As well as BBQ, bibimbap and hot pot, these restaurants serve unusual and authentic Korean food you can’t find anywhere else in Singapore.
We love everything Korean these days, from K-pop music to desserts and snacks like fried chicken – sinful but oh-so-delicious! Korean restaurants Arehave sprung up all over Singapore, but it can still be hard to tell what’s authentic, and what’s just generally Asian food with a Korean twist — so we’ve done the work for you. Here are great Korean eateries in Singapore that give you a lot more to discover than just kimchi and bibimbap.
1. Paik’s Bibim
If bibimbap is your favourite authentic Korean food, Paik’s Bibim is the place to go in Singapore. This restaurant chain is the brainchild of Jong Won Paik, one of the most successful celebrity chefs in Korea. You’ll find several modern interpretations of the traditional bibimbap ($7.50+), all served with a hearty serving of fresh vegetables.
And, if you prefer noodles to rice, fans love Paik’s Bibim Warm Noodles with Soy Sauce ($8), which is packed with savoury minced meat and lots of fresh vegetables.
Address: Bedok Mall, 311 New Upper Changi Rd., #01-95, 467360 / Citylink Mall, One Raffles Link, Raffles Link, #B1-19B, 039393 / VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #02-125, 098585
Tel: 6844 9628 / 6238 1681 / 6377 0696
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily) / 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily) / 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Daily)
2. Wang Dae Bak
Stepping into this BBQ restaurant will make you feel like you’ve travelled to a cosy corner of Seoul. It harks back to the days when people used to meet to eat, drink and talk! Wang Dae Bak aims to serve authentic Korean food in Singapore, and remind diners of that communal spirit that brought friends and family together. This means they do things in a way that feels slightly vintage. For example, real charocoal is also used for the BBQ, which adds a depth of flavour to the meal.
Take your pick from a variety of marinated and non-marinated meats – only high-quality meats are served here – or you can go for the set menus. Other items include Kim Chi Pancake ($21), Ginseng Chicken Soup ($16), Korean-style Instant Noodle ($11) and Spicy Chicken Stew ($16).
Wang Dae Bak
Address: 22 Cross St., #01-64, 048421 / 93 Amoy St., 069913
Tel: 6225 2646 / 6220 0322
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Daily) / 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
3. Bigmama Korean Restaurant
Candy Namgung Ji Young is a former tutor who spent years cooking for her Korean students studying in Singapore, then decided to open her own restaurant in 2012, serving authentic Korean food with a homemade taste. The menu at her Tiong Bahru eatery is filled with homestyle dishes made the ‘bigmama’ way, using her mum’s own Korean recipes. The no-frills look of the restaurant gives it an authentic, ‘homely’ look which definitely adds to its charm! Some specialties here are suyuk (steamed pork belly) and dakgalbi (pan-fried chicken), which isn’t served in many other Korean restaurants in Singapore.
If you’ve ever dined at someone’s home in Korea, you’ll appreciate the food here. Although some of the dishes have been tweaked to suit Singaporean tastes, it still tastes very authentic. It gets very busy with homesick Korean diners, so be sure to make a reservation beforehand.
Bigmama Korean Restaurant
Address: 2 Kim Tian Rd., 169244
Tel: 6270 7704
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 pm, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
4. 8 Korean BBQ
If pork is your meat of choice, 8 Korean BBQ is the place to go! It’s a full-service BBQ restaurant so servers cook the BBQ at your table, for you. All you have to do is watch, and eat – it’s authentic Korean food, but without the work.
The restaurant is famous for serving thick slices of Mangalitza pork belly, which is often referred to as ‘the Kobe beef of pork’. A rare pig of Hungarian origin, the Mangalitza is especially prized by gourmands because the meat is tasty, and healthy. It’s lower in cholesterol, with higher levels of zinc, copper, iron and oleic acid than ordinary pork. Order the 8 Colours Set ($98) and you’ll be served this pork belly in eight flavours – wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso paste and red pepper paste.
If you’re a beef aficionado instead, this restaurant also has a choice of Argentinian grass-fed, USDA prime ($42) and Japanese Wagyu beef ($88). The Korean Grilled Squid ($22) is a good choice from the seafood selection, while other popular dishes here include Army Stew ($24) and Seafood Pancake ($20).
8 Korean BBQ
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen St., #02-79/90 The Central, 059817 / 1 Scotts Rd., #04 – 20 / 21, 228208
Tel: 8692 1188 / 9018 9212
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Daily) / 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Sat. + Sun.)
5. Seoul Restaurant
Want some authentic Korean food in Singapore? This restaurant prides itself on serving modern Korean cuisine that reflects Korean culture while embracing local tastes. Go for the BBQ lunch or dinner buffet – you can choose the normal ($59) or premium buffet ($89), or one without beef ($49). Also, make sure you wipe your plates clean as a $50 fine will be charged if there is more than 100g of leftover food (yay to zero waste!). You could also choose the items you want from the a la carte menu, if you fancy having a few specific dishes.
Because it’s inside the swish Regent Hotel, this restaurant is also great for private dining or corporate dining. The traditional Hanjeongsik Course set menus are based on meals once served in royal palaces and aristocratic homes. This is fine dining in traditional Korean style, so the presentation is special. The table is covered with so many pretty dishes you almost don’t know where to start.
Address: Regent Singapore #03-02, 1 Cuscaden Rd., 249715
Tel: 6338 8548
Opening hours: 12 to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 12 to 3 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m (Sat. + Sun.)
6. Hanwoori Korean Restaurant
The Serangoon Gardens area is packed with eateries serving good food from all over the world. Hanwoori is a low-key, no-frills establishment, mostly known to people who live nearby, but it deserves to be more famous. You can choose the classic BBQ meat dishes and bibimbap, but a must-try is the Jajangmyeon ($18), a filling noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of meat and vegetables. Lunchtime is a good time to experiment as the restaurant serves up a rotating selection of good-value lunch options, at $10 nett.
Although, the most exciting attraction here is the ladyboss, who is quite a character! Pop in and experience her friendly chatter and you’ll definitely be back for more.
Hanwoori Korean Restaurant
Address: 76 Serangoon Garden Way, 555972
Tel: 8181 7225
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10 p.m. (Mon., Wed. to Sat.); 5:30 to 10 p.m. (Sun.)
7. SBCD Korean Tofu House
Tofu fans will love the variety of unusual tofu dishes here. The signature dish is Soontofu Soup ($19.90+). “Soon” means soft in Korean and this dish is made from white soybeans imported from South Korea, which are boiled and pressed for just the right soft taste and texture. The Soontofu is freshly made every day by the restaurant’s chefs, and they also prepare the 10-ingredient soup broth. It’s made from a secret recipe and left to set for a couple of days so the flavour is brought out naturally, with no artificial flavouring. Choose your spice level – mild, medium, spicy and crazy hot – then pick the Soontofu that takes your fancy, including oyster, kimchi biji, seafood, original beef and original pork.
There are other dishes to try here too, such as Grilled Chicken ($27.90), LA Galbi ($35.90) and Cockles Bibimbap ($24.90). The restaurant also serves Korean puffer fish, and claims to be the first Korean restaurant in Singapore to do so.
SBCD Korean Tofu House
Address: 7 Wallich St., Tanjong Pagar Centre, #B1 – 01/02, 078884 / 460 Alexandra Rd., #02-21 Alexandra Retail Centre, 119963 / 9 Raffles Blvd., #01-114, Millenia Walk, 039596
Tel: 6386 6441 / 6778 6441 / 6873 6441
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sat. + Sun.)
8. Captain K Seafood Tower
The Korean-style seafood tower is popular all over Singapore. How does this concept work? Steamers are packed with different types of seafood and stacked one on top of another over a base of hot soup. You eat your way down through the steamers, layer by layer, enjoying one tier of seafood at a time, topped with different sauces and condiments. The restaurant makes this easy by providing a sauce bar of condiments plus tips on what sauces go with each type of seafood, so you won’t get lost, even if it’s your first time.
But your meal is not over yet! Juices from the seafood tower drip down into the boiling soup at the bottom, so you end up with a soup base full of flavours. We suggest you order a premium soup base such as Korean Ginseng Chicken, Korean Kimchi or Korean Tomato.
You can drink the soup as it is, or turn it into an Asian hot pot meal by ordering more ingredients to boil in this soup base. And if you’re still hungry, the menu has other Korean specialties, including Garlic Pork Belly, Fried Seafood Tofu, and Captain K’s Sweet Potato Fries.
Captain K Seafood Tower
Address: 112 Middle Rd., #01-00A Midland House, 188970
Tel: 6255 5744
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. (Sun. to Thu.); 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Fri. + Sat.)
Also owned by Korean celebrity chef Jong Won Paik, this popular chain from South Korea has a couple of outlets in Singapore. The restaurant’s specialty, Woo Sam Gyup, is a must-try! It contains Chef Paik’s recipe of thinly-sliced beef, seasoned with a top-secret marinade. You can eat the juicy grilled meat by itself, or enjoy it with the accompanying spicy sauce, or eat it Korean-style, wrapped in fresh vegetables.
If you prefer to stay cool and not sit in front of a hot grill full of sizzling meat, try the Born-Ga Naeng Mun – buckwheat noodles served in an icy-cold broth, with vegetables, pear and beef slices topped with a hard-boiled egg. Although cold noodles might not be something you’re used to, this just might surprise your taste buds – in a good way.
Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk, #02-123/124, 098585
Tel: 6376 8268
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
So now you know where to go for really authentic Korean food in Singapore, ranging from mum’s home cooking to palace-style banquets. Step inside any of these Korean restaurants and you’ll feel like you are snacking in Seoul.
Originally by Balvinder Sandhu, July 2019 / Last Updated Arshi Iqbal
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