I’m not sure when the K-wave hit our shores but I, for one, am happy about it. I have to confess that I rarely catch K-dramas nor do I listen to K-pop. What I am really happy about is, instead, the increase in the number of authentic Korean restaurants gracing our sunny shores.
With over 100 different dining options that span across a variety of cuisines, what stood out in Suntec City — one of Singapore’s largest lifestyle shopping malls— is no doubt its Korean fare.
From now till 21 May 2017, Suntec City will be tantalising your taste buds further with its plethora of dining deals and promotions. Sign up at http://sunteccity.com.sg/signup/ for a free Suntec Rewards Membership to enjoy greater perks.
Here are seven restaurants that will make you go “dae bak” and “masisseo” :
Opened by renowned Korean celebrity chef Mr. Paik Jong Won, and having watched him cook on various Korean cooking shows before, I was definitely looking forward to trying out his patented recipes and marinades at BORNGA.
It was nice to find that every little detail of the meal was given its rightful attention, making it thoroughly enjoyable. These side dishes are made by in-house ajumahs who were qualified and trained in Korea.
We were served individual dipping sauces: (from left to right) sesame sauce with salt and pepper for pork, Woo Samgyup sauce for beef, soybean paste for all other meats, and raw sliced garlic.
The Woo Samgyup dish (200g) ($28) is the pride and star of BORNGA, these thinly-sliced beef briskets are handpicked for its beautiful marbling, making it a good ratio of fat to meat for barbecuing.
It is marinated in chef Paik’s patented top-secret marinade and special dressing that retains the beef’s vibrant colour.
Unlike any other bulgogi, the special marinade makes the beef tender with a slightly springy texture, while bringing out the meat’s natural sweetness. The Woo Samgyup sauce further elevates the flavour with its peppery and tangy profile
You can wrap it up with fresh vegetables and the side dishes, then take big bites into it.
Or choose to wrap the spring onion side dish within the meat itself. We prefer the latter to enjoy the unadulterated taste of the beef.
Sate the inner carnivore by ordering the Mansinchang Samyeopsal in Soy Sauce (Pork Belly) ($25/ 2 pcs per serving).
Cut in just the right thickness, the meat is marinated in BORNGA’s special soy sauce, which turned into a sweet caramelised exterior upon barbecuing. You can skip dipping it in any of the sauces as it is good on its own.
The Jap Chae (Pork) ($23) consists of sweet potato noodles that are springy and light that won’t fill you up too much if you’re ordering other dishes on the menu.
Fried with mixed vegetables, pork and special sauce, you can expect every mouthful to be fulfilling.
We ended our meal with a hearty bowl of Galbitang (Beef Short Rib Soup) ($18), the broth is nourishing and comforting to the soul and tummy.
Made simply with beef short ribs and white radish, the soup is naturally sweet, light and easy on the palate.
Don’t leave without washing down the meal with a bowl of complimentary Omija (five-flavour berry) Tea. It is essentially a drink made from the berry extract which helps to clear the palate and reset the taste buds. It reminded us of the hawthorn candy discs we used to have as kids.
Its taste will leave you intrigued; hitting you first with its salty and sourish notes, then a slightly spicy and bitter smokey taste that will linger at the back of your tongue, followed by a gentle sweetness that washes over what may have seem repulsive at first sip…be warned that you’ll be left wanting more.
Bornga: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City East Wing #01-641/642, Singapore 038983 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun) | Tel: +65 8363291 | Facebook
2. Kimchi Korean Restaurant
Kimchi Korean Restaurant is dedicated to bringing authentic hometown Korean cuisine to your table. It has a comprehensive menu that boasts of bibimbap, Korean stews, marinated barbecue meats, and many other items that will leave you spoilt for choice
The Gye-ran Kimchi Cheese Jeon (Kimchi, Cheese, Egg Pancake) ($13.90) is an interesting side dish. Containing red and green pepper, onions, mozzarella cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise and thick sweet soy sauce in a flat style kimchi omelette; this dish reminded us more of a pizza than a Korean pancake.
We are unsure if the cheese craze is still trending, but being avid cheese lovers, we couldn’t possibly say no to the Snow Chicken Cheese Bumbuk ($33.90). This deep fried boneless chicken cheese fondue is large enough to share among two to three pax.
You’ll get half a plate of mozzarella, and the other half, a miniature tower of Korean deep fried boneless chicken and potato wedges that are drizzled with mustard cream sauce and sprinkled over with sweet snow cheese.
We fell absolutely in love with how the slight saltiness of the melted mozzarella coated the juicy and crispy chicken so well. Not to mention, the cheese pull is rather Instagram-worthy too. Do note that the mozzarella is susceptible to burning if left unattended, so remember to lower the heat when the cheese has melted.
There is no denying that the Kimchi Dae-Ji Kalbi Jjim ($48.90) is well-worth every penny. Feeding also two to three (maybe four even), this dish contains a variety of ingredients: slow-cooked pork ribs with kimchi boiled together in kimchi broth containing onions, leek, chilli, enoki mushrooms, beancurd, instant noodle, and garnished with rocket leaves.
The meat on the pork ribs was tender and had a strong spicy kick of the kimchi, which paired really well with the otherwise bland tofu and enoki mushrooms. We particularly enjoyed slurping the instant noodles and the savoury kimchi broth in large mouthfuls.
We ended the meal on a refreshing and citrusy note with the Parang ($13.80), a cocktail made of lemon soju slush with blueberry cruiser.
If you don’t fancy cocktails, you’ll be glad to know that from now till 18 May 2017, Kimchi Korean Restaurant is running a 1-for-1 Hite beer every Wednesday after 5pm.
Do note that Kimchi Korean Restaurant is currently undergoing renovation and will only open end May or early June 2017.
Kimchi Korean Restaurant: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City West Wing, #02-387, Singapore 038987 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm | Tel: +65 63377811| Website | Facebook
3. Guksu Restaurant
Guksu Restaurant is Singapore’s very first Jeongol restaurant and it is located near Kimchi Korean Restaurant. Its owner, who also owns Kimchi Korean Restaurant, is the handsome Mediacorp actor Haden Hee.
As its name suggests, the Chix Octopus Platter ($48) contains deep fried boneless chicken and long legged octopus in spicy Korean cheese Sauce. The platter will feed two to four pax.
It didn’t take long for the cheese in the centre to melt, and we were soon busy coating our chunks of crispy chicken and octopus in it. The spicy Korean cheese sauce added a certain creaminess to the ingredients, and could have been a little spicier.
The platter is served with custardy egg, four types of rice cakes, and sweet corn at the side, for a wholesome meal.
Containing a whole chicken, ginseng, potato, enoki mushroom, yellow cabbage and vegetables, the Ginseng Dak Hanmary ($45.90) was delectable from start to finish.
The chicken and ginseng broth was light in flavour and I felt nourished after a few slurps.
We also had Korean fried chicken to accompany our meal, (from left to right) Spicy Chicken Wings, Soy Chicken Wings and Classic Chicken Wings. The aroma of these chicken wings filled the air, and needless to say, we were not disappointed when we bit into them.
Spicy yet addictive, the Spicy Chicken Wings had us craving for more with each bite. We also enjoyed the strawberry pickles, which had some sourish notes and a strong strawberry flavour infused within. The mashed potato was creamy and had a balanced buttery flavour.
Drumsticks are also available at $3.90 per piece, $11.50 for three and $22 for six.
From now till 21 May 2017 and from Mondays to Thursdays, you will get two pieces of Guksu’s Signature Korean Wings with any order of Korean Steamboat or Jeongol. Furthermore, from now till 18 May 2017, you can also enjoy a 1-for-1 Hite beer promotion every Wednesday after 5pm.
Guksu:3 Temasek Boulevard, #02-384/385 Suntec City West Wing, Singapore 038983 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm | Tel: +65 63347950 | Website | Facebook
4. Mad for Garlic
If you’re wondering why an Italian restaurant is appearing on this list, we’ll have you know that Mad for Garlic is the first garlic-themed Italian restaurant that originated in Korea.
From now till 30 May 2017, the “Mad for Korea” menu will feature fusion dishes marrying both Korean and Italian culinary. Don’t worry about walking out with garlicky breaths—a special preparation method is used to eliminate the pungent garlic smell.
The Sizzling Kimchi Pork Rice ($20.50) is fragrant right from when it’s being brought to the table, up to the very last mouth. Fluffy rice is fried with Kimchi and garlic, served with tender herb marinated pork belly and asparagus, and garnished with more kimchi. It is absolutely mouth-watering.
We slurped up the Gochujang Bolognese Pasta ($18.50) without much hesitation even though it was piping hot. Slathered in spicy gochujang sauce (chilli paste), the pasta was both robust and sweet. The chilli provided a spicy kick which enlivened the entire dish.
The bean sprouts were a welcome addition to the pasta, adding a crunch in between bites.
No meal’s complete without pizza at an Italian restaurant, and were we glad to have tried the Mad Dak-Galbi Pizza ($22.50).
The house-made pizza dough is perfectly thin with a crusty edge to boot, the spicy chicken added an aromatic dimension with the sweet potato mousse and radish pickle as toppings to complement its taste.
If you’re there on a date, the K-Couple Set ($44) comes with Garlic Pane (two pieces), Mad Dak-Galbi Pizza – choice of Bulgogi Pasta or Gochujang Bolognese Pasta – and two glasses of signature ade. Don’t miss out on the K-Family Set ($88), which offers Garlic Pane (four pieces), all of the above-mentioned mains, sizzling kimchi pork rice and four glasses of signature ade.
Good news, and there’s also a 1-for-1 pizza deal for selected pizzas only going on now till 21 May 2017! Present this flyer to enjoy the offer.
Mad for Garlic: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City, West Wing #02-300/301 Singapore 038983 | Opening Hours: (Sun – Thu) 11.30am – 10pm (last order: 9:15pm), (Fri & Sat) 11:30pm – 11pm (last order 10:15pm) | Tel: +65 62381930 | Website | Facebook
“Dookki” means two meals in Korean; essentially, a fun dining concept where one can have two meals in one sitting. Having recently opened its doors in Suntec City, the novelty dining experience is fast becoming as popular as it is in Korea.
At just $18.80++ per pax, you’ll get to dig into a sumptuous tteokbokki buffet that offers up to eight different types of rice cakes flown in from Korea, of which, some are rarely found in Singapore — we loved those with the flavoured fillings and the ones that come in cute heart and flower shapes.
Start by picking up the lid from the cookware on the table, and grab the wide variety of ingredients that you’d like to have in the tteokbokki.
Other ingredients include QQ noodles that’s popular among the Koreans, fish cake noodles, fish cake oden, and a variety of fried food.
With the small pan, you can concoct the sauce to your preferred level of spiciness. Go only for the cream and curry sauces on your second serving as it may alter the overall taste of any of the tteokbokki sauces.
When in doubt, it’s best to refer to the handy chart so that your sauce doesn’t end up tasting off.
For a more substantial meal, add on the a la carte Double Cheese Ring ($9.80++) that comes with cheese dips filled with corn. Yums!
Now, for the second part of the meal: when your sauce has thickened from the boiling, grab some rice, kimchi, sweet corn, seaweed from the buffet station, and mix it in. A few good stirs over the heat and you’ll get a delicious bowl of kimchi fried rice.
If you’re still not full from the two meals, have a packet of ramen and fill the pot with water to cook up a bowl of noodles, along with ingredients from the buffet line.
Grab three friends along with you to make up a table of four adults, and enjoy a free double cheese ring at any time of the day from Monday – Thursday (till 21 May 2017)! The interactive, self-cooking experience spells double the fun. Feel free to approach the friendly staff for help at any point of your meal.
Dookki: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City East Wing #B1-107, Singapore 038984 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun) | Tel: +65 62662425 | Website | Facebook
6. Eat At Seven – Tokyo Sundubu
Tokyo Sundubu at Eat At Seven is possibly Japan’s largest Sundubu chain that sells Sundubu Jjigae; a Korean stew containing sundubu (soft tofu) and other ingredients.
Here, you’ll get to enjoy more than 23 variations of sundubu jjigae, such as Chicken Sundubu, Seafood Sundubu, Japanese Oyster Sundubu, just to name a few.
Choose from different soup bases (Salt & Ginger, Japanese Miso or Non-Spicy) to pair with your sundubu. After which, proceed to select the level of spiciness for the soup; level one being the least spicy and level four being the most spicy. Each set of sundubu comes with rice and side dishes.
We had the Wagyu Sundubu ($21) in the Salt & Ginger soup base, tailored to level two spiciness, a spice equivalent to Japanese standards. Arriving piping hot and with a faint spicy aroma, the sundubu was our much-needed remedy for any cold (or rainy) weather.
The stew is packed with plenty of ingredients –wagyu beef slices, clams, scallions, an egg, and of course generous chunks of handmade tofu. The level two spiciness level was slightly too mild for us and we would have ordered a higher level to satisfy our love for spice.
Robust in flavour, the Salt & Ginger soup base was refreshing, light and had a strong taste of beef. We enjoyed how tender and springy the beef slices were, and the tofu won us over with its silky soft texture.
We were also served two kinds of Chijimis (Korean Pancakes): Jyagachi Chijimi ($12) and Seafood Chijimi ($15).
The Jyagachi Chijimi, also known as Potato Cheese Pancake, is served with a spicy mayo sauce—a mix of mayonnaise, chilli powder and vinegar.
The strong, tangy notes complemented fairly with the crispy pancakes, although we would have liked it better if the taste of the cheese was evidently stronger.
The Seafood Chijimi is made with finely diced squid, prawns and scallops. It was the better of the two pancakes, delivering a stronger taste as compared to the former.
Served together with spicy chijimi sauce, the sauce enhances the taste of the seafood pancake and adds a good spicy kick.
Eat At Seven: Tokyo Sundubu: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City North Wing #03-312 , Singapore 038983| Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm (last order 2:30pm), 5:30pm – 10pm (last order 9:30pm) (Mon- Sun) | Tel: +65 68844435
7. Thumb Coffee
Welcoming yet another Korean dessert and coffee chain to our shores, THUMB COFFEE marries our all-time favourites — coffee and sweet treats all in a cup.
Yes, you heard me right. Now, you can have your caffeine fix and dessert cravings met all in one place, and at affordable prices too.
The specially patented cup has a unique design, where its cover contains a small pocket for a single serving soft serve ice cream or mini cakes. From left to right, we feasted on the New York Cheese Shot ($5.80), Double Shake Ccino ($6.20), Mint Choco Cookie ($6.50) and Thumb Dark Mocha ($6.50).
The New York Cheese Shot, a blend of milk, cheese powder and a single shot of espresso, was sweet and had a subtle hint of cheese lingering in the aftertaste. The Double Shake Ccino, which contained whip cream, milk, two shots of espresso and shaken together with ice, was lusciously creamy and had a distinct coffee aroma.
Rest assured that the soft serve ice cream, which was mildly sweet and had a smooth consistency, will not overwhelm the coffee’s taste. With Singapore’s sweltering weather, it is no wonder many customers had expressed their preference for the ice cream to go with their coffee.
Thumb Dark Mocha blends milk, chocolate powder and two shots of espresso together with little whip cream at the top. Pair it with a piece of yummy cheesecake for a sinful indulgence.
Mint Choco Cookie was my favourite amongst the rest. Blending milk, mint chocolate powder and crumbs with whip cream on top, the beverage wasn’t overly minty and was refreshing.
From now till 21 May 2017, Thumb Coffee is having a 1-for-1 drink as long as you come on down on Mondays to Thursdays after 5pm.
I guess you know where to get your evening perk-me-up now.
Thumb Coffee: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City North Wing #B1-144, Singapore 038983 | Opening Hours: (Mon – Fri) 8am – 9pm, (Sat – Sun) 9am – 8pm | Tel: +65 62261823 | Website | Facebook
Apart from these Korean restaurants featured above, Suntec City is a dining heaven that offers over 100 dining options for every occasion. Choose to dine at restaurants, quench your thirst at watering-holes and bars, indulge in cafes, and take-outs.
From 10 April – 21 May 2017, check out a slew of 1-for-1 promotions and other dining deals available at Suntec City. That’s not all; spend $30 in a single receipt at any F&B outlet and redeem:
1. FREE 3,000 Suntec Rewards Points,
2. A FREE parking coupon
3. WIN $50 in the Match and Win; plus
4. Additional $5 Suntec City voucher when you charge to your AMEX cards.
Be sure to download the Suntec City mobile app and check out their site to keep yourself updated. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram so you’ll never miss another deal again!
*This post was brought to you in partnership with Suntec City.