Strathfield is widely known as Little Korea of Australia, with the highest rate of Korean speakers in the suburb.
Now it gains the reputation of the town of ‘Seoul food’ epitomising the delicacies of Korean food.
More recently, a variety of Korean style cafes opened by Korean business people have added a cosmopolitan vibe to the suburb.
The Daily Telegraph has paid attention to the vibe, saying “DINERS looking for a bit of “Seoul” need go no further than Strathfield where an explosion of Korean restaurants has given the suburb plenty of culinary heart.”
It has featured Korean eateries such as D.Chef, the Mandoo, the UNCLES BBQ, Mojee and so on.
The Boulevarde, a bustling street in the centre of the suburb, has been named “Little Korea” or “Korean Town” due to its large number of contemporary and traditional eateries.
Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats.
Traditional Korean meals have a number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice and a variety of meats.
Kimchi (traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings) is almost always served at every meal.
Sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, gochujang (fermented red chilli paste) and cabbage are regularly used ingredients.
For those wanting to savour Seoul food including kimchi, bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables) or barbecues, there are at least 20 family-run restaurants located in this Korean food scene hotspot.
Strathfield epitomising Korean towns
However, the suburb has been always challenged with some fundamental issues, such as competitiveness, harmony, solidarity and, integration into the mainstream society.
In this sense, the Korean community organization in Strathfield used to flag a slogan of ‘One Voice One Growth’, to maximise the cooperation not only within the community but also with the mainstream society.
The influx of Korean businesses began with the opening of the area's first Korean retailer 'Han Yang Grocery Shop' on The Boulevarde in 1985 by the late businessman Mr Il Hoon Cho, the former Chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce.
The First Korean shop in Strathfield
The opening of the first Korean grocery shop in the suburb which is still operatng ushered the Korean community into a new era eclipsing the high profile of Campsie as a Korea town in Sydney.
More interestingly, unlike Campsie or Eastwood where the Korean business sector formed in the wake of the considerable increase of Korean population, Strathfield attracted more Korean residents, by the virtue of Korean retailers in the area.
The late Mr Cho said in an interview with the weekly TOP News on the occasion of its 16th anniversary, there were only two Korean community churches in 1985 in Sydney and both of them were based either in Strathfield or Burwood.
Accordingly, over the weekend, Korean speaking people flocked to Strathfield which was one of the most convenient suburbs in terms of a public transport.
As he predicted, more and more Korean retailers had started opening shops in the area.
Influx of Korean students and working holiday makers in the area
The suburb has been reshaped since 1990s when more and more Korean students began settling in the area. Its sea change has been accelerated with the significantly increasing number of working holiday makers from Korea after the Sydney Olympics, making it “little Korea”.