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The Korean Wave

The Korean Wave

The latest craze of food in town ever since Koreans shook things up with their K culture from drama serials to K-Pop. Find out the places that does them proper here!
Xing Wei Chua
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From Man's Kitchen & Waker Chicken; a coffeeshop stall at Blk 125 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh within Johnson Foodcourt that serves up Korean fare.

It wasn't the original plan for lunch, but we headed here instead for the spot we intended to dine at didn't open and the fried chicken menu from Waker Chicken is only available for dinner. Not sure if I had tried a bad one but I don't seem to get why people like Sundubu with this one — it's almost like a kimchi soup base that's terribly bland and watered down filled with smooth and silken tofu, minced pork and an extremely messy looking, totally cooked egg; the elements just seemed like they are running their own show against one another; almost not related to one another. I am just guessing Sundubu just ain't my thing.

The Jjajang Myeon is slightly less impressive here; it feels one that has a rather instant noodle sort of feel to it especially with its noodles, being a little thin and just simply lacked the slurpiness of the ones from restaurants — that being said, being a Jjajang Myeon that is served in a fast food-esque setting, it would have been a little overboard to expect anything more than what is being presented. The noodles comes with the black bean sauce that is thick and savoury-sweet, while patrons can opt for the version that comes with a cutlet like this one; the boneless chicken is coated in the Garlic Soy sauce made the dish slightly more appetizing overall.

Quite glad that Jinjja Chicken's new branch at Clementi Mall held up well against the standards set by the Bugis branch when they first opened — went for the mixed option so I could opt for both Yangnyeom and Garlic Soy options. Being a fast food-esque concept, these were pretty satisfying; both sauces were thick and sticky, coating the chicken drumsticks well all over. The Yangnyeom comes with a mild tinge of spiciness while still carrying a sweet flavour, while the Garlic Soy was pretty savoury-sweet. Chicken pieces came with a crisp fried batter, while the meat came off relatively easy. One can opt for a set which comes with a soft drink (I would recommend going for their Shikhye aka Korean rice drink at another $0.60 extra on top of the $2 addon) and fried (sea salt/seaweed) for $2 more — the seaweed fries was decently seasoned with a bits of chili flakes and seaweed flakes for flavour. Honestly, it's not going to, and I don't think it would be fair to compare this against Korean fried chicken speciality restaurants such as Chir Chir and Oven & Fried Chicken, but this certainly takes the cake when compared to my experience at Four Fingers a while ago.

Seoul Good offers two different bases for their Bingsu; milk-base and yogurt-base. We opted for the former which came with light shaved milk ice that was pretty fluffy — while they did not provide for any condensed milk/evaporated milk on the side, we noticed that the milky flavours are a little stronger in the lower half of the bowl which was also slightly sweeter. The slices of banana are pretty fresh, while the Oreo crumbles add a cocoa-flavoured crunch ; the smooth chocolate ice-cream might be a little generic but does help to enhance the chocolatey flavours a little. It's overall not too bad for a Bingsu; just a little pricey at $17.90 given the location but I wouldn't mind if I am visiting on a hot day and needing something cold to share with a couple of friends.

Apart from burgers, Teepee Bar & Restaurant also serves up rice bowls for those who are looking for something substantial to fill the stomachs up with.

Coming with jiggly pieces of fatty pork belly, the pork belly slices are well-braised being savoury with a consistent flavour on top of Japanese pearl rice. The kimchi on the top gives the dish a crunch, and helps to cut the flavours of the pork belly especially with its tastefully pickled taste.

Not quite the best Korean Fried Chicken around but a good option if you are talking about having some in the north (there is only a few names for Korean BBQ up here, a new 4 Fingers up at Northpoint and an Auntie Kim's just around the corner beside Seoul Chicken). Run by a couple of Koreans and visited by a few groups of Koreans, you do get a bit of the actual Korean vibes on Friday evenings where people gather at restaurants simply for fried chicken, stews and drink Korean Rice Wine or Hite Beer.

While the original was decent though not exactly fantastic with a slightly thicker batter, the spicy felt pretty shy of spiciness given its rather manageable level of spiciness even though the chicken pieces were covered in a good amount of thick, sticky sauce. Of the three flavours served in this platter, the Sweet Soy takes the cake for the savoury-sweet combination that works — flavourful and the chicken was well-drenched in that sticky awesomeness. Some places might have done better, but it's still pretty satiating for there isn't many options when it comes to Korean Fried Chicken in this part of the island.

Situated just a few doors down from the original O.bba is this new outlet named O.bba Jjajang at 77 Tanjong Pagar Road where the signatures served here includes the Jajangmyeon, a Chinese-style seafood noodle soup and a Sweet & Sour Pork Dish.

Pretty much enjoyed the Jajangmyeon here which is usually priced at $10 for lunch, but there is an opening promo where the price is at $7.70 now with three small dishes at the side. It's also pretty much one of the better Jajangmyeon I have had — it's not overly sweet but there is definitely enough Jajang to coat the chewy noodles with; one can even bite in bits of meat within the sauce and there is quite a generous amount of onions within that I absolutely love. One of the places I guess I would revisit again if the craving hits!

I am not kidding about the name; it really bears that quirky name there. From Omoomodon which is newly-opened at The Star Vista, the Japanese-Korean fusion rice bowls do seem to fit the office crowds around Biopolis well given they start from $8. This comes at $12 with sirloin steak, multigrain rice, kimchi omelette and teriyaki sauce. Overall the quality is pretty decent and portion is hearty for the price; the steak wasn't of the best grade but they did managed to grill it to medium rare with a pink center which was commendable while the meat was not gamey. The kimchi omelette was interesting; omelette egg with kimchi within so you get a little cabbage to crunch on while it carries a spicy zing that was rather manageable. The multigrain rice also had bits tasting similar to black glutinous rice for a bit of sweetness. Quite a decent option if you are looking for a place within The Star Vista below $15 for a meal. (PS: They also do offer Build Your Own Bowls where you can mix and match the different components, and there is Bingsu for dessert as well!)

So I saw fellow Burppler Zi Heng's post last night; thought it would be a good idea to check out this spot during my lecture breaks today. Coming in Medium and Large bowls, the Medium comes with around 10 chunks of boneless chicken chunks. The chicken chunks were surprisingly crisp and flavourful; really succulent and drenched in a rather liquid but interesting sauce. Sure, the consistency of the sauce itself wouldn't allow for that thick sauce coating on the chicken itself, but for the parts that absorbed the sauce, it brought up this interesting fusion flavour that's probably identical fusing raw onions with Thai Chili sauce less the spiciness. Considering it being just a hawker stall and serving this for $7.50, it's actually pretty worth trying with a group if you are hanging out in he area.

Ordered this to share amongst 5; the small portion works especially if you are having the Jyajyameon to share for the Jyajyameon portion seemed a tad huge. A little similar to Chir Chir's Nest Snow in terms of the combination of ingredients — cheese, fried chicken but less the fresh cream, olives etc. with a pool of sweet soy sauce (spicy soy also available) and skinless grapes. The first taste of it gives a rather confused flavour, but it slowly grows on for most of us where the soy sauce comes with a malty sweetness, along with the savoury, stretchy cheese melted atop the fried chicken chunks that can never be disappointing in any occasion. I would probably say that it's not meant for all tastebuds, but I think it's worth trying once for the feel of it. For those who prefer their wings to come with bones, they do offer boned chicken and also comes in both small or large portions.

On the quest for a good Jyajyameon and trying this one that's pretty near school. For $13+, the portion here seemed a lot bigger than Hansang's with a lot more noodles which makes it rather filling even by itself. Taste-wise would really prefer Hansang however — a tad too sweet and felt it lacked a little savouriness somehow.

Trying this new place at City Square Mall which focuses on Jjimdak; this is the individual portion Boneless Jjimdak from their set lunch specials. For $12.90, this individual portion comes with chicken, potatoes, carrots, dried chili, steamed white rice and glass noodles (which is an add-on for the actual portion that feeds 2 or 3) — a pretty heartwarming treat for the rainy day with that sweet and umami braised sauce, soft potatoes and carrots and huge chunks of chicken that we polished the entire bowl less the dried chili feeling full but thoroughly satisfied.

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