We have had a constant love for Korean food since Hallyu hit our shores. It is true if you are now craving for that meaty goodness wrapped in lettuce, a piping hot bibimbap bowl, some pieces of crispy-juicy fried chicken, or all of them.
It is ok to crave for good food at all times. What to do now is to get your right fix at the right restaurants. Just allow those listed below to make a hit with you.
1. Big Mama Korean Food
The restaurant has been started as an idea of Big Mama who was a former maths and science teacher. She decided to utilize her experience in cooking Korean food to serve Korean students studying in Singapore. She has succeeded in attracting customers from different backgrounds, indeed.
- A place to have one of the best Dakgalbi in Singapore: It is hard to find a Korean restaurant serving Dakgalbi in town. Fortunately, Big Mama offers Dakgalbi as one of its two signature dishes. Tender chicken chunks, vegetables, rice cake, sweet potato, and spicy sauce are included as ingredients, pan-fried on the spot at your table. The dish is delicious to taste and entertaining to watch. And the best is to save a small portion of your Dakgalbi in the pan and add a bowl of rice (S$3) to be fried with the remaining foods. The fragrant fried rice will certainly satisfy both your palate and stomach.
- Big Mama is there for those who want to experience Korean home-style cooking: Just like mom cooks for her child and so does Big Mama. A lot of Korean students have flocked to this homely eatery to enjoy a taste of home.
- More Korean specialties on the menu: At Big Mama, you can find more than just Korean popular dishes such as grilled meats, bibimbap, and ginseng chicken soup. With around 30 items, the restaurant offers you a beautiful selection of dishes that are closer to daily local meals.
BANCHAN: There are six complimentary and refillable side dishes served at Big Mama (kimchi, spinach, crunchy lotus roots, japchae, water-chestnut cake, and ikan bilis). While all the banchan are pretty good, the standout is the kimchi.
- Dakgalbi (S$15/pax, min 2 pax)
- Suyuk ($25/$40)
- Seafood pancake (S$15)
- Grilled mackerel (S$18)
- Mandoo ramyeon (S$10)
AMBIENCE: Big Mama has a very simple interior with pictures of signature dishes pasted on the walls to inspire diners with their tantalizing colors. With the presence of Korean diners, Korean TV shows from a screen on a corner, and warm service, you will feel like dining in a cozy house of a Korean friend.
AVERAGE PRICE/PAX: S$30
LOCATION: This small casual Korean eatery is located on Kim Tian road which is walkable from Tiong Bahru MRT.
- Reservation should be made 2 days in advance.
- Only service charge applies, no GST
2. Todamgol Korean Traditional Restaurant
Todamgol is considered as a successful step of those who have run the famous Kko Kko Nara restaurant since 2008. This restaurant is a new standout in Tanjong Pagar that offers Korean BBQ as well as Korean favorites such as bibimbap, pancake, and japchae. While dinner menu stands on the high side, its lunch menu is very affordable. Diners can definitely get a delicious lunch dish at S$12.
- Dining in a traditional Korean village: On Tanjong Pagar road, if you catch sight of a Korean restaurant with rustic decoration, it would be Todamgol. The charm of climbing plants and village-related ornaments in front of the restaurant invites diners over while the cozy interior with wooden tables, old-fashioned chairs, and uniquely decorated walls makes diners feel like being in a Korean village.
- Bibimbap – one of the best in Singapore: Ingredients that set bibimbap at Todamgol apart from its counterparts are the bibimbap sauce and a large amount of seaweed in each bowl. Taste it and feel how the light sesame flavor sauce brings out the difference of your favorite dish.
- Pricey yet big: A Todamgol’s main dish costs more than other Korean eateries’, but its size will make any diners satisfied. Ranging between S$25 and S$35, Todamgol’s main courses are big enough for 3 persons to share.
- Open till 3am: Looking for a Korean restaurant for late-night dining? Todamgol is a good choice.
BANCHAN: There are about 5 to 6 banchan served at Todamgol.
- Bu Dae Ji Gae
- Beo Seot Bool Go Gi
- Seafood pancake
- Kim Chi Jun Gol
- Sam Gyub Sal
DRINKS: Korean rice wine, liquor, hot tea, Korean cold beverages, and soft drinks are served at reasonable prices.
ATMOSPHERE: Todamgol is where Korean businessmen choose to have their meals, enticing food fragrances waft in the air and Kpop music is played in the background. The main seating area is quite spacious and comfortable. Private rooms are also available for large groups.
AVERAGE PRICE/PAX: S$35
- Reservation is highly recommended.
- Some dishes are only available for lunch.
3. Jang Won Korean Restaurant
Jang Won is one of the best Korean restaurants in Chinatown. Run by a Korean family and followed by not only Korean diners but also Japaneses and locals, this restaurant is quite a find for those who prefer a touch of Korean in a less crowded environment.
- A comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for enjoying Korean food right at Chinatown: Settled in hectic Chinatown, Jang Won is a gem among various Korean restaurants in the area. You can find there a more spacious dining room, a decorating style that gives you a glimpse of the quiet countryside, and most importantly, delicious dishes.
- Kimchi jjigae – an enticing dish: This kimchi soup is highly recommended among food bloggers. With S$14, you will have a big, red, hot soup bowl with kimchi, tofu, and thinly sliced pork. Its color is enticing and its taste is a highway to heaven.
- Private room available: Jang Won offers a private room suitable for a group of 15 people.
BANCHAN: Jang Won’s banchan menu is regularly rotated so you will have chances to taste different sets of banchan. Normally, there are 6 banchan served, which are complementary and refillable.
- Kimchi chigae (kimchi soup)
- So galbi (short pork rib)
- Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly)
- Korean ginseng chicken soup
- Kimchi pancake
AVERAGE PRICE/PAX: S$25
- Buses: 51, 63, 124, 174, 174E, 186, 851, 961, 961# and 970 (Walk 2 mins from bus stop B05131)
- Nearest MRT station: Chinatown MRT (NE4) (Walk 1 min from Exit A)
4. Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant
Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant is one of the most well known Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore. As its name would suggest, the restaurant is specialized in serving high-quality BBQ dishes at affordable prices. Besides, a good selection of Korean favorites such as pancakes is also on offer.
- It is a real charcoal BBQ: This sets Wang Dae Bak apart from others. Grill prime rib and pork belly over the charcoal fire; you will know how special and flavorful they are.
- Free flow of egg BBQ: It sounds strange but is quite a highlight at Wang Dae Bak. Egg mix is poured around the side of the barbeque pan and what you need to do is wait until it turns fluffy. Half-cooked or well done are both awesome and wonderfully, it is free.
- Huge size pancakes for sharing and filling: Served on bamboo-woven trays, Wang Dae Bak’s pancakes are really impressive with their huge portion and generous ingredients. If your pancake turns cold, grill it over the charcoal fire to taste it crispy until the last piece.
BANCHAN: There are 5 complimentary and refillable banchan served at Wang Dae Bak.
- Prime rib
- Spicy pork belly
- Marinated chicken
- Kimchi pancake
- Seafood pancake
- Spicy seafood tofu soup
- Budae jjigae
ATMOSPHERE: Wang Dae Bak at China Square is much more spacious and convivial than its sister restaurant at Amoy street. During dinner time, it is packed with Koreans, Japaneses, and locals enjoying BBQ with soju. It is such an inspiring scene for anyone to start his order.
AVERAGE PRICE/PAX: S$33
- Reservation is highly recommended.
- Free barley tea is served.
- Each table is required to order at least 2 servings of meat.
- Charcoal BBQ pans are only available at dinner time. Korean-style hotplates are used at lunchtime instead.
5. Ssikkek BBQ
If you are meat eaters, you can devour this rich protein flavor for your daily meals. Whenever you feel like having meat for lunch or dinner, head yourself to Ssikkek BBQ, it certainly satisfies your needs.
- Food paradise for meat eaters: Fresh and well-marinated beef, pork, and chicken are always full in deep trays for a meat paradise experience. The Ssikkek-style marinated meats reveal true Korean flavors while the non-marinated meats are available for you to jazz them up with your own recipes before letting them be grilled on the pan.
- Wide variety of food: Catching your eyes with an array of dishes at the uncooked and cooked food sections, Ssikkek offers a wide food selection for your BBQ party. You can enjoy bacon, sausages, seafood, and side dishes between your meat helpings.
- Reasonably-priced lunch buffet: With $14, we can have a lunch buffet with unlimited helpings of meats (beef, pork, and chicken) and an array of cooked items. Salad greens and condiments are also available for you to balance out your meal.
BANCHAN: Kimchi, potato salads, seasoned ikan bilis, fried glass noodles, seaweed soup, and many more delicious hot and cold dishes are displayed in huge trays for you to get with no limit.
- Kimchi soup
- Rice cakes
- Pork belly
- Monday to Friday: $14.00+ (lunch), $24.00+ (dinner)
- Saturday and Sunday: $22.00+ (lunch), $24.00+ (dinner)
ATMOSPHERE: Simple setting with attracting K-pop performances shown on TV.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Friend gathering
TO BE CONSIDERED:
- Service: As a budget Korean BBQ restaurant, you are your own chef who takes food from the trays and grill it until it is perfect for your taste. There is no personalized service but the staff will offer help if required.
- Long queue: Attractive to the young, Ssikkek is always packed. The queuing time may range from half an hour to one hour.
- The heat: Entering the restaurant, you will immediately feel the heat just because you are in a BBQ restaurant with gas BBQ grills on every table.
TIP: Reservation must be done and you are advised to come on time; otherwise, your reservation will be canceled and you have to queue.
6. 2D1N Soju Bang Korean Restaurant
If you love authentic Korean BBQ flavors, 2D1N Soju Bang Korean Restaurant is an ideal place for you. Located at Tanjong Pagar, known as Korean food road, 2D1N Soju Bang offers delicious BBQ at reasonable prices.
- Cheap prices: At S$20+ per pax, diners can get a free flow of meats, seafood, vegetables, cooked foods, fruits, and drinks.
- Authentic Korean food: Budget food but good quality. Well-marinated and fresh vegetables complement each other to bring you the true Korean flavors.
SERVICE: The aluminum sheet on the grill will be frequently replaced by the attentive staff. No matter how busy it is, tables are cleared quickly to cater to diners’ needs.
ATMOSPHERE: Two dining areas of 2D1N Soju Bang cater to different needs of diners: The downstairs area serves a la carte menu while the upstairs area available for buffet. In its smoky environment, there are Korean pop songs in the air and Seoul cityscape pictures on the wall. Febreze is provided at a door for diners to use before hitting the streets.
TO BE CONSIDERED:
- Long Queue: It takes half an hour to one hour to queue for a table at 2D1N Soju Bang. Chairs are provided outside for diners to rest on while waiting.
- Side dishes: The selection of side dishes is limited as meat is the main focus of 2D1N Soju Bang.
- Friends gathering
- Family outing
- Reservation is not accepted at 2D1N Soju Bang, so come early at around 17:15 to avoid long queues.
- For those who walk from MRT, it is nearer to walk from Chinatown than Tanjong Pagar station to 2D1N Soju Bang.
AVERAGE PRICE PER PAX: $20
7. K.COOK Korean BBQ Buffet
K.COOK Korean BBQ Buffet is a place to head to when one has a sudden craving for Korean BBQ while being in Orchard. Yes, it is convenient. But more than that are its cheap prices, good service, and delicious food, all make up a worth-visiting restaurant.
- Well-stocked buffet areas with a good spread of meats: All one needs for a satisfying Korean BBQ meal is available – cooked food, pickles, marinated and non-marinated meats, seafood, fruits, desserts, and soft drinks. Big meat eaters can make your pick from the pork belly, beef short rib, beef bulgogi, chicken sausages, squid, prawn, and much more.
- Value for money weekday lunch buffets: The prices are very affordable and among the cheapest in Singapore for a Korean BBQ buffet! With lunch at just $14.90+ per pax, you will definitely get the bang for your buck at K Cook. Check out their Facebook page for regularly updated promotions, such as the 4-come-and-pay-3 promotion.
- Korean BBQ with a view: Located on the 7th floor of Orchard Central, K Cook dining areas, including an air-conditioned room and an open-air area, serve diners with a nice view of Orchard Road. It seems a small spend for a little luxury.
- Spicy Chicken
- Pork Belly
- Lunch $14.90++
- Dinner $24.90++
- An additional charge of $ 2 applies on weekends and public holidays
8. 8 Korean BBQ
Located at The Central in Clarke Quay, 8 Korean BBQ is a convenient spot for office workers to get bibimbap for lunch or party-goers to enjoy a hearty meal of grilled meat before hitting the clubs in Clarke Quay.
- Premium BBQ meats: Unlike other BBQ restaurants in town that place the focus on the variety of meats, 8 Korean BBQ shines a light on the quality. Its a la carte style menu features premium meat options, from Mangalitza pork to Japanese Wagyu, Argentinian Grass Fed, and USDA Prime beef. This is good for when you want to treat your taste buds to something special.
- Pork belly in 8 different flavors: Among the meats grilling on the hot BBQ plate, pork belly is always the most awaited. If you are a fan of this melt-in-the-mouth food, give the 8 Colours Set a try to taste pork belly in 8 different styles (original, wine, ginseng, garlic, curry, herb, miso, and red pepper paste) at a time. The price is not cheap ($98/set), so save it for a special occasion.
- Addictive Makgeolli: Sweet rice wine to complement the grilled meat, can anything be better than this? The good news is that 8 Korean BBQ has really good Makgeolli on offer. Don’t miss out on trying their Yuza Makgeolli and Honey Makgeolli, which are so delicious and refreshing.
- Pickled Daikon Radish
- Pickled Daikon Radish In Soy Sauce & Chili
- Soy Bean Sprouts
- Pickled Cucumber
- Potato Egg Salad
- Boiled Spinach
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Kimchi fried rice ($8)
- Ginseng Black Chicken soup
- Yucha Makgeolli ($35)
- Bibimbap bingsu ($28)
AVERAGE PRICE PER PAX: $50
9. Chicken Up
If you want to unwind with friends at a Korean fried chicken place, head yourselves to Chicken Up on Tanjong Pagar road. For first-timers who may ask "why we have to pay high prices just for fried chicken widely found in town?' the answer is its excellent flavors and generous portions.
- Fabulous chicken: At Chicken Up, the not-too-greasy, crunchy chicken skin and succulent, tender meat are what make the dish. Served piping hot on your table, Chicken Up’s crispy and lean version always makes people want more.
- Wide variety of fried chicken: Yes, it is the true world of fried chickens with the presence of many attractive names like Spicy Up Chicken, Mild Up, Curry Up, YangNyum, Soya Chicken, Andong Stew, Popcorn Chicken, and Suicide chicken. Each of them has unique and tasty flavors that will certainly change your minds about fried chicken.
- Chicken buffet: Available at $25 for all-you-can-eat chicken and additional $15 for all-you-can-drink beer. Chicken and beer lovers, this is one of your places.
- Spicy Up
- Popcorn chicken
- Andong Stew
- Soya Chicken
- Ginseng chicken soup
SIDE DISHES: Complimentary salad and pickles are promptly served after being seated. Fishcake soup, cheese corn, and truffle fries are featured side dishes complementing well with fried chicken and the beers.
BEVERAGES: Popular Korean drinks like Hite, Soju, Asahi, and Maggoli are available.
ATMOSPHERE: Chicken Up is a cozy restaurant, offering diners two dining areas – indoor air-conditioned seating and an alfresco outdoor venue. In nice weather evenings, outdoor seating with a vibrant street view is an ideal place to chill out. The indoor area is adorned with the displayed beers and soju and made lively by Korean MTVs shown on a big screen.
OPENING HOURS: Opened as late as 2 am, Chicken Up offers chicken lovers the choice of having their favorites for either dinner or supper.
AVG PRICE/PAX: $25
10. Kko Kko Nara Korean Restaurant
With the smooth vibe of Korean native language, diners at Kko Kko Nara Korean Restaurant will enjoy a delicious chicken plate with a feel of Korea. Unlike fast food places, Kko Kko Nara offers tasty fried chicken in a laid-back atmosphere.
- Fried chicken in a pub-alike venue: Looking like a pub with a bar counter, cushion seats, dim light, and K-pop music playing in the background, Kko Kko Nara provides diners a relaxing environment to enjoy Korean fried chicken to the heart's content.
- A late-night spot for fried chicken: Open till 3 am, this located-on-Korean-street restaurant is a place to have delicious fried chicken and soju for your big supper.
FRIED CHICKEN FLAVORS: There are four different flavors on offer: original, soy garlic sauce, sweet & spicy, and hot & spicy. Combo set is a wise choice for those who want to have a mixed plate of all four flavors.
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Kimchi chigae
- Spicy Korean Ramen
PRICE RANGE: $15 – $30
- Reservations are advised for large groups or at dinner time.
- Less cost if you have Kko Kko Nara’s dishes at lunchtime as dinners with at least $5 plus per dish are differently priced
- Side dishes are non-refillable.
- Some main dishes like Bibimbap, Bulgogi are not available at night.
- Buses: 80 and 145 (Walk 2 mins from bus stop B05421)
- Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15) (Walk 3 mins from Exit A)