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Korean Favourites

Korean Favourites

Featuring Masizzim ([email protected]), Mad For Garlic, 8 Korean BBQ (Clarke Quay Central), Churro 101 (Bugis+), Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant (Amoy Street), Joo Mak Korean Restaurant (Beauty World Centre), Doong Ji Korean Restaurant, Hyang To Gol Korean Restaurant (Amara Hotel), Dong Bang Hong Korean Chinese Restaurant 东方红, ManNa Korean Restaurant
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Although I don’t dine at Korean restaurants on a regular basis, I find the food I tried at “Joo Mak” to be exceptionally tasty and very good value-for-money. Besides serving what I consider the best Seafood Pancake in Singapore and a much-better-than-average kimchi as part of their banchan, they also do superb meats for barbecue. We tried the pork belly ($15) and the ribeye ($28), and thought highly of the quantity and quality of both.
The venue is not that big and can feel a tad cramp. This also means during the weekend, you can expect long queues. The good thing is “Joo Mak” takes reservations so I would recommend making one.

H O S T E D
My favourite beef dish of the night was this take on the classic Bulgogi.
The marinated Wagyu rump had been charcoal grilled, then blowtorched for the fat to melt so it was fabulously juicy. The sliced steak was then topped with piquant bell peppers that had been sautéed in vinegar for a lift of acidity, and fresh Mizuna drizzled with a little sesame oil. The flavour combination was sublime.

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Inspired by the Korean rice ball, this starter which is built upon a crispy nori chip, has a very generous serving of Hokkaido uni laid on top of seaweed-mixed rice, kimchi and a Korean sauce called “yangneum jang”. A good choice to start your meal with if you love your uni.

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My friend Annette and I were very impressed with this dish. Yes, that’s some beautiful intricate presentation for the eyes to feast on but trust me when I say, wait till you take a bite.
Before being charcoal-grilled to a lovely smokiness, the squid was marinated in Korean chilli paste, pear and apple which made it remarkably tender, sweet and flavourful. They were dressed in oyster sauce vinaigrette and arranged on a multigrain risotto with tobiko. The rather surprising yet brilliant touch was the use of Southeast fresh herbs of kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil. They lent the dish a most lovely fragrance, making it a must-try in my book.

Wow! One bite of the kimchi here and I was in heaven. It’s spicy, salty enough and sour (but not too much) - a perfectly balanced taste that suits my palate. The other items in the banchan were acceptable but nowhere as mind-blowing.

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Easily one of the best, if not the best Korean Seafood Pancake I have ever eaten. Finished with a light crisp, it has a layer of fluffy egg on top of the starchy one that holds all the pieces of fresh tasting prawns, squid and juicy chives.
The accompanying dip, complete with sweetish pickled onions, is the perfect condiment for the superbly executed pancake.
I can’t wait to return for another meal at this little Korean eatery.

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“Baek Jung” is an offspring of a parent restaurant company in South Korea, and is run by a group of friendly, enthusiastic young Koreans.
Four of us lunched there recently and after using two of our Burpple Beyond 1-for-1 deals there, only paid $55 in total (or $13.75 per person). Which is a real steal considering we ordered two stews (both are actually sized large for sharing), a seafood pancake and a plate of beef bulgogi. To be honest, we didn’t even manage to finish all the food.
Filled with quite a lot of thickly-sliced pork belly, the Kimchi Pork Stew ($25+) wasn’t that spicy and leaned towards the slightly sweet side. It’s good for those of you who find the very spicy versions elsewhere too overwhelming.
In comparison, the savoury Beef Brisket in Soybean Paste Stew ($25+) had less meat but was chockfull of potatoes, leeks and tofu.
I thought the BaekJung Seok-Seol Beef Bulgogi ($19+) with its fine slices of beef, had a really tasty marinade. In fact a few of us voted it the best dish of the lot.
The Seafood Pancake ($18+) was pretty decent too. There was a reasonable amount of chives and chopped up squid cooked into it. Texturally, it’s pleasantly chewy due to the amount of flour added in with the eggs.

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Don’t bother cracking your head trying to decide which of Two Hana’s Korean fried chicken you should order. This gets you the best of both worlds. So you can munch first on the sweet and sticky Honey Butter Drumlets (they even top these with almond-studded popcorn) then switch over to the spicy Yangnyeom Drumlets. Vice versa works just as well.

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The bowl this comes in makes the serving size appear small but because all the toppings are actually compacted together, you‘ll realise your belly is actually full after you’re done with it.
I was not expecting the beef to be that tender or well seasoned either but it was. Nice.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
Think of “Seoul in a Sandwich” as “Subway” but with Korean style fillings. Thoughtfully divided into light and hearty categories, the sandwiches come in either sweet (Matcha White Chocolate, Citron Cheese & Pear) or savoury combinations.
Judging from what we got to try at this brand new takeaway kiosk in Basement 1 of the revamped Century Square Mall, the freshly made sandwiches are really tasty and very good value-for-money.
The two I liked most were the Seoul Street Toast ($6.50, pictured top right) that had onion cabbage omelette, chicken ham and sliced cheese between slices of white bread, and the Army Stew-ich ($8.50), a witty but more importantly, well-crafted take on the extremely popular Korean stew. Substantial in size, it was a ciabatta stuffed with gochujang-dressed daikon slaw, Army Stew mix (complete with tteokbokki), melted cheddar and mozzarella.
The other standout I think many meat-lovers should make a beeline for is the Bulgogi Cheesesteak (pictured top left, $8.50) which has a generous amount of the grilled sweetish sliced beef, sautéed onions and capsicums as well as two kinds of melted cheeses packed into a baguette.
“Seoul In A Sandwich” is one of two new dining concepts launched by the 35-year-old Seoul Garden Group that owns Halal-certified Korean restaurants: “Seoul Garden Buffet” and “Seoul Garden Hot Pot”. The other is “Two Hana” which is a Korean-Western café located on the ground level of the same mall. Helmed by Head Chef Jordin (who previously held the same position at “Joo Bar”), you can enjoy a wide variety of dishes, desserts and drinks that reflect the fusion of cultures there.

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Cut thick for a luxurious mouthfeel, the slices of fresh kanpachi (amberjack) sashimi were rolled around juicy pomelo and plated with gochujang sauce amongst other things that I couldn’t keep track of because by then my focus was completely on the enjoyment of this beautifully sensuous dish. Oops.

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This dish was impeccably seasoned and had a texture calibrated to perfection. I can’t imagine anything more ideal to have it with than the light-as-air, snow-white sago chips that were served alongside.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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