Korean Favourites

Korean Favourites

Featuring Joo Bar, Meta Restaurant, Nunsongyee (Bugis), Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant (Amoy Street), Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory (Chinatown Point), Churro 101 (Bugis+), Doong Ji Korean Restaurant, Hyang To Gol Korean Restaurant (Amara Hotel), Joo Mak Korean Restaurant (Beauty World Centre), Dong Fang Hong Korean Chinese Restaurant 东方红
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

(Media Gifting)
Have you ever tried your hand at making “Maesil Cheong” or Korean Green Plum Syrup? Me neither but I am so excited to give it a go!

Thanks to the newly-launched

𝘄𝘄𝘄.𝘀𝗼𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗸.𝗰𝗼𝗺

an e-commerce website for Korean produce and ingredients by @brandfitsg, you can purchase this nifty D.I.Y. Kit that includes a box of Korean green plums, Korean sugar, a sturdy glass jar and other paraphernalia. There are clear instructions provided to guide you through the simple process. After which, it just needs to be left to be fermented for 3 months for the natural sugar (or condiment) substitute to be born.

You can enjoy your homemade “Maesil Cheong” with a splash of water and ice, as a tea (just add hot water), or add it to salads, marinades and wherever sweetness with a Korean touch is required in a dish.

I’ll be making mine over this weekend and enjoying the fruits of my labour (quite literally) come early September. Yay!

Happy to have tried the Bossam as it was a main dish I’d wishlisted from before. A Spanish pork belly is the star attraction here, and although I think its lean part could be a tad tenderer, the skin and fat layers were positively ambrosial. Served alongside those chunky meat slices were fresh lettuce, an unusually addictive spicy-ish house-made preserved radish with dried squid, pickled shiitake mushrooms and juicy pickled baby turnips. These were for us to mix and match to our liking which proved to be a fun and satisfying activity.

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Whatever else you choose to drink here, this Champagne Makgeolli is the one Korean alcohol on @anju_singapore’s menu I recommend you not miss ($75).
Naturally-fermented and carbonated, it’s milky and slightly sweet. Pairs well with all the food we ordered too.
Due to the carbonation, it takes time to open a bottle of this exclusive-to-Anju makgeolli but don’t worry, their wonderful team is on hand to assist.

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My one piece of advice when you dine at @anju_singapore and decide to order the Hogam Jeon ($25) is to top up $3 for mozzarella. The thick, hot and gooey creamy cheese truly elevates the already tasty crispy potato pancake with prawns and zucchini, to crazy goodness! Seriously to-die-for.

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Besides ordering all our favourites from our first visit–the Black Bean Mascarpone with Oven-baked Sourdough Chips ($16) and the Domi Carpaccio ($24) just to name a few–we made sure to try new items on our second visit to Anju.
The Yuk Hoe or Beef Tartare ($28) which I’d had my eye on previously, was one of them. Deliciously seasoned, the chopped beef which had a really satisfying mouthfeel and chew, needed to be mixed thoroughly with the charred bits of kale and quail’s egg yolk. The meat exuded a lovely fragrance and was even more enjoyable paired with the refreshing ribbons of sweet Korean pear. No surprise my god-daughter voted this one of her favourites of the night as she is a fan of good beef tartare.

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@anju_singapore is the NEW kid on the Tras Street block. A Modern Korean Bar and Restaurant, it is owned by a couple of Koreans and a Singaporean and is, in my opinion, unique and super likeable (I for one, am eager to return).
Upon entering, I was struck by the tasteful design of the space and staff uniform. I learnt a little later that one of the Korean investors, @c._chloe is a fashion designer, which explains the stylish and elegant aesthetics of Anju.
The drinks menu is excellent as they showcase an exciting range of Korean alcohol, including brands that are exclusive to them. @huatkaliao and I fell in love with the two we tried - a White Lotus Makgeolli ($27), and the unusual and fun-to-drink Champagne Makgeolli ($75). The latter which is naturally fermented, was exceedingly wonderful on the nose and palate. We are determined to return and work our way through their alcohol list because frankly, it sounds too enticing.
Helming the kitchen is Korean Head Chef Kim Gi Deok (@kitchen.deok) previously of now-defunct Kimme on Amoy Street and more recently, a Two-MICHELIN Starred restaurant in Seoul. Although his team is quite lean at the moment, his food impressed us very much. I’d happily reorder all that we had (it helps that prices are attractive too). Below is a rundown of all we ate:

1. Bori Prawns ($8) - Awesome start with Chef Kim GD’s take on a popular Korean dish. He put a spin of crispiness which instantly made it a to-die-for snack food to pair with drinks.
2. Black Bean Mascarpone with Oven-baked Sourdough Chips ($16) - Very enjoyable creation inspired by Chef GD’s mentor, the highly-respected Chef Woo Jung Wook of @superpan_wjw that had green chive oil and suritae beans bringing gentle fragrance, sweetness and colour to the creaminess. A must-order.
3. Domi Carpaccio ($24) - Garnished with yuja-seasoned seaweed and barley makjang, the dressed red snapper was shocking in deliciousness. Another must-order.
4. Yangnyeom Cauliflower ($20) - From the hot section of the small plates, the florets were coated in a crunchy batter and tumbled in a sweet-spicy sauce. Adding a welcome dimension were curls of fresh spring onions and multigrain crumbs.
5. Hogam Jeon ($25) - A clever Korean-European hybrid of seafood pancake and rosti saw juicy prawns and zucchini strips intertwined in a crispy potato base. I liked it most dunked in the accompanying dip of pickled onions in soya sauce. There’s also an option to add cheese for $3 more if you prefer a pizza-like Hogam Jeon.
6. Housemade “White” Kimchi - Made with cabbage, radish and red dates, its refreshing crunch complements the rest of the dishes you choose to order. I found it paired especially well with the seafood rosti pancake.
7. Young Gae ($36) - Cutlery and decorum were thrown to the wind because this lipsmacker was worth dirtying my newly-manicured fingers for. The complex Yuja sauce (it’s spicy, tangy and slightly sweet) used for the immensely juicy and tender 21-day-old oven-roasted chicken was freaking fantastic!! Honestly, I wanted to lick the plate clean.
8. Galbi Jjim ($38 per pax, minimum order of 2 pax) - @huatkaliao and I are suckers for this hearty Korean classic but even then, I didn’t foresee how much we’d enjoy @Anju_singapore’s version. Those chunks of braised boneless shortrib were meltingly soft and tasty. And the tomatoes, potatoes and mushrooms in the sweetish sauce were perfection too. We prefer savouring it with rice, so adding a bowl of Anju’s barley and rice blend ($2) was necessary. The grains turned out to be more fragrant than plain rice and had a satisfying chew.
Because of its gorgeous aesthetics and comfortable ambience, this modern Korean bar and restaurant is ideal for date nights but visiting as a group is even better because you can do proper justice to the food and drinks menus.

Thank you Team @anju_singapore for a super evening and congratulations again on your opening!

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T R E A T
Guys, is this Circuit Breaker bringing out food cravings of dishes you haven’t had in ages? It is definitely doing that to me! Like when @rachelxie, PR & Comms Manager at K Food Holdings, asked if I would like to order in some Korean food, the thought of stuffing my face on Korean Fried Chicken (#KFC) became unshakably appealing. So our Sunday lunch was a delivery from @chirchirsg, “Singapore’s favourite chimaek restaurant”.
It’s probably been about three years since I last sank my chompers into a piece of Korean Fried Chicken but judging from the spread we had, I think I may have made up for lost time 😂.
Getting the signature Honey Butter Fried Chicken was a no-brainer. Tossed together with potato wedges and firmly chewy tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes), the large pieces of juicy, very crunchy-skinned chicken came ready dressed in the finger-licking sauce.
All the other flavours of the KFC however, had the sauces separately packed, to be poured on the grease-free fried chicken just before eating. What I thought was very smart was the way they cut a wedge in the lid of the container holding the chicken. This allows it to remain incredibly crunchy as it does not get soggy from condensation.
I thought the Spicy Drumlets and Wings were nice enough but the Garlic Soy was the flavour I found myself most drawn to. Rather fortuitous it was then that I’d ordered both half a chicken and the chicken tenders (these are the easiest to eat because they‘re boneless) in that savoury variant.
The Spicy Tteokbokki lived up to its name but although it can trigger the need for big gulps of water, there‘s something irresistible about the fiery stew of chewy rice cakes with vegetables and beancurd skin. Do get it to share though as the portion is large.

Best way to order is to tap on the link in @chirchirsg’s Instagram bio.

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T R E A T
@kieranngsweepoh’s big heart led me to try the food I‘ve been eyeing, sooner than I thought I could - the Korean dishes that Chef-owner @sunkimchi and his team have been preparing since the start of this Circuit Breaker. A few items are pretty much fixed in the a la carte menu but the Korean Heritage Set is refreshed weekly if I’m not mistaken. I was fortunate enough to have received a mix of both.
The two items from the a la carte were the big and tasty Meta Family Meal #Gimbap, also known as Korean rice rolls with tuna, egg and vegetables ($15), and the Banana Chocolate Millefeuille ($20), a crispy flaky dessert that‘s calibrated on point for richness, flavour and sweetness.
Even though it is meant for one person, the Korean Heritage Meal ($38 this week) has a few components (do follow @metasingapore’s Instagram account to be kept updated on the next Set Menu so you can pre-order). This week’s included a Botanjang (very flavourful soy-marinated raw prawns that had a tinge of salacious spiciness), Egg Jangjorim (the popular marinated runny-yolked egg), Korean Chicken Stew (a hearty, comfort food-style main dish filled with soft carrots and potatoes) and a tray of Steamed Korean rice topped with tobiko and seaweed.

If you are keen to try their Takeaway offerings (and I recommend you do), please:

Call: 6513 0898
WhatsApp: 9750 8275

Pick-up hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 11.30am-9pm.

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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.

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