicken is (sometimes, not with the smaller pieces)

  • At 5/13/2013 8:58 am, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    my Korean friend has been telling me about this place for a while now! been on my go to list for the past 2-3yrs ^^" wow 11 types, that's crazy!

    hehe never tried grilled sugar sandwiches either but sounds awesome!

  • At 5/13/2013 9:06 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    11 types of fried chicken..ah YUM...after reading this I am slightly happier on this dreary Monday morning..

  • At 5/13/2013 9:35 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Hmm, craving fried chicken for breakfast now...

  • At 5/13/2013 10:01 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    great find. BTW for $4 you can get a Boat Noodle Soup at Chonsiam in Haymarket and that's just a small. not much more for the large.

  • At 5/13/2013 1:11 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I really. The banchan and sun tofu. I really really.

  • At 5/13/2013 2:17 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    OMG! 11 different types of fried chicken! i'd have to round up some crew and try all of it!

  • At 5/13/2013 6:27 pm, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    So annoyed I couldn't make it, but nice to see what I can order when I eventually get there! Ordering another chicken dish in the name of research? Sounds convincing.

  • At 5/13/2013 7:30 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Hi Helen. What a blast from the past. Mum use to make sugared toasties as an after school treat. Start with buttered white sliced bread, generously sprinkle with sugar. Grill until golden and melty.

  • At 5/13/2013 10:04 pm, Anonymous Chris @ MAB vs Food said…

    Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) = Finger licking good!

  • At 5/13/2013 11:17 pm, Blogger thesuzchef said…

    My local hood, my husband plays football there & I've never known of all this fried chicken?!!?! This must be rectified!!

  • At 5/14/2013 9:36 am, Blogger Papagana said…

    I've been going here for awhile now - my and my fiance went to Korea last year and this is the closet thing we've been able to find back home. The spring onion has to be the best flavour :D

  • At 5/14/2013 10:08 am, Blogger Roo Food said…

    That spring onion fried chicken looks delicious! I think I'd be in heaven trying to decide between 11 flavours!

  • At 5/15/2013 11:44 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Having recently experienced the KFC phenomenon, I was hooked! That chicken is just too good Helen! Sorry I missed out on this!

  • At 5/15/2013 12:10 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    im running out of places to eat at in strathfield because turnover is so high and good places are disappearing. must check out this place next time!

  • At 5/16/2013 7:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My eyes are hooked on the 11 KINDS OF FRIED CHICKEN!!! and LOVE Banchan :D

  • At 5/18/2013 12:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    A Restaurant is the best defined as a place where food, drink and desserts prepares well for the customers as per their taste and served to them in return for money. The Restaurant Decor varies in looks and themes. The designing of the restaurant is equally important as much as the food at any moment.

  • At 5/19/2013 9:31 am, Blogger a meandering mango said…

    I agree - this looks like a really good reason to go to a Sport's Club (and for me the only reason!). Thanks Helen!

  • At 5/19/2013 9:23 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    gurllllll that's a massive freaking load of fried chicken... but i dont blame you when the menu offers 11 kinds of fried chicken lol

  • At 5/26/2013 3:06 pm, Anonymous lau@corridorkitchen said…

    Your committment to the fried chicken cause is examplary.

  • At 5/27/2013 2:19 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    You are truly the fried chicken queen. I will have to go and check it out.


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