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Daebak!

Daebak!

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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