Tag Archives: Korean
Words by Yasmine Ng
Photography by GNineThree
Q: How do you know you have entered a Korean food establishment?
A: First thing you spot is an LCD screen showing Korean music videos on loop; so entertaining yet so distracting.
Chir Chir opened in February this year, to further fuel the already burgeoning Chimaek (치맥) craze. The signature Chir Cream Beer consists of draught beer and freshly whipped cream. I was slightly disappointed initially when I found out that they were using Carlsberg beer. But last I heard, they are still experimenting with different beers and sugar levels in the whipped cream to serve up the perfect pint!
So, if you have not already guessed, the inspiration for the Chir Cream Beer came from the widely popular Korean drama, Secret Garden. Recall the scene where actress Ha Ji Won takes a sip of her foamy coffee and the handsome lead, Hyun Bin, leans across to kiss away the foam moustache. [cue ladies swooning] Gentlemen, order a half pint for your ladies and you may use it as an excuse to re-create that romantic scene.
Dinner officially started with a Honey Grape Salad $18.90 featuring sweet, seedless grapes, an assortment of nuts and generous dollops of ricotta and whipped cream. Served on the side, baked triangle tortilla shards drizzled with honey and minced garlic. This was interesting but not outstanding though I really liked the crispy tortilla.
Next was a more tropical Mango Salad $11.90 with mixed greens, blueberries and yoghurt as a dressing. I liked that they offered salads, possibly to balance out the savoury-skewed menu.
Moving onto the Chicken flavours…
For a limited time only, from 4 to 15 November 2013, Grand Hyatt Singapore plays host to guest Chef Min-Ku Kang from Park Hyatt Busan, who brings with him the art of traditional Hansik cuisine to be showcased for this year’s Asian Masters.
The menu of Korean specialties which include appetizers, mains, desserts and set meals reflects Chef Kang’s philosophy of food- well balanced rich flavors that are both tasty and nutritious. Diners will be treated to a diverse and delicate range of Korean dishes with both family and friends as they discover the unique characteristics of Hansik cuisine during this Asian Masters Korean Special.
Kick start the gastronomic journey with some appetizers. The Dong Rae Haemul Pajeon $18– a fried flat spring onion pancake brims with fresh prawns and squid, not oily and ideal for sharing while the Nakji Bokkeum $18 with its crunchy springy chopped octopus pieces was tossed with the ubiquitous korean chilli paste sauce that was good but lacked spiciness.
Alternatively, the Gungjung-Topokki $16 makes for a lovely tasting platter with sample portions of stir-fried rice cake, beef and vegetables. All main courses come with an assorted korean namul plate, somewhat like the usual Banchan of kimchi and pickled cucumbers which serves to whet your appetite and keep you munching as you wait for the other dishes to arrive.
Named after their signature 8 Colours Set, E!GHT Korean BBQ at The Central is the newest establishment to hit the Korean culinary scene in Singapore. But before you dismiss it as another run-of-the-mill BBQ joint with bad ventilation, cramped spaces and greasy sputtering of grills, E!GHT is quick to differentiate itself with a roomy dining area, nicely spaced out sleek sturdy tables, comfy cushioned stools with an ingenious removable lid for you to store your bags and a customized wall fashioned out of bricks imported all the way from now-demolished century-old buildings in Korea. Authenticity takes on a whole new meaning right there.
Owners Jamie and Kristin Lim, the same people who brought the first handmade rock candy store- Sticky, to our shores, took it upon themselves to ensure that the experience diners have at E!GHT was sophisticated and refined instead of messy and smelly. From the matt black crockery and pans to the stoves that accommodate both grilling and stewing simultaneously, and even the angle at which the pan sits on the stove, no detail is left spared to create a memorable BBQ experience.
The menu at E!GHT is fairly concise with the owners choosing to place a fair bit of emphasis on exquisite cuts of meat and premium quality instead.
As aforementioned, their 8 Colours Set $98 is a speciality here and the custom-made wooden tray displaying the 8 cuts of 100% Berkshire Pork from USA, differentiated by their marination, is seen on almost every table. This portion which feeds 3-4 diners comfortably also comes with complimentary homemade Banchan, Seafood Bean Paste Stew and Scorched Rice Soup served at the end to cleanse your palate.
Following the successful debut of their flagship branch at The Star Vista, BORNGA Korean BBQ Restaurant has now made its foray into family mega-mall Vivocity, bringing the authentic Korean experience to shoppers there by way of a new spacious 130-seater with 3 seating areas, including one with a view of Sentosa.
Helmed by Korean celebrity chef, Mr. Paik Jong Won, the BORNGA brand has opened 50 branches all over Asia and USA, with 33 of them in Korea itself. Its popularity in the domestic market proves paramount as evidence to its authenticity and affordable pricing which keep the customers coming back for more.
To commemorate the opening of its second outlet, BORNGA has also introduced a number of new dishes to the menu, while maintaining the signature ones which have been a favorite with returning customers.
We started the meal with the Korean BBQ experience part and here at BORNGA, the wait staff do all the BBQ-ing for you as you snack on the complimentary banchan. I always prefer leaving the cooking part to the experts because in my hands, the meat always end up too charred or undercooked because I get impatient waiting for it or leave it on for too long.
Mansinjang Samgyupsal $24 / 200g [new*]
And as BORNGA has proven to me once more, the experts always know how to do it right! Look at how uniformly smoked our tenderized pieces of pork belly turned out! The meat had only been previously lightly seasoned with parsley flakes, salt & pepper but placing it over the charcoal fire simply brought out a beautiful charred flavor which was heavenly with a dip of spicy bean paste sauce.
Korean food aficionados rejoice! Sarang, previously known as the heartbeat of Seoul has recently undergone an overhaul and since reopened as a revitalized, much improved upscale and decidedly chic Sarang, Korean Bistro. Modeled after the modern contemporary restaurants in the posh and upmarket district of Gangnam, Sarang is the first to introduce the avant-garde concept of Korean Tapas in our country, which is indeed a fresh and exciting addition to our vibrant local dining scene.
Apart from serving up tapas in their menu, Sarang will also be rolling out Korean cocktail pairings of Soju and Makgeolli, for a whole new dining experience that you will appreciate with Master Chef YY’s customized food creations.
The space along the balcony of the 7th floor, sports all the trappings of a well-tended garden, with planter boxes, lush greenery and largely Mahogany fine-grained furniture all included. And if any of the quirky light bulbs or unique steel framed chairs catch your eye, you probably will not find an identical piece in Singapore as every single item here has been specially imported from Korea, with the sole purpose of maintaining the uniqueness of Sarang.
Sarang means ‘to love’ in native Korean, and this affectionate term is translated in every aspect of this Korean bistro. From the careful conceptualization of the menu, which is an amalgamation of both Korean and Singaporean influences, down to the plating of every dish and even the potted plants that fringe the perimeter of the outdoor terrace, every little detail has been thoughtfully designed and purposefully orchestrated to augment your Sarang experience.
Classic Tapas – Pairings (Soju Bomb and Makgeolli Sprite)
Sarang Japchae $7 [must try!]
This classic Korean dish of sweet potato noodles is one that I always order at Korean eateries and I am most pleased to say that Sarang’s version is by far one of the best I have had. Bouncy, chewy and QQ with a slight sticky texture, these noodles were spot-on and every bite was peppered with a whiff of sesame oil that was most appetizing. Complimented by the crunch of shredded carrots, onions and black fungus, this dish was every bit as colourful in its presentation as it was in flavor.
Spicy Chewy Rice Cake $7
Putting his own unique spin on a popular street snack in Korea, Chef YY’s spicy rice cakes are different from what you may be used to, especially if the instant version of Tukbokk is what you usually have. With a stronger intensity of flavors that interplays and injects excitement to your palate, these cylindrical rice cakes are sure to whet an appetite. But for those who are not too accustomed to spicy foods, you have been warned.