Last Updated: August 13, 2019
It’s hard to miss the bright yellow signage when you’re searching for a dining spot in Yishun. Friends Tasty Korea is a restaurant that offers free-flow Korean BBQ and Korean Fusion mookata as well as other well-known Korean cuisines.
Only a five-minute bus ride away from Yishun MRT, Friends Tasty Korea stands out among a row of eateries due to its brightly-coloured storefront.
As you step into the cosy restaurant, you’re immediately greeted with a self-service standing salad bar that serves up to 12 different side dishes. The best part is that these side dishes are free-of-charge and free-flow!
My favourite was their kimchi. It’s incredibly difficult to find good and authentic kimchi in Singapore especially if you’ve been to Korea and tried the kimchi there. This was why I was so glad that the kimchi here tasted well-fermented and crunchy.
The Korean BBQ Buffet (S$15.90/lunch, S$19.90/dinner) includes a selection of meat such as Pork Belly (Thick Original), Pork Belly (Spicy), Pork Collar (Marinated) and Chicken (Spicy).
Everything is pretty much self-service, which is why there is also no service charge.
You can choose whether you want to cook the meats on a cooking sheet. We found that the meats cooked without the cooking sheet had some smokiness to it. Apparently, the best way to prepare the meat (as recommended by them) is to grill the meats with their homemade kimchi and some onions.
There are three different condiments for you to choose from: Sweet & Sour Sauce, Ssamjang (bean paste) and the regular Spicy Sauce. I suggest dipping the meat in the Ssamjang that’s typically paired with barbecued meats.
If you’ve ever watched any Korean dramas or if you’ve been to Korea, you’ll notice that they typically make these lettuce wraps in Korean BBQ restaurants.
To make a lettuce wrap, wrap the meat with some sauce and other vegetables such as garlic and onions with a piece of lettuce. Stuff the entire thing in your mouth to get all the flavours in one bite.
Their Korean Fusion Mookata (S$20.90/weekday lunch, S$22.90/Mon – Thu dinner & weekend lunch, S$24.90/Fri – Sun, PH & Eve of PH dinner) includes some noodles, prawns, luncheon meat, corn, mushrooms, hot dogs, as well as a broth base for the army stew.
Like any other mookata, you’ll grill the meat and cook the other ingredients in the soup. What makes this so different from the rest is that the soup base is essentially an army stew.
Since it takes a while for the ingredients in the soup to cook, you can proceed to eat what’s on the grill first.
At first glance, you might think the soup would be spicy. However, there was a tangy aftertaste that reminded me of tomato soup, which makes it great for families with kids.
This family-friendly restaurant has a separate price list for children between 10 – 15 years old, and kids below 10 years old can eat for free.
You need at least two people to order from the buffet options, so for those who are dining alone, you can choose from their a la carte menu as well.
The signature Pork Backbone Stew (S$35) feeds up to two pax and comes with a generous amount of pork bone meat. The soup itself is a little spicy, but still acceptable for people who have a lower spice tolerance level.
Jjajiangmyeon is a very common dish in Korea. So naturally, Friends Tasty Korea definitely has this highly sought-after dish on the menu.
Make sure that you mix up your bowl of Jjajiang Noodle (S$13) properly and enjoy every bite with a chunk of meat. The slightly sweet sauce is sure to appeal to children, though be careful not to stain your clothes while eating this messy dish.
One of our favourite dishes was the Sweet & Sour Chicken (S$25), which was doused in a thick sweet and sour sauce. The sharp flavours made the entire dish super addictive and we gobbled it up quickly. I swear I could just eat this for days.
This lovely plate of Pig Trotters (S$24/regular, S$45/large, S$38/regular + soju, S$59/large + soju) is served with some vegetables, which means you can also eat it in a lettuce wrap.
Also known as Naengmyeon, this slightly sweet and refreshing bowl of Cold Noodle (S$16) is the perfect end to a heavy meal. Koreans usually pair this with barbecued meats as well.
Pair each bite of buckwheat and potato starch noodles with some cucumbers and thinly sliced pickled radish. Enjoy this invigorating bowl of Cold Noodle on a hot day for the best experience!
Having been to Korea, I would say that Friends Tasty Korea offers an authentic taste of the country while catering to Singaporean tastebuds at the same time.
Although the prices for the a la carte menu are a little steep, the reasonable buffet prices and accessible location are a huge plus. I can definitely see myself coming back here again — after I starve myself so that I can feast on more food and get more bang for my buck.
Expected Damage: S$15.90 – S$24.90 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Friends Tasty Korea
431 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758396
431 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758396