In this clip from Dana Cowin’s whirlwind Australia adventure with CBS, chef Neil Perry—godfather of the greatest food in Sydney—offers a tour of the city’s evolving Chinatown and Koreatown. “Sydney has an Asian heart and soul,” says Perry. “That’s what makes Australian food so different from many other cuisines in the world.” Chinese immigrants heavily influenced the cuisine of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and a newer wave of Koreans have built a thriving community and food scene around bold dishes and good ingredients: “We love the chile, the soy, the sesame, the heat of the wok,” says Perry. “It’s all about flavor and quality.” Here, the chef’s top three picks for sampling Korean and Chinese food in Sydney.
NaruOne makes a terrific entry-level Korean restaurant, ideal for drop-ins, with cheap, flavorful food. Their fried chicken comes in two preparations: classic or shellacked with a sweet sauce. Perry also loves the stir-fried pork with gochujang chile paste, beautiful vegetables and rice. 375 Pitt St.; 02 9261 2680
Perry’s favorite Korean spot, Danjee, is more upscale, with a global wine list created by the owner’s son, Peter Jo, who did stints at Momofuku. Half of the restaurant features tableside barbecue, while the less smoky side offers dishes like a crunchy tartare combining frozen strips of beef, raw egg, pear, cucumber and pine nuts with an absolutely fantastic sesame dressing. 7 Albion Pl.; 02 8084 9041
Huge tanks at Sydney’s must-visit Cantonese restaurant are filled with the freshest-possible Australian seafood, like live abalone and prawns. The pièce de résistance is the king crab, which is presented to the table, and within a matter of moments, chopped and cooked in a couple of different ways: steamed in a ginger and shallot sauce, and fried just with salt and pepper. Meaty king crabs are a privilege to eat. “Chinese people buy them for $700 to $800 each and share them with their family because it’s such a lucky and special thing to do,” says Perry. The one in above clip is at least 34 to 40 years old. goldencentury.com.au