1 April 2023

Dining scene heats up as Wagga welcomes authentic Korean barbecue eatery

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Korean restaurant staff

Hanok Korean BBQ Wagga team (from left) Cooper, Hua, Ming, Jimmy, Daniel, Dora and Paul. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Hanok Korean BBQ has finally opened its doors to Wagga after two years of planning.

The new authentic Korean barbecue venue, at 85 Baylis Street, had its official opening on Thursday (30 March).

The traditional Korean barbecue method involves cooking marinated cuts of chicken, beef or pork over a charcoal grill. The grill is normally placed in the middle of the table with an exhaust fan above.

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This lets diners control the cooking to their desire and satisfaction. Patrons are in complete control of the ingredients and the cooking time.

Along with grilled meat, restaurants serve side dishes known as banchan, which include veggies, kimchi, sweet and sour radish salad, tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), soybean sprouts, scallions or cucumbers and more.

Traditionally, the grilled meat of choice is wrapped in leaves (lettuce, perilla, sesame or combination), with sauce (soybean paste or red-pepper paste) of umami flavour. The drinks of choice include soju, Korean beer or makgeolli.

Korean barbecue

Marinated cuts of meat are cooked over a charcoal grill. Photo: Hanok Korean BBQ.

Hanok Korean BBQ owner Daniel Chen is excited to bring authentic Korean charcoal cooking to the people of Wagga.

“I know many in Wagga have not tried Korean barbecue,” Daniel said.

“We are bringing the most traditional way to have Korean barbecue and what it tastes like.”

Daniel said people could expect three things from his restaurant.

“We offer very high-quality Wagyu beef with a marble score of seven to nine,” he said.

“We will offer standard side dishes with salads and special sauces … all for free and refillable.

“And finally, we will offer our customers the best service.”

Korean bbq meats and grill

The Korean style of barbecuing gives diners control of their cooking. Photo: Hanok Korean BBQ.

Daniel said people didn’t have to worry about the food being too spicy, and the restaurant could cater to all.

“We have spicy, but it’s not too spicy. If you want, you can always add more.”

The 29-year-old business owner said his first customers were happy with the food and the experience earlier this week.

Daniel moved to Australia from China as an international student and completed his Bachelor and Masters at Australian National University.

He then decided to start his own business and opened a Bubble Tea franchise.

In 2019, he decided to start his Korean barbecue restaurant in Canberra.

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Due to the COVID lockdown, Daniel said he had not been able to open the restaurant in Wagga in 2021 as planned.

“We’ve had some delays with policy, lockdown, and the restaurant fitout.”

But the restaurant is now open to the public. It operates seven days a week from 11 am to 2:30 pm and then from 5 pm until 9 pm. You can check out the menu here or call 0468 753 888.

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