K-drama fans will know what a pojangmacha is— you know, that illuminated street-side tent that your favourite oppa heads to for post-work soju and yummy street food.
Inspired by the vibrant streets of Seoul, the folks behind Seorae Singapore and 9pm Kkochi have come up with Singapore’s first K-food street dining concept: Pocha!
Located at the basement of Northpoint City, Pocha! is pretty easy to spot with its gleaming signboard, bright red accents and fairy lights streamed across its ceiling.
Opened on 5 June 2022, this is Singapore’s first-ever pojangmacha concept that’s situated within a mall.
Whether you’re a K-fan looking to soak in the K-drama vibes, or whether you’re simply looking for a comforting Korean meal with family and friends, Pocha! aims to recreate all that Korean street dining has to offer.
Its interior is bright and colourful, with neon signages littered across the space.
You’ll be able to spot the tent-inspired decor as well, which allows you to peep into the kitchen to see Pocha!’s staff prepare your food.
In fact, this is inspired by the friendly ahjummas who often cook up a storm in these colourful pojangmacha tents— all of which are done within your sight.
The fun ambience is made complete with K-pop soundtracks streaming in the background. Bopping my head to familiar tracks, I sat down and readied myself for the feast.
What I tried at Pocha!
Oddly, the Korean street dining scene is eerily similar to Singapore zi char, where friends and family order to share so that everyone can have a bite of everything.
Likewise, Pocha! adopts that communal-like style, with its menu being split into Mains, Rice, Jjigae, Noodles, Sides and Drinks. Of course, it also has Sets which cater from one to four pax.
I started the feast off with Korea’s most iconic street food: Tteokbokki (S$10.90). I also decided to top up S$4 for Kimari, which are Korean fried seaweed rolls.
This is a quintessential Korean street food that’s a must-order whenever you’re at Pocha!.
The tteokbokki, or Korean rice cakes, were satisfyingly chewy and paired well with the gochujang-based sauce, which leaned more towards the sweet end. Biting into the kimari resulted in an audible crunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed each umami-filled bite.
A fair warning that the kimari tends to get soggy pretty quickly, especially when doused with the sauce, so be fast!
I moved onto the kkochi, which are Korean skewers. This is considered a main dish, with three sticks given per serving.
I decided to get the two signature skewers: Pork Belly Zig Zag (S$5.90) and Beef Belly Zig Zag (S$6.50).
These were so yummy that I let out an audible wow after my first few bites. Not even kidding.
Each piece of meat was extremely tender as it had a good ratio of fat to meat, and I loved how the capsicum added a bright freshness that complemented the sweet juices from the meat.
Both pork and beef skewers had a nice tinge of smokiness, but I personally preferred the Beef Belly Zig Zag as it had been doused in a teriyaki-like sweet sauce that added an umami-kick of flavour.
I decided to try Pocha!’s Sundubu (S$14.90). For the uninitiated, sundubu is a popular Korean spicy stew that’s known for its extra silky tofu.
Pocha!’s rendition of this stew included ingredients like minced pork, tofu, clams, zucchini and enoki mushrooms.
This absolutely hit the spot. Pocha!’s Sundubu had a good depth of rich and savoury flavours, with a pleasant pepperiness that lifted up the entire soup.
Comforting and appetising, I loved the little bits of minced pork that added a springy texture which went hand-in-hand with the soft and velvety tofu.
This is a dish that my dining companion and I kept going back to for its kick of savoury flavours. I stay in the East, but trust me when I say that I’d gladly travel all the way to Northpoint City just for this bowl of Sundubu.
I moved onto my first rice dish: Hangari Bokkeumbab (S$9.90).
Bokkeumbab is Korean fried rice, while hangari is a traditional Korean earthenware jar used for preserving pastes, food and sauces.
This dish combines two quintessential Korean elements— Pocha!’s house-made signature hangari soy sauce and Korean fried rice— to create a smoky and savoury fried rice that’s packed with plenty of wokhei.
While you can top this dish up with your choice of protein, for example Chicken (S$3), Pork (S$3), Beef (S$3) and Seafood (S$4), you can also order them on the side to share— which I did.
I ordered the Beef Bulgogi (S$12.90), which had been marinated and stir-fried over an open flame with onions and leeks.
These were tender mouthfuls of succulent beef slices that had a tinge of sweetness. I loved the addition of mildly crunchy onions, leeks and spring onions, which gave an added fragrance to each bite.
Here’s a pro tip: to zhng up your bulgogi, pair it with the house-made kimchi for that extra zing.
For those of you who can’t live without carbs, try Pocha!’s Gochujang Broth Ramyeon (S$9.90), which comes with noodles, zucchini, egg, shredded crispy seaweed and spring onions.
It surprised me with its mild spiciness, which crept in slowly as a slow burn. With plenty of ingredients such as the crunchy zucchini and springy noodles, this turned out to be a really hearty and comforting noodle dish.
Kids will love Pocha!’s Corndogs (S$6.90 per stick), which are stuffed with sausages and drizzled with tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
Be prepared to take a large bite, because these Corndogs were huge!
It came with a deliciously crispy exterior, and the dough-like filling was thick and chewy with an incredibly satisfying bite which went well with the juicy meatiness from the hotdog.
I could definitely see myself enjoying this with a shot of soju.
And speaking of soju, a trip to Pocha! isn’t complete without a bottle of Jinro Is Back (S$19.90).
If you’re wondering why I didn’t go with the Original Chamisul (S$18.90) or Green Grape Jinro (S$18.90), it’s because the folks at Pocha! shared that during their recent trip to Seoul, they found out that most of the Korean locals were drinking Jinro Is Back rather than Chamisul or everyone’s favourite Green Grape Jinro, praising it for its smoothness.
So, if you want to drink like a Korean local, be sure to try this soju.
This soju was extremely clean and smooth— almost too smooth that it became dangerously drinkable. It reminded me of vodka, but without that astringent acetone-like bitterness.
Personally, I prefer my soju to be mixed with yakult, but this was one of the rare few times that I could actually down my shot of soju without cringing from the iconic gasoline-like harshness, which wasn’t present in the Jinro Is Back.
Quick, take this away from me before I chug down the whole bottle!
I’m not gonna lie. I dreaded the trip down to Northpoint City because, let’s face it— Yishun isn’t exactly the most accessible. Yet, Pocha!’s offerings thoroughly surprised me to the point that I’d consider making the trip to come back for a hearty and authentic Korean meal with my family and friends.
Not only did the Sundubu impress me with its velvety rich texture and savoury flavours, I loved the Kkochi (Korean skewers) and Tteokbokki, and can definitely see myself sharing this with friends while knocking back a few shots of Jinro Is Back.
Not to mention, Pocha!’s vibes are spot on. I loved the bright and colourful interior, which came complete with a wall mural that looks eerily similar to a couple of K-drama scenes I’ve watched.
If you’re looking for authentic Korean street food that’s inspired by Seoul’s pojangmacha, then Pocha! is worth a visit. Definitely adding points for the fact that they’re located within a mall, so you’ve got that added (and air-conditioned) comfort.
You can bet I’ll be back. Daebak!
Expected damage: S$9.90 – S$25 per pax
* This article was brought to you in partnership with Pocha!
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
1 North Point Drive, Northpoint City (South Wing), #B1-181, Singapore 768019
1 North Point Drive, Northpoint City (South Wing), #B1-181, Singapore 768019