You may or may not binge-watch Korean soap dramas or idolise the Bangtan Boys (that's only the most popular Korean boyband, BTS for you) but chances are, you will be a fan of Korean cuisine. From its famous kimchi to barbecued meat, here are the restaurants to hit when that K-food craving hits.
For Korean barbecue
There are numerous Korean barbecue restaurants in town, but what sets Wang Dae Bak apart from the rest is its unlimited egg refills. Pour the egg mixture into the side of the barbecue pan and enjoy fluffy servings of eggs, along with its juicy cuts of marinated pork belly ($20) and shoulder loin ($20) – all cooked over a charcoal flame to impart a smoky flavour.
For modern Korean flavours
Helmed by chef Sun Kim, who also runs one-Michelin-starred Meta, Kimme is a casual modern restaurant that blends the east and west. Inspired by chef Sun’s and head chef Louis Han’s Korean heritage, expect to find dishes like the wagyu tartare bibimbap with confit egg and crispy seaweed ($28), or the fermented grape with makgeolli sorbet and mascarpone ($12).
For Korean-style Chinese food
While not traditionally Korean, O.BBA is known for its bowls of savoury-sweet jajangmyeon ($12) and spicy jjampong ($14). The menu here shines the spotlight on Korean-Chinese cuisine, which includes the popular tangsuyuk ($25), where deep-fried pieces of pork are served with an addictive pool of sweet and sour sauce. The best part? O.BBA is opened till 2am daily, perfect for when the late-night craving hits.
For wallet-friendly Korean fare
Its clientele is telling of its pocket-friendly prices; this casual Korean restaurant is popular among students. Located in town, mains are in the affordable range between $6.50-$10. Choose from a wide range of protein-based options. Popular options include the fried saba fish ($8), spicy chicken ($8), and kimchi soup ($7.50) that comes with your choice of side – choose from kimchi, marinated cucumber, or anchovies.
For Korean fried chicken
Birthed from the union of two of the most popular chicken restaurants in South Korea, you can be sure that Oven & Fried Chicken knows its stuff. Choose from a range of grill-roasted chicken (from $17); oil-free crunch chicken (from $18); fried chicken made with rice flour (from $18); and seasoned chicken (from $20), which comes in sauces like sweet and spicy, Jambalaya and garlic. And for the full Korean experience, wash it all down with a bowl of rice punch ($4).
For tteokbokki fans
There’s now a buffet dedicated to popular Korean street food, tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes). Priced at $18.80 for adults, enjoy your meals in two parts: feast on different kinds of rice cakes, fishcakes, and vegetables cooked in a spicy sauce, then end off the meal by making your own kimchi fried rice in the very same pot.
This popular Korean franchise is best known for its dak galbi, or stir-fried marinated chicken. The protein, along with your choice of toppings gets pan-fried and cooked right in front of you. We’d recommend going for the chewy rice cakes (in plain or sweet potato flavours), cheese, or instant noodles. And if the heat gets a bit too much, temper it down with some makgeolli ($7.90), a Korean rice wine.
An affiliate of Wicked Snow Korea, a well-established bingsu (shaved ice dessert) chain with more than 70 branches in its homeland, O'ma Spoon Korean Dessert Cafe brings to Singapore its signature shaved ice desserts. The bingsu is made from premium whole milk, instead of just ice, and topped with ingredients imported from Korea. Favourites include the injeolmi bingsu ($12.90) dusted with soy bean powder, and served with soy bean rice cakes.
For hearty stew
Customisable stews are the stars of this casual Korean eatery. The beef ($18-$32), pork ($16-$29) and spicy chicken ($16-$29) stews are available in two flavours – soya or four increasing levels of spiciness – and can be supplemented with add-ons ($2) like cheese or toppoki. Try the quirky DIY rice balls ($8), or pancakes like tomato cheese kimchi ($13) or potato ($12). Other tummy fillers include spicy noodles ($11), kimchi fried rice ($8) and spicy cheese fried rice ($9).