Shining a light on Korean-Aussie cuisine

25th February 2021 | Eativity editors

The husband and wife team behind Sydney’s contemporary Korean restaurant SOUL Dining has opened a second venue – SOUL Deli, the city’s first Korean brunch cafe and deli. And the aim is to turn the spotlight on Korean-Australian food and products.

SOUL Deli combines a deli with a range of fresh and packaged Korean goods, a cafe with sit-down dining and takeaway and a range of products made by local Korean artisans.

“We’re thrilled to open SOUL Deli,” says Illa Kim, who together with husband Daero Lee owns both venues. “It’s designed to deliver a great cultural experience for our customers.”

Kim and Lee want to introduce as yet unknown aspects of Korean culture to Australian diners.

Lee, who is also Executive Chef of SOUL Dining, has created a more casual menu for SOUL Deli. It offers a variety of uniquely Korean dishes, “SOUL style”. The menu includes a KFC (Korean fried chicken) roll, omelette with Korean “caviar”, house-made tofu salad and soybean stew with white kimchi. There are also some Aussie classics, such as a bacon and egg roll that can be “Koreanised” by adding kimchi, bulgogi sauce or spicy pork belly.

Hungry? Try SOUL Deli’s pork schnitzel.

Diners can also enjoy special rice bowls, including spicy pork belly bowl, umamishroom bowl and SOUL galbi bowl. There are also plans for more vegan options.

“Our rice bowls are actually how SOUL Deli came about,” Kim says. “During lockdown, we created a takeaway option – BOWL by SOUL – and it proved very popular. The great feedback made us realise there’s a need for Korean food and culture, and we knew we wanted to expand our business to highlight what this cuisine and culture can offer.”

Koreans have been fermenting food for centuries – long before science discovered its health benefits.

SOUL Deli also features a range of curated food products from Korea, and there’s even a kimchi bar with various kinds of kimchi in different ageing stages. There are pickles made in-house, house-made tofu, seaweed crackle and a variety of packaged goods including the deli’s special sauce trio – vegan bulgogi sauce, “Goes with Anything” fermented chilli sauce and “Fire” chilli sauce. In addition, there are meal and barbecue kits such as Lee’s special beef short rib, which is prepared sous-vide and comes with galbi jus. All meal kits include instructions on how to cook them.

Coffee beans come from Primary Coffee Roasters which is owned by Dan Kim, a Korean-Australian micro-roaster who only uses ethically sourced, high-quality beans.

SOUL Deli is located at 185 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, on the corner of Little Oxford Street. Initially, the deli will be open from 7am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. As the business grows, it will also open for dinner. To find out more, head to