Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet, Carlingford

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A Korean BBQ res­taur­ant has occu­pied the second floor of the space on the corner of Pennant Hills and Carlingford Roads for over a dec­ade. Indeed, I remem­ber when it took over from the Video Ezy back in the early 2000s when DVDs were cut­ting edge and every­one still had VCRs. Not that I lived nearby or even vis­ited the Video Ezy, but I did go past it every morn­ing on the way to school. After I gradu­ated, I pretty much nev­er vis­ited Carlingford again.

J, how­ever, landed a teach­ing pos­i­tion at a primary school in Carlingford, and has become much bet­ter acquain­ted with the area than D and I ever did (our school for­bade stu­dents from leav­ing the grounds dur­ing free peri­ods). And so almost 10 years later, we met up with J in Carlingord at Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ with no time lim­it for $35 per person.

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There’s an impress­ive range of raw pro­tein avail­able, includ­ing cuts of mar­in­aded beef, pork, chick­en, lamb, as well as beef tongue and chick­en gib­lets. For the sea­food options, there’s prawns, mus­sels, baby octopus and squid. And if you don’t feel like bar­bque­ing everything, there’s pre­cooked dishes. They keep selec­tion well stocked with nary an empty tray to be seen all night.

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We start off with some marinaded/​spircy pork, chick­en, and beef.

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J, instilled with the thought­ful­ness of a teach­er, cuts the pieces of meat into bite-size pieces. The spicy pork was the stand out. All the meats are put through the same mar­in­ade, and it went best with the pork. There’s no cut­ting corners by serving cuts with excess fat or grizzle here.

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Further along, there’s an equally impress­ive offer­ing of veget­ables includ­ing lettuce, onion, cap­sic­um, kim chi, pump­kin, sweet potato, egg­plant and mushrooms.

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We stick to the sweet potato, egg­plant and mush­rooms. Yum!

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For dessert, there’s sev­er­al options on offer includ­ing, Home Brand vanilla ice cream, cubed water­mel­on, short­bread bis­cuits and brownies. The brownies were deli­ciously dense and rich.

More inter­est­ing dessert choices were the nur­ungji, a tra­di­tion­al Korean food made of scorched rice. Essentially, it’s the toasty, golden, crunchy lay­er at the base of a pot of rice.

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And the oth­er is the sikhye, a sweet Korean rice bever­age made by pour­ing malt water onto cooked rice. It’s taste is com­par­able to Malaysian sweet bar­ley water, but infin­itely less appet­iz­ing when served in a giant punch bowl into paper cups.

Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet offers good value and vari­ety for money. As with any Korean BBQ res­taur­ant, the seat­ing is rather cramped, but the staff are reas­on­ably attent­ive. My only com­plaint is that res­taur­ant gets very smoky dur­ing the busiest din­ner hours of 7 – 9pm even though the staff switch out charred plates reg­u­larly. The air con­di­tion­ing is lack­ing and the open win­dows on one side of the res­taur­ant didn’t help — with the wind blow­ing in from the win­dow, it kept all the smoke inside.

Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet is loc­ated at Shop 101, 821 Pennant Hills Rd, Carlingford NSW 2118.