AU ABROAD

Eating with the AU: Arisun Express & Azoto - World Square, CBD (Sydney)

Lovers of good Korean food in Sydney are already familiar with Arisun in Chinatown. It's the stop of choice for good, reasonably priced casual Korean dining for many in-the-know foodies around the city and so them opening up a second, smaller iteration in the very central World Square is a welcome move. More so because the opening hours have Arisun Express trading until 3am every day except Sunday; those late-night stops for buckets of bite-sized double-fried chicken just shot straight to the top of your Sydney-tradition list.

Arisun Express may look like just a takeaway outlet but if you notice the signage you'll be aware of their cosy upstairs dining room, your new intimate haunt for late-night frozen Korean beers and liquid nitrogen chilled ice cream.

That's right, there's liquid nitrogen ice cream available from the 2-in-1 venue because there's also Azoto, the first Australian outlet for a new Korean brand that opened its first store in Seoul last year. It can get a bit confusing considering both outlets as separate entities so you might as well take both in the same package, because journeying through inexpensive Korean food and then topping it off with one of their creative ice creams is a superb way to start or end any day.

Let's work backwards here and start with dessert; liquid nitro ice cream isn't anything new in Sydney, but Azoto excel in their focus on texture. The ice creams are theatrical in presentation, full of flavour and nice surprises on the inside, like the coconut with dark chocolate ($8) which large chunks of coconut throughout for a tropical flavour alongside the rich, thick dark chocolate that is injected using the syringe. Equally impressive, and very different, is the nippon green ($6) which is a bit more modest in size but packs as much punch with the strong, familiar taste of green tea. It is served with a massive matcha green tea mochi to add an extra dimension to your dessert. Others include peaches n cognac ($7) and caramel duet ($6).

Shift to the Arisun Express menu and you'll find some excellent starters like the pork dumplings which are pan fried and deliciously crisp, filled with chive, garlic, and cabbage, served with some strong garlic soy sauce for a nice start to your feast.

Move on to the stir fried seafood noodles for a reliable and consistent dish, with baby octopus, prawns, calamari, and tofu mixed amongst the chewy, starchy potato noodles. The key here is heavy drizzle of honey sauce which permeates the dish, giving it a strong, sweet taste.

The dark Korean style meatballs are a must, with beef, pork AND seafood represented on the plate. Honey mustard comes on top to give it good distinction, but if you're sharing chances are you won't get too much satisfaction out of this one. Saving it for yourself seems like the way to go.

As with Arisun in Chinatown, you'll be coming back here for the various types of fried chicken. The staff know that their Korean fried chicken is famous throughout the city, and one of the most consistent and reliable of the type that is on offer. Things are no different here, with all tastes of fried chicken catered to; the sweet and spicy version packs the heat and has a nice taste of cinnamon adding to the heavy coating of strong, sticky sauce.

The boneless crispy chicken is for those that just want it straight; morsels of fried chicken that resemble popcorn chicken, juicy and crispy from the fact that they are DOUBLE fried and instilled with a good taste of paprika, cinnamon, and honey mustard. $8 will get you a cup of this crispy chicken so you can scoff them down without trying to avoid any bone. Even better is that Event Cinemas is a stone's throw away; you know what to do.

Also available are Sun's fried chicken with soy sauce, spicy boneless chicken with melted cheese, and crispy boneless chicken with shallots and wasabi mayo. Cups are $8, half a serve is $17 and a full serve is $32. If fried chicken isn't your thing (which is hard to believe) then go for the cheese melts; particularly the spicy pork ribs with melted cheese ($37).

The venue is simple, a hub of delicious Korean food and liquid nitro ice cream that won't be slapping you across the face with high prices or an overwhelming amount of choices. Make sure you take the time to head to the upstairs dining room and relax with a Korean frozen beer; it's beer with frozen foam on top so that the beer stays nicely chilled up until 30 minutes - perfect for those who aren't looking to skull them back just so they don't get warm.

Arisun Express + Azoto

Address: World Square. 91-95 Liverpool St, Sydney (corner of Liverpool Lane)
Contact: 8540 2903
Website: http://www.arisunexpress.com.au and www.facebook.com/arisunexpress
Opening Hours: Open Mon to Sat: 11am to 3am; Open Sunday: 11am to 12am