Address: 19-21 Everton Road, Strathfield
Opening hours: 11am – 1am every day
In terms of Korean food, Strathfield is pretty much a mecca for Korean food enthusiasts. Whenever I’m craving Korean food, Strathfield is the place I think of going first. It was a cold evening and I thought warming up with spicy chicken would be a good idea, so F and I decided to head to Stra Pocha, on the quieter side of Strathfield.
For a few years now, Stra Pocha has been one of my go-to restaurants for a most beloved dish of mine. Bul dak, literally known as ‘fire chicken’ is a great love of mine, especially the version topped with cheese. Stra Pocha is most popular for their bul dak. We came here for dinner on a weeknight, and the restaurant was buzzing with the chatter of diners. Stra Pocha has both an outdoor and indoor section with portable heaters on cold nights. That night was a cold one, and F and I stood at the entrance of the restaurant, hoping to be noticed quickly by harried waiters so we didn’t have to brave the cold much longer.
For non-Korean diners, there can be a bit of a language barrier, as F and I experienced that night. One of the waiters we asked for a table was about to seat two other people who came after us first, until we cleared things up with the manager. At around 7:30pm on a Wednesday night, the restaurant was almost full, and we waited about 15-20 minutes to be seated.
The portions at Stra Pocha are fairly large, so F and I decided to order two dishes and share. The manager of Stra Pocha served us and provided welcoming service, much more so than any of the staff.
We ordered number 2, as pictured in the photos above- Spicy Chicken with Melted Cheese on Hot Plate ($35) and number 7- Stir Fried Cellophane Noodles in Sesame Oil with Assorted Vegies and Beef ($20). The English description of number 7 is an elaborate description for ‘jap chae’, another one of my favourite Korean foods.
After placing our orders, we were promptly brought an array of complimentary ‘banchan’ before our main dishes arrived. I love snacking on the small entrees before the mains are brought, especially if I’m really hungry. The banchan differ at every Korean restaurant you go to, but there’s always sure to be one small plate of kimchi.
At Stra Pocha, our banchan consisted of creamed corn, peas and carrots, deep fried and marinated sweet potato (my personal favourite) steamed greens, kimchi, and beansprouts, along with two small salads. The creamed corn, peas and carrots were a favourite, as was the deep fried sweet potato.
After around 20 minutes, the main attraction was served. The Spicy Chicken with Melted Cheese on Hotplate was served steaming hot, flavoured with red chilli pepper and a hint of soy sauce. The melted cheese added a nice contrast in flavour and texture, and lessened a little of the spiciness. The boneless chicken thigh fillets were cooked just the right amount, until they were tender and succulent.
Jap chae are my favourite Korean noodles. Stra Pocha’s Jap Chae ($25) was served on a large plate with beef and vegetables. The thin cellophane noodles were garnished with sesame oil, which added a nutty flavour to the noodles. The beef that came with this dish was a little chewy though, and the ratio of meat to the vegetables and noodles wasn’t great. The noodles were still delicious though, and the large servings of both the chicken and jap chae left us feeling completely satisfied, with no room to spare and quite a lot of food leftover.
The service can be a little lacklustre at times, but I would definitely brave this just for their excellent chicken. Reservations can be made, or walk-ins are also welcome, but come early to avoid having to wait for a table.