Riding the K-Wave: our guide to Korean restaurants in Singapore, snacks & more!
The K-Wave has hit our sunny shores and the list goes on: K-Pop, K-Dramas, K-Beauty, and a mind-boggling array of delicious K-Food.
If you’re in need of a Korean food fix, this handy guide will give you a heads-up on what’s good in the local Korean scene! From authentic Korean food to addictive Korean snacks, we’ve covered all bases so you can embark on your culinary adventure and feast on dishes and snacks representative of the native country that’ll make you go, “Daebak (Awesome)!”
Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice)
For a Korean meal that’s both healthy and tasty, Paik’s Bibimbap at Bedok Mallchecks all the right boxes.Bibimbap and bibim-myun (Korean mixed noodles) are given a modern and nutritious twist in this Korean fast food restaurant that is the brainchild of renowned Korean celebrity chef Jong Won Paik.
Expect to see your bibimbap loaded with fresh, colourful vegetables and topped with your choice of meat, seafood or tofu.
For that extra spice kick, remember to add the specially formulated gochujang (red pepper paste); then be prepared for that extra-dimensional explosion of flavours in your mouth!
If you’re more interested in getting a quick bite, the restaurant also serves side dishes such as fried chicken, japchae (Korean glass noodles)and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) that's reminiscent of the street food sold at roadside stalls in Korea.
Dak-Galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken)
A chicken dish that’s a hit with Koreans is dak-galbi, and Yoogane arguably serves some of the best. Located at Bugis Junction, Tampines Mall and Westgate, this Korean restaurant originating from Busan uses a unique blend of sauces, seasonings and fresh ingredients to proudly create their brand of flavourful stir-fried chicken dishes.
Try out the signature Yoogane’s Chicken Galbi that contains tender chunks of chicken marinated in Yoogane’s distinctive spicy sauce, coupled with assorted vegetables and rice cakes that even out the heat. If chicken alone is not enough, take your meal to the next level with the Marinated Chicken Galbi Cheese Fried Rice, an appetising combination of dak-galbi, fried rice and a generous amount of melty mozzarella cheese.
‘Chimaek’ is a combination of the words ‘chicken’ and ‘maekju’ (beer). Crispy fried chicken and ice-cold beer would undeniably make the perfect food pairing, as the Koreans will attest to!
This famous fried chicken restaurant which originates from Korea serves up their irresistible signature chicken dishes in a variety of flavours that will leave you spoilt for choice.
Choose from the original Crispy Fried Chicken, or go for the innovative Honey Butter Chicken and Curry Fried Chicken for that satisfying crunch.
Wash down your chicken with a refreshing pint of Korean beer for a meal that definitely hits the spot.
After this, you’ll understand why the Koreans absolutely adore their chicken and beer.
Hansik (traditional Korean cuisine)
Korea is known for its diverse cuisine and hearty meals that fill the belly and warm the soul. Those searching for a true taste of Korea need not look any further than Hyang-To-Gol at Raffles City. This restaurant offers an extensive selection of Korean dishes including meats, soups, noodles and other traditional food commonly found on the dining tables in Korean homes.
Tuck into a savoury kimchijeon (kimchi pancake)alongside a hot plate of bulgogi (Korean grilled beef) paired with rice. Savour a piping hot bowl of nourishing samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) or flavoursome doenjang-jjigae (soybean paste stew). Have your noodles in different ways, from jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles) to jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup).
The casual dining restaurantSeoul Yummy, which has outlets at Bugis+ and Junction 8, is another excellent option for wholesome Korean cuisine. Its signature dish is the well-loved budae jigae (Korean army stew), a spicy, robust broth bursting with various ingredients such as ramyeon (Korean instant noodles), spam, sausage, tteok (rice cakes), tofu, assorted vegetables and seafood. Gather round with friends and family as you enjoy this comforting meal meant for sharing.
Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly)
Barbeques are widely enjoyed by Koreans, and samgyeopsal is a favourite among them. Pork belly is cooked alongside other kinds of meat atop a sizzling grill in this social activity where people come together to relish good food and one another’s company.
Enjoy a true Korean BBQ experience often seen on Korean dramas with Daessiksin Korean BBQ Buffet, an all-you-can-eat Korean grill BBQ restaurant with outlets at Bugis+ and IMM. This restaurant offers 10 to 12 different types of signature marinated meats such as samgyeopsal and premium pork collar to delight the meat lover in you.
Further enhance the flavour of your grilled meats by pairing it with an indulgent cheese dip. The combination is pure heaven!
Alternatively, feast like royalty at Oppa Korean Grill BBQ at JCube, with its wide selection of premium meats marinated in special Korean sauces. There are plenty of banchan (Korean side dishes) to accompany your meal, as well as an array of fresh vegetables and condiments.
If you want to elevate your Korean BBQ experience, K.COOK Korean BBQ & Steamboat Buffet at Westgate is just the restaurant for you.As its name suggests, the restaurant allows you to enjoy both Korean BBQ and steamboat at the same time for a meal that will leave you blissfully stuffed. Help yourself to the wide selection of appetisers, condiments, meats and seafood and other Korean dishes spread out in different stations.
Here’s a Korean BBQ pro tip! Grill onions and garlic together with your meats to enhance their flavour. Don’t forget to do as the Koreans do and wrap your meat with lettuce for a tasty wrap.
Bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert)
Nothing beats the heat like a cool treat, and bingsu is the perfect dessert to combat the sweltering Singapore weather. The frosty dessert consists of finely shaved ice and various toppings such as red beans, sweetened condensed milk and fruits.
For a sweet dessert perfect for sharing, One Ice Café at JCubeoffers bingsu that promises to tickle the palate! Here, it's given a local twist with creative flavours like Milo and Oreo for a rich, familiar taste Singaporeans love. If you prefer something simpler, go for the traditional shaved ice like the Patbingsu, shaved ice topped with red bean paste, cornflakes and ice cream; or the Injeolmi, shaved ice topped with soybean powder and chewy tteok (rice cakes).
Another place worth checking out for their bingsu is Chi-Bing at The Star Vista, where the shaved ice is infused with milk for an extra depth of flavour.You can never go wrong with the classic Patbingsu or Injeolmi, but why not give their fancy creations a try? The Choco Brownie Bingsu is a sinfully decadent tower of chocolate delights while the fruity Mango Bingsu is absolutely refreshing!
Gwaja (Korean snacks)
If you have a serious case of the munchies, Sol Mart at The Star Vistahas all the gwaja that you need to satisfy your cravings. The mini mart, which imports all its products from Korea, has such an awesome variety it'd be hard to tell the difference between it and an actual supermarket in Korea. Choose from a wide assortment of Korean snacks, including the classic Choco Pie, Pepero sticks, Yoghurt Jelly and the highly sought-after Honey Butter Chips and Honey Butter Almonds.
Besides the amazing range of Korean snacks, the selection of other food items are equally eye-opening too. Grab some Korean condiments and staples such as kimchi, gim (dried seaweed), instant noodles, chilled ingredients and frozen food, and whip up your own Korean meal in the comfort of your own home. The selection of Korean alcohol should also not be missed.