Jeong’s Jjajang: Authentic jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk cooked by a native Korean at Bukit Merah kopitiam

Growing up, I only had the opportunity to savour Korean food on special occasions at restaurants. Over the years, I’ve seen a rising trend of coffeeshops offering unique cuisine apart from our local delights. A perfect example is Jeong’s Jjajang, who planted their roots at a kopitiam located at Bukit Merah Central on 2 June 2022.

jeong's jjajang - stallfront with chef

The kitchen is helmed by Mr Jeong Jun Seong, who is a native Korean man from Daegu. Before opening up his food stall, Mr Jeong was cooking in a cloud kitchen concept in May 2021, mainly focusing on deliveries and takeaways.

jeong's jjajang - making of noodles

As I arrived at Jeong’s Jjajang close to noon with my dining partners, they were busy preparing for the upcoming lunch crowd. The noodles for the jjajangmyeon and jjampong are made by hand every two days by Mr Jeong himself. The handmade dough transformed into several golden strands of noodles right in front of my eyes. The noodles are only cooked on the spot when orders come in.

What I tried at Jeong’s Jjajang

jeong's jjajang - jjajangmyeon

I was excited to try one of their signature dishes, Jjajangmyeon (S$8). It came in a simple bowl which consisted of a bed of handmade noodles, a pile of chunjang (black bean) paste sprinkled with sesame seeds, and shreds of cucumber.

jeong's jjajang - black bean paste closeup

The chunjang paste had a mix of meat and onion chunks as I began to toss the noodles with the Korean metal chopsticks, which I was fumbling with (I’m so bad at using Korean chopsticks). The golden yellow noodles gradually turned into a caramelised shade of brown as the sauce began coating them. 

First impressions, I was blown away by the texture of the noodles, which were chewy and had a nice bite. The sweetness from the onions complemented the richness of the meat chunks.

jeong's jjajang - tossed noodles

The nutty notes from the sesame seeds and the crunchiness of the cucumber shreds added extra depth to the bowl of Jjajangmyeon. I’ve tried a famous jjajangmyeon in Tanjong Pagar recently with one of my dining partners present today, and both of us agreed that Jeong’s Jjajang’s version beats them hands down!

jeong's jjajang - tangsuyuk

The next dish we tried was Tangsuyuk (S$12), which is the Korean version of our local sweet and sour pork. Pieces of battered fried pork were piled up on a plate while the sauce was served separately.

My other dining partner, Rekha, shared with me that Koreans eat this particular dish in two ways. The first method is to dip the meat in the sauce while the other way is to drizzle the sauce all over the meat. I decided to try out both methods.

jeong's jjajang - dipping of pork

jeong's jjajang - closeup of meat

I used my chopsticks to extract out a little juice from the lemon slice and proceeded to dunk the fried pork chunks into the sauce. I could taste sweet hints of honey, which was balanced with the slight sourness coming from the lemon. The meat was tender and had no strong gamey taste. I was pleasantly surprised that the batter still remained crispy even though it wasn’t as hot as when it first arrived.

jeong's jjajang - drizzling of sauce

I drizzled the sauce all over the pork chunks, and suddenly the whole dish looked even more appealing. The battered pork felt more moist, and the sweet and sour flavours of the sauce became more robust using this method.

jeong's jjajang - seafood pancake

We moved on to their Seafood Pancake (S$10), and the first thing I noticed was that the edges were more charred in comparison to other ones I tried at other Korean establishments— it seemed more delightful this way! It had pieces of clams and sotong together with slices of spring onion.

jeong's jjajang - pancake dipped into sauce

The charred bits of the pancake provided a satisfying crunch and smoky taste to the pancake. The seafood wasn’t overcooked, and I loved the slightly browned bits of the spring onions which enhanced the overall taste of the pancake.

jeong's jjajang - jjampong rice

The last dish I had was Jjampong Rice (S$11). Typically jjampong is a Korean dish served with noodles but I’m glad that Jeong’s Jjajang had a rice option as well. For those who have a poor tolerance for spicy foods, they even offer Baekjjampong Rice (S$11) which is a non-spicy version.

The Jjampong Rice came in a traditional Korean metal bowl with a lid for the rice, and a bowl containing a fiery-looking broth which had black mussels, sotong, prawns, onion slices, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and leek in it.

jeong's jjajang - closeup of rice

I recalled a scene in a Korean show that I watched years ago, where the actor poured his rice into the soup— I did the same thing. For locals like us, we’re so accustomed to pouring our soups over the rice. It’s interesting to know the differences in eating habits across different countries.

jeong's jjajang - closeup of jjampong

The rice was slightly chewy in texture and the spiciness came to me almost immediately with an impact. I found out that Jeong’s Jjajang uses Japanese short-grain rice, which somehow managed to soak up the spicy broth better than regular rice does.

jeong's jjajang - closeup of seafood

The flavourful broth was satisfying with strong hints of Korean Chilli powder, which paired really well with the fresh seafood, sweet onions and smokey mushroom slices— great for a cold, rainy day.

Final thoughts

jeong's jjajang - closeup of seafoodWith such authentic Korean fare available at a coffeeshop, we no longer need to patronise a restaurant just to satisfy our Korean food cravings. For residents of Bukit Merah and those working nearby, Jeong’s Jjajang is currently running a Weekly Lunch Promotion (Mondays to Fridays only). Dishes like their Jjajangmyeon (S$5.90 instead of S$8) and Kimchi Soup (S$6.90 instead of S$9) will be on offer.

Pay a visit to Jeong’s Jjajang and get a taste of Korea without having to purchase an air ticket.

Expected damage: S$8 – S$20 per pax

Other articles you might like:

The ultimate best Korean food guide in Singapore

New in town: Jungyi Korean Food — Coffeeshop stall with home-cooked traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap and grilled meat

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Jeong's Jjajang

Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central, #01-3749, Singapore 516161

Price
Our Rating 4.5/5

Jeong's Jjajang

Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central, #01-3749, Singapore 516161

Operating Hours: 11am - 8.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Operating Hours: 11am - 8.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun
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