Thanks to the K-wave and the deluge of K dramas, Korean eateries have been sprouting up all over Singapore like Korean roses. And of course, here are the joints that will make you go daebak!
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

Kimchi is nice and all, but what if we, oh I dunno, upgraded it? Say we put beaten eggs, a batter mix of rice & wheat flour, and kimchi together and panfried it all? That’s right, kimchi pancakes are a terrific thing, and they’re the only acceptable form of carbs to have at a Korean BBQ.⠀

@mannakoreasg Kimchi Jeon ($17.80++) is every bit as fantastic as any other Korean restaurant worth their kimchi. The thickness of the batter is perfectly balanced as all things should be, providing just enough sponginess to satisfy your jaw while being thin enough to avoid becoming a grease sponge. ⠀

The starchy bits are regularly interspersed with bits of kimchi, delivering zaps of crunchy sourness that cuts right through the greasy, meaty haze of your meal. The edges are crisped up real good too for some delightful textural variation, an important but often overlooked factor for any food item.⠀

When you go for a spot of Korean BBQ at Manna, you can have your pancake and eat it too.

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I’m kind of miffed that the Samgyeopsal ($26.80++) at @mannakoreasg was served to us still somewhat frozen. C’mon man, we’re already doing all the cooking, at least defrost the pork belly all the way through before serving it.⠀

However, the Jumulug, which is marinated beef sirloin ($40.80++), fared a whole lot better. Firstly, it’s properly thawed, so that’s nice, and secondly, the beef is remarkably well marbled, with stunning streaks of fat meandering through the sirloin. These sirloin slices are marinated in a soy sauce based marinade that’s simple yet sapid. The marinade adds salinity to the beef, accentuating the beefy, meaty flavours that everyone loves beef for. The sirloin, as you might’ve guessed, is sublimely tender after a stint on the grill and will melt in your mouth ever so slowly.⠀

I’d definitely recommend getting all the beef at Manna, and skipping the un-marinated pork belly. They may not treat the porcine right, but they do right by the bovine because they don’t want any beef.

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Beef is always a must at any Korean barbecue, and @mannakoreasg Wang Saeng Kalbi ($42.80++ for a whole slab) is no exception to that rule. It’s a whole slab of marinated beef short ribs that certainly wasn’t short on flavour.⠀

As you can see, this beef is decent quality bovine with a respectable amount of fat marbling running through the ribs. Fat is flavour, and when coupled with the ample soy based marinade, this felicitously fatty & tremendously tender beef was such a decadent delight to devour. As you’re the grillmaster, you control the doneness of the Kalbi, but I’d definitely recommend getting it to a medium doneness to get the most flavour out of the fat while keeping the beef juicy.⠀

Pop it onto a lettuce leaf with some rice, some kimchi and beansprouts from the banchan smorgasbord served to your table, and season the beef even more with a dab of gochujang, then roll it all up. I love rolling up that good good, and you will too.

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Hawker food is evolving, gentlemen, and we get to be here to witness it. Yes, we still get the beloved staples of chicken rice, char kway teow & satay, but we now have Korean classics like bibimbap reimagined in a food court.⠀

@kimchixpress.sg has a stall in the food court on level 4 of PLQ Mall. Their party trick is that they do bibimbap, but in the familiar format of the now ubiquitous grain/salad bowl. A base of either regular short grain white rice or brown rice can be topped with a choice of protein and up to three veggies for $8.90.

The stewed kimchi pork shabu shabu is my flavour of choice, and even though they’re rather miserly with the proteins, they are more than charitable with the vegetables. Top hits includes the mouthwatering sliced ‘shrooms, the scintillating kimchi, the gochujang powered chives, and the beansprouts. Combine all that with a bed of rice in a hellishly hot stone bowl, and oh yeah, it’s all coming together.⠀

Korean food as hawker food? The future is now, old man.

Loving @walkingonsunshine.cafe yangnyeom sauce fried chicken ($23.50 before GST) was red. Or was it rad? I don’t remember. But yes, their fried chicken with yangnyeom sauce was a beauty. Random fact of the day: yangnyeom is simply Korean for ‘seasoned’. Seasoned sauce chicken? Eh, if it works it works, y’know what I mean?

While @walkingonsunshine.cafe fried chicken was a red hot beauty, beauty is only skin deep. Unfortunately so. The sauce was mildly spicy, sticky, sweet and oh-so-sapid in all the right proportions, and the skin was beautifully blistered & charmingly crispy. It’s just that the meat beneath was overcooked and dry.⠀

The red flags started going up as I bit into the meat from the thigh cut and found myself with a mouthful of dry, over fried poultry. If the thigh is overcooked, then it’s pretty much game over for the rest of the bird. It was such a shame too, as virtually everything else from the sauce to the skin to the sides were positively perfect. The pickled carrots & cucumber, as well as the pickled radish on the side, were the best supporting cast anyone could hope for.

Fortunately the fix is easy: just fry the chicken about three to five minutes less. That’s it. That’s all that’s needed for perfect poultry. At $23.50 before GST for a whole fried bird, this gives you a princely return on your investment. Especially considering the neighbourhood, and all the other restaurants around. Once @walkingonsunshine.cafe has upped its chicken game, it’s gonna paint the town red.


@walkingonsunshine.cafe ran out of seafood pancakes the night I went, so I settled for their $10 (before gst) kimchi pancake. Well, settled is a really harsh way to describe it given just how delicious it was.⠀

Make no mistake, that pancake is thoroughly infused with the essence of gochujang. Plus, there is an abundance of cabbage strips within to double confirm the presence of kimchi in the pancake, and for a little added crunch. To top it all off, there’s corn hiding somewhere in that pancake, so expect a crunchy & mildly sweet burst every now and then.

Do note that it’s a lot fatter & starchier than the standard kimchi pancake from any other Korean eatery you might be used to. Don’t make the same rookie mistake I did, and order it thinking that it’s gonna be a nice, light side dish. Boy was I wrong!⠀

You know what’s odd? @walkingonsunshine.cafe kimchi pancake is a perfect fit in their $10 bar bites menu. Oh wow, what a coincidence! That ties in perfectly with their twenty dollar free flow (!!!) beer fresh from the tap promo, which runs from noon till nine thirty DAILY. That’s right, 1200 till 2130 EVERY DAY. Somebody hold me right now, cause imma flop on the floor like I’m a pancake. A hot, delicious kimchi pancake. Mmm-mm.

While their 8 Colors Set is a little dear at $98++, you can rest assured that the pork being served is serious top shelf quality, as the pork is from the highly prized Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs. Those piggies are basically Hungary’s version of the famous Spanish Iberico pigs, and they are every bit as delicious.

The eight marinades slathered on the pork bellies are (from lightest flavored to heaviest), original, wine, honey ginger, curry, herb, miso, red pepper paste and kalbi. While the first three marinades were effectively there only in spirit, it allowed the superb natural flavors of the pork belly to really steal the show. The pork is fatty but utterly unctuous, and so so tremendously tender.

All the flavors taste exactly as expected, but the miso & kalbi marinated ones daintily danced away with my heart thanks their stellar flavors. There’s always a waitstaff who’ll patrol your general area and cook your meats for you. They’re pretty on the ball too, so all you gotta do is kick back and turn those Monday blues into a Monday boom.

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Apparently Basasak Chicken is too new for the geotag database to handle despite being in business for a few months. It’s located in the same coffeeshop as the (in)famous Ponggol Nasi Lemak, next to the chicken hotpot stall.

Their mainstay item is their Korean fried chicken (KFC), which comes slathered in seven different sauces. Sauces aren’t the only thing you can choose from, as the chicken comes in 4 different cuts, from the ubiquitous wings to a whole chicken. As a solo warrior denied the option of drumsticks on the evening I was there, I settled for a ménage a trois of wings ($7).

Their fantastically fried wings were coated in a stellar batter that easily surpasses many of the mainstream KFC chains *cough cough Nene COUGH HACK fingers cough*. The generously sized wings were just the right amount of salty, and exorbitantly crispy even down to the last one. I ordered them dipped in Basasak’s Sweet Spicy sauce, which is the second spiciest sauce available. It was cloyingly sweet, but there was a good amount of spice behind the sauce and it made for a sticky good time.

Basasak doesn’t just do krispy KFC that’s devilishly delish, they’ve got army stew and tteokboki for 2 along with a small squad of sides. So round up the lads, and head on down to Basasak to krack away at their KFC.


If you get hit with a Korean stew craving but you a loner like me, stop stewing! Jjigae Jjigae is a godsend thanks to their individual beauty collagen stew pots.

This pot of pork jjigae ($12.90) was loaded with ludicrous amounts of shabu shabu pork, cheese cocktail sausages, cheese tofu, a whole garden's worth of mushrooms, baked beans, more tofu, another garden's worth of vegetables, tteokboki and glass noodles.

The kimchi gochujang stock is slightly spicy and sour much like tom yum, but it's considerably thicker, fuller bodied and more savory. Other than the stock, this stew ain't anything to write home about. Fret not though, you're most definitely squeezing out as much value as you can out of that $12.90 due to the gargantuan portion in each pot.

The only gripe I had with Jjigae Jjigae was just how shallow their pots were, which resulted in the broth boiling up far too quickly far too often, and me frantically smashing the button to reduce the heat on the induction stove before the whole restaurant got lit.


I'm a little apprehensive about chain restaurants, but Seoul Yummy manages to live up to its name, with decent army stew that's stuffed full of tender pork, beef and chicken (forgot to take a pic of that dagnabbit), but the king is definitely their spicy fried chicken.

The crispy, battered chicken was slathered in a supremely sumptuous sauce that brought just a smidgen of heat, but a whole farmload of flavor. Sweet, savory and sticky, the sauce alone was enough to convert me into a fan, but the batter and the chicken decided to up the wow factor even more. The chicken cocooned within the batter was utterly juicy and tender, the juices still locked into the pleasurably soft flesh. As for the batter itself, each bite elicited an earth shaking crunch from the crazily crispy batter, and the batter was commendably light on the oil. As a matter of fact, if the batter was a little thinner, it would give my all time favorite KFC, Kyochon Chicken, one helluva run for its money.

While many may snub this unassuming chain restaurant, it does absolutely yummy Korean Seoul food classics just right. Give that other prominent Korean Fried Chicken place the finger, and wing it down here for some wonderful wings done Seoul right.


Bornga's Yeo-San Tteokgalbi was definitely the surprisingly superb dish of the dinner. Made out of chopped beef meticulously mixed in with Korean rice cake and grilled to perfection, it's soft and tender to the bite. While it's a little overly salty on it's own, the mayonnaise-ish sauce served on the side magically removes the salty edge and plasters it over with its smooth, creamy texture that is guaranteed to tantalize the tastebuds. Best savored with a bowl of steaming hot white rice.


It's rare that I prefer pork over beef when it comes to barbecued meats, but this pork belly marinated in Bornga's special soy sauce was downright delicious, especially when compared to the lackluster beef. It's tender, bursting with flavor, and it has no off putting porky odor. The only blip was that we forgot to ask the server to cook the skin thoroughly as well, resulting in delicious, tender pork that had a chewy, tough rind that was out of place on the otherwise outstanding piece of porcine.


Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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