Jang-Gun, 4 April 2010

It’s cold and windy and you feel the chill from the surrounding air as well as seemingly from within your bones. No matter how much you bundle yourself in layers of clothes, you still can’t seem to keep warm enough. In times like this, what you need is something hot, something comforting, and something that warms your soul from within.

In our continuing bid to eat closer to home, and actually try places instead of constantly walking past them, Monsieur Poisson and I decide to try a local Korean restaurant which has been around for a while but unfortunately has been long-neglected by us. It is a cold evening and our minds immediately turn to spicy foods and Korean hotpot.

The restaurant, on the first level of Victoria Plaza overlooking Victoria Avenue, is quite busy when we wander in and it seems that everyone has the same notion of warming food to beat the cold. The tables are a little sticky and most are fitted with barbeque hotplates, although not all. The décor is simple with the walls decorated by framed pictures of dishes, some of which don’t even appear in the dine-in menu itself!

As usual with dining in a Korean restaurant, we are treated to an array of complimentary side dishes – spring onion fritters, konbu seaweed, green salad, bean sprouts, agar-agar jelly with chilli soy and, of course, kimchi. (True story: Nella’s holiday snaps from South Korea last year included that of a meal with two ordered main dishes, and upwards of ten complimentary sides dishes – all for only two people!) We also order a serve of deep-fried dumplings to start with.

I don’t particularly like deep-fried dumplings but I was having a dumpling craving so I was looking for a fix. Not overly oily and with a nice plump filling, this felt like a larger serving than its looks would convey. Water is complimentary and comes pre-chilled in reusable plastic bottles.

And then what we came for – hotpot! Monsieur Poisson has chosen the ‘Ham and vegies hotpot’ which has all manner of tinned ham, corned beef and sausage pieces in amongst zucchini, cabbage, enoki, bamboo shoots, tofu and rice cake slices in a mildly spicy soup. We mix some of this soup in with the rice which comes on the side while we wait for the square of instant noodles poised in the middle of the soup to cook, along with the egg which has been cracked over the top.

We return for dinner again soon after, on another cold evening, and are encouragingly met with a slightly differing selection of side dishes. It’s nice to know that there is variety in what the kitchen presents, even in a smaller place as this. I am intrigued by a plate of soy-flavoured legume-looking things which are chewy in texture, have a mild nutty flavour and are somewhat more-ish. An enquiry with the waiter yields no answers though.

We order the ‘Barbeque beef tongue’ as we didn’t get a chance to try any of their stir-fried dishes last time. It is presented sizzling on a hotplate interspersed with onion, spring onion, chilli and sesame seeds. The dish has a beautiful garlicky meaty flavour but unfortunately gets greasier as it cools down.

We order the same hotpot as previous but this time the square of instant noodles has a couple of slices of plastic cheese placed on top, which melts into a gooey layer as the noodles cook. More fascinating however, is the single burner portable stove placed on our table for the purposes of the hotpot – ‘solar power’? Would love to know what it says underneath in Korean!

Shop 27, Victoria Plaza, 269 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9412 1816

Opening Hours:  Mon-Sat  11:30am-10pm
Sun  5-10pm (dinner only)

Jang Gun (Korean) Restaurant on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. woah im absolutely fascinated with the block of instant noodles! is that normal? did it taste better with cheese?

  2. canned meat and instant noodles and cheese - this is my sort of comfort food :) Love banchan, i always feel like it's more value ^^
    i first heard of the noodle/cheese combination when i was part of a korean forum site, apparently it's pretty good? I never have that cheese at home to try though

  3. hehe, solar power, I so want to know what the korean translation is!

    The beans, could they have been a type of soy bean that had been "treated" in some way. When I looked at your picture I thought of natto (without the gloop and fermentation of course).

  4. haha ham, corned beef and sausage hot pot with instant noodles? How fascinating! I've never seen that on a menu! :)

  5. Instant noodles make a perfect platform for raw egg! Love it :)

  6. I wouldn't mind trying this place out next time I'm looking for a restaurant in Chatswood! Looks like there's a lot going on in that hotpot!

  7. The Korean characters underneath merely read "Solar Power"...kind of like a phonetic translation =) Probably just a brand name

  8. All the food looks great.
    Can't say No to free side dishes!

  9. Haha those korean water bottles are the same at all korean places! dumplings look crackly awesome btw

  10. instant noodle + cheese in a hotpot? I really wanna try!

  11. Whoa- looks interesting- dumplings look good!

  12. This kind of trashy food is absolutely fascinating. i want me some of that hotpot!

  13. Looks delish! I dunno why, but I actually like the sound of instant noodles and tinned ham cooked in the hotpot. Thanks for the review x

  14. Those instant noodles look... interesting.

  15. Mmmmm now i'm getting a dumpling craving! :P

  16. I'm intrigued by the cheese on top of the instant noodles! Weird - but interesting, I guess?!

    And I love getting all the side dishes when eating Korean. Yum yum yum.

  17. I must try more places closer to home, especially when its possible to find a gem like this!

  18. Perhaps Solar Power is the brand?!? o_O

  19. Hey Suze, heheh, I've been to other places before where they throw in some instant noodles too - so good for soaking up the soupy goodness! The cheese...well, it didn't do much apart from adding a slight creamy, gooey-ness to the noodles it coated.

    Hey Chris, canned meat and instant noodles always reminds me of those Chinese-fusion cafes! But I never have any plastic cheese at home to try either. And I know the side dishes are included, but it seems like it's free =p

    Hey Sara, they weren't the right size to be soy beans. More the size of a lentil or split pea. Still don't know what they are!

    Hey Lorraine, but doesn't the whole combination remind you of those Hong Kong-style cafe set menus?!

    Hey Steph, thanks for dropping by =) Absolutely loved the raw egg being simmered on top. Even better if we'd managed to rescue it while still partly runny...

    Hey Maria, it's a small place but has really decent sized servings.

    Hey fish4wish, thanks for visiting and offering a translation =) Even funnier if it's the brand name - why is the gas burner brand 'Solar Power'?!

    Hey SK, the place is a little daggy but the food is tasty and affordable.

    Hey Grace, I always feel comforted by the familiar sight of those water bottles at each Korean eatery that I visit =p

    Hey Anh, but I didn't get cheese both times is the strange part!

    Hey Gastronomy Gal, the dumplings were good but I still prefer them pan-fried to deep-fried.

    Hey Amy, trashy comfort food is the best! As long as it tastes good that's all that matters =)

    Hey mashi, thanks for dropping in =) The combination definitely is definitely familiar those who've visited Asian-fusion cafes with instant noodles, luncheon meat and fried egg on their menus.

    Hey Anita, the Korean ones tend to be thicker than your average instant noodles.

    Hey Ladybird, heheh, any time can be dumpling time!

    Hey Agnes, the cheese was a surprise to us but was nice. And the side dishes are all about variety for us, aren't they?!

    Hey Maria, it's terrible when we have friends over and we don't know our own local area well enough to suggest places to eat out =p

    Hey K, apparently 'Solar Power' is the brand!


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