My editor knows me too well; recognising my soft spot for Korean cuisine, she sent me a message one morning which read “Morning Felicia, I have a shortform idea for next month. I wanted to give you first dibs since I know you enjoy Korean food.” Without hesitation, I immediately agreed and that’s why I’m here right now, writing this review for Hungry Korean.
I don’t know about you but I tend to be rather sceptical about celebrity-owned restaurants and often approach them with caution. To me, the popularity of these restaurants is usually attributed to the owners instead of the food itself.
Since Hungry Korean is ex-MediaCorp artist Cassandra See’s new endeavour into the F&B scene, the two-month-old establishment at Geylang Bahru has naturally gained a cult following owing to her fame.
What I tried
My eyes were set on the Volcano Carbonara (S$6.80) the moment it arrived on our table. I was eager to dig in knowing at the back of my head, that time is of the essence especially when it comes to instant ramen. Wait a minute longer, and the joy of slurping semi-cooked noodles will be lost.
Unlike the typical instant ramen broth, Hungry Korean’s Volcano Carbonara was amped up with milk, resulting in a rich and creamy light orange concoction. One might assume that the addition of milk will neutralise its spiciness, but be forewarned that this dish does require a bit of spice tolerance.
The onset of heat will be a slow one, creeping its way onto your tongue and down your throat. And before you know it, you will be sweating buckets—just like I did.
Most Korean establishments in Singapore serve bibimbap, a quintessential Korean meal-in-a-bowl. Probably the easiest dish to get right, bibimbap features a bed of short-grain rice, topped with a colourful array of vegetables, meat and a fried egg.
The Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap (S$6.80) at Hungry Korean however, puts their own twist on this classic dish with the use of an ajituke tamago.
Indeed, the dish did not disappoint. The vegetables were stir-fried to perfection—soft, yet still retained a crunch without being too raw. The use of beef bulgogi was also an ideal choice for those who like a tinge of sweetness in their bowl. The slices of meat were thin and packed with bold, caramelised, soy depth that was equally sweet as it was savoury.
I, however, still preferred a fried egg to go with this casually delicious dish. Without it, the bibimbap lacked the crispy bites from the golden lacy edges of a fried egg which I felt would elevate the dish even better with its textural contrast.
Next, came the Fried Chicken Burger (S$6.80). Do not dismiss this as ‘just another burger’ from your neighbourhood coffee shop. At Hungry Korean, the Fried Chicken Burger is a stack of combinations that will excite your palate.
Sandwiched between the buttery toasted burger buns was a thicc slab of fried chicken that was lightly battered and fried to a gorgeous golden brown. It was then completed with layers of fresh lettuce, yellow onions, tomatoes and topped with a fried egg, enhancing its umami-ness bite after bite.
If not for the fact that it was mid-afternoon and work still had to be done, I would have gotten myself an icy cold mug of Hite Extra Cold to go with this sinfully greasy, yet delectable three-inch stack. Sadly, I could only enjoy it with a cup of iced lemon tea which, by the way, was by far one of the best cups I’ve had in a long time.
Then, there was the Baby Rib Stew With Garlic Bread (S$11.90), a big hearty bowl of stew you wish you could dive into on a cold, rainy day. This was the one that left me smiling from ear to ear, clapping non-stop like a performing seal.
In its depths were generous chunks of baby back ribs sitting on cubes of white radishes and carrots that were braised to a fault. Surrounding the stew were warm slices of garlic bread, kissed with a slight toasty char.
Here, the ribs play a leading role. Barely clinging to its bone, the meat slid off with just a tug from my teeth. I never really enjoyed ribs due to its messiness, but this was unfussy and extremely satisfying.
The red gravy might look menacing, but don’t be deceived by its appearance. This gochujang-tomato based broth had more of a sweet-sourish note with only a tinge of spice that was barely recognisable. The Baby Rib Stew With Garlic Bread from Hungry Korean packed a symphony of flavours which isn’t typical of any Korean stew but I’m definitely not complaining.
When a dish calls for another order for takeaway (which I did), you know it’s worth it.
By this point, I was already making plans to come back with my husband. Hungry Korean may not be life-changing, but it is in some ways comforting—to both my belly and pocket.
We often only think of Tanjong Pagar when it comes to having a good Korean fare, so why not look beyond the area for a change? There might be a mixture of hits and misses here at Hungry Korean however, given that they are only two months old, this is just the start.
Expected Damage: S$6.80 – S$11.90
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Block 57 Geylang Bahru, #01-3521, Singapore 330057
Block 57 Geylang Bahru, #01-3521, Singapore 330057