In Korea, fried chicken is available like kebabs or hamburgers are here. You can get it quickly, everywhere, and more often than not, you’ll get it with beer. This is the idea behind Sparrow Mill Express: the smaller, faster version of one of Sydney’s best fried-chicken restaurants.
It’s the offspring of Red Pepper bistro, the fried-chicken hub revered among Strathfield’s Korean community. The express food-court stall serves the same 12-hour-marinated, twice-fried chicken as its mother restaurant. But here it’s not restricted to massive three-person platters. “We sell the chicken in pieces,” says Danny Shin, Red Pepper and Sparrow Mill’s operations manager. You can still get enormous plates of snow chicken (the crispy one with the cheese in it); soy sauce chicken; or the classic crispy stuff. There are also mini one-person take-out boxes with drumsticks or wing-bong (the wing with extra arm meat).
It also serves a number of drinking-friendly Korean single dishes and classics, such as bibimbap, beef bulgogi and soft-tofu stew. “These are very, very traditional Korean dishes,” says Shin while pointing at a list of japchae and haejangguk. Japchae is a stir-fried sweet-potato noodle dish commonly eaten at special occasions. Haejangguk is a humble, home-style dish people eat when they’re feeling delicate. “This is especially for the people who’ve been drinking overnight,” says Shin. “It relieves the hangover.”
Shin says chicken is never eaten without beer, and beer never drunk without chicken. While Sparrow Mill Express doesn’t sell any drinks directly, there’s an old-school range of bottles and cans at the food-court bar.
Sparrow's Mill Express
Shop F1, 401 Sussex Street, Sydney
(02) 9211 5540
Mon to Sun 10.30am–9pm