How Daniel Kwak, Head Chef of Sokyo Celebrates The Festive Season

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year filled with time spent with loved ones, an abundance of delicious food, flowing drinks, presents, and laughter. It’s also the Head Chef of Sokyo, Daniel Kwak’s, favourite time of the year. Here, Daniel talks about what Christmas means to him and shares his favourite dishes on Sokyo’s Christmas menu.

Daniel Kwak, Head Chef of Sokyo

Growing up in Korea, Christmas was always an exciting and big festive season, as it’s a time for families to gather together and celebrate. I have fond childhood memories of my mum cooking and preparing a big delicious feast, and we would invite other family members and close friends over to our house to enjoy together. We would usually have our Christmas meal at lunchtime and spend all afternoon laughing and playing games. One of my favourite meals to cook for special occasions is called galbi, which is braised beef short ribs with assorted root vegetables such as potato, carrot, and chestnut. It’s a Korean dish that’s enjoyed at festive times.  

There are two dishes on Sokyo’s menu that I think are perfect for Christmas. The first is Sokyo’s sashimi platter which features fresh kingfish, tuna, toro, crab, scampi and scallop. Luxurious and beautifully presented, it’s the perfect dish to share with a glass of champagne or refreshing beer. 

My second favourite dish is chicken karaage. It’s fried chicken, and who doesn’t love fried chicken? In Japan, chicken karaage is served as part of a traditional Christmas meal, similar to turkey in America! At Sokyo, we have done a twist on the original and created our own version of chicken karaage, and serve it with a umami spicy butter sauce and citrus mayo. It’s delicious.  

Opulence Platter
The Opulence Platter at Sokyo

For those looking to create their own perfect day this Christmas, my top tip would be to firstly plan ahead and be organised. Think about what you would love to cook and prepare, make lists, and do as much of the cooking beforehand as possible, so you can spend more time on the day with your family. My second tip is to make sure you’ve got a great Christmas playlist ready! Music is so important in creating a great atmosphere, so try to choose upbeat and festive songs you know everyone will appreciate. And lastly, it’s nice to prepare at least one traditional dish on the day, one that will evoke memories and bring happiness. 


Ingredients:  Braising liquid: 
  • 1kg Beef Short rib  
  • 100ml Soy sauce  
  • 150ml Mirin  
  • 80gm Brown sugar 
  • 1pc Carrot 
  • 30gm Minced garlic 
  • 0.5pc Onion 
  • 180ml Water 
  • 1 stick Spring onion  
  • 60ml Mirin  
  • 2pc Potato  
  • 1pc Pear (skin off) 
  • Method:

    Braising liquid

    1. Mix all the ingredients together with a blender and keep aside 

    Galbi (braised short rib) 

    1. Get a large pot and put in short the rib and cover with cold water and mirin (150ml) 
    2. Boil it for around 30 minutes. Once it’s cooked, strain the water and rinse with cold water. Take out all the excess fat
    3. Cut all the vegetables into 3 cm dice
    4. Get a large pot and place the cooked short rib, potato, onion and braising liquid in
    5. Use a high heat cook for 10 minutes  
    6. Now place the carrot in and cook for five more minutes. Then put the spring onion in and cook another four minutes 
    7. Serve with steamed rice and your other favourite other Christmas / festive season foods!
    The entry way in to Sokyo Sydney

    Sokyo is open this Christmas Day, and chef Daniel Kwak and the Sokyo team have prepared a beautiful festive menu for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, there’s a complimentary glass of sparkling on arrival to help you start your Christmas celebration.

    Reserve a table at Sokyo at The Star Sydney this Christmas.