We tried Singapore’s worst-rated Korean food stall

My journey into the dark underbelly (haha, I crack myself up!) of the worst-rated stalls in Singapore continues. This time, it was Korean cuisine and my research put me at the doorstep of ManNa Korean Restaurant at Changi City Point.

manna - storefront

When I checked, it had a rating of 3.2 stars out of 5 from 134 reviews. A rating in the lower Tolerable Threes is not the most encouraging of signs, seeing as it is so near the Terrible Twos. However, this series has shown me that a 3+ score can also indicate a potential Fantastic Four still finding its footing.

So, my colleague Rachel and I headed over to Changi City Point to put our bellies on the line at ManNa.

What I tried at ManNa Korean Restaurant

First on the chopping block was the Yangyum Chicken (S$22.80). Described on the menu as “Fried chicken with sweet & spicy sauce”, it has been the subject of ire by numerous diners. Their chief complaint has been that the chicken is not crispy, closely followed by accusations of it drowning in ketchup.

manna - fried chicken

I have to disagree. The version that we were served was not only as crispy as we expect Korean chicken to be but it also had the right balance of ketchup. Its crunchy texture was very nicely accentuated by the sweet and spicy flavour of the sauce, and it was as sticky as it should be!

Perhaps the restaurant has responded to the feedback and dialled back on the ketchup.

Quite as importantly, this dish was a winner, presentation-wise. A sprinkling of white sesame seeds, and shallots in their green and white glory made for an excellent contrast against the deep golden-brown hue of the chicken. A visual masterpiece.

Far from being let down as some diners have been, my colleague and I (eventually) found this to be the best of the 3 dishes we tried. Was ManNa going to be a gem unfairly targeted by hateful online trolls? Well, no. The downward spiral was about to begin.

manna - kimchi soup

Buoyed by our positive experience with the chicken, we ordered the Kimchi Chigai (S$15.80) next. We assumed this was a safe bet because it’s one of the most popular Korean stews.

manna - ingredients in soup

However, our serving was just a mediocre concoction of all the ingredients. We didn’t find it absolutely terrible or anything, but there was an overemphasis on the savoury. This made the soup saltier than it should be, overwhelming the more subtle flavours that make this dish come alive when done right.

manna - beef stew

At this point, we were still quite happy about our visit. Sure, our bowl of soup was on the too-salty side but that can happen anywhere. Nothing could have prepared us for the debacle that was about to follow. It was the Value Lunch Set (DDuk-Bulgogi) (S$15.80).

You are offered a choice between chicken, beef and pork for the set and we decided to have the beef. This set comes with a bowl of steamed rice. Our DDuk-Bulgogi came looking quite appetising with its beautiful brown colour and topped with delicate enoki mushrooms. Regrettably, it turned out to be the personification of the phrase ‘appearances can be misleading’.

The first sign of trouble came in the form of its aroma. Or, if you prefer, reek.

manna - piece of beef

This gamey smell wafted over from the bowl, overwhelming us. I can’t imagine why it was so incredibly intense. Whatever the reason, though, it did not do the dish any favours. Had I not been here to review the food, I would likely have changed my order at this point. Unfortunately, I had no choice.

manna - soup in spoon

Sinking my teeth into a piece, I found that the beef was too gamey by texture, too. Neither Rachel nor I could bring ourselves to eat more than 2 morsels each. After the surprisingly good chicken, this dish undid almost all the positive vibes I had been feeling.

Final thoughts

What began rather well ended quite disappointingly. ManNa Korean Restaurant does some things right and some things terribly wrong.

manna - dishes on table

There were grumblings about the pricing among online reviewers, too, and I find myself agreeing there. At S$71 for 3 dishes and 2 soft drinks, our meal offered scant value for money.

On the other hand, they seem to have turned the (also pricey) Yangyum Chicken into a crowd pleaser. It seems that ManNa might still make it to the Fantastic Fours if they take the feedback on board and tweak their fare.

Expected damage: S$20 – S$45 per pax

Other articles you might like:

We tried Singapore’s worst-rated Western food stall

Han Kki: Authentic Korean food at affordable prices nested in the heart of Toa Payoh

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

ManNa Korean Restaurant

5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point, #01-39, Singapore 486038

Our Rating 3.5/5

ManNa Korean Restaurant

5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point, #01-39, Singapore 486038

Telephone: +65 6970 8505
Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6970 8505

Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Daily)
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