Food Travels In SG (Part 1): Korean

Chow down on world-class fare from around the world without booking a first-class seat.

By Chris Ong        19 November 2021

So, here’s the year-end conundrum for all you travellers-slash-foodies: To holiday overseas to eat, or not to travel out of our isle, at all?

Luckily, there’s a convenient solution – Don’t zao (Hokkien for “run”) town; stay and chow down. If, somehow you are unable or hesitant to take advantage of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to head out of this country to another, you can still partake in all kinds of glorious foods, right here in Singapore.

Let us introduce you to some top dining spots in Singapore serving up delish cuisines – like Korean, Mexican, Thai and Japanese – that will help let you travel the globe via great eats.

So, sit back for Part 1 of our food series, fasten your seat belt (while loosening the one around your waist), and read all about these 4 restaurants dishing out Korean fare that’s massinneun (Korean for “yummy”) enough to make your own mukbang Insta Reels of.

(And, look out for more from this series, where we cover places offering Mexican, Thai and Japanese dishes!)

1. Huluruk Myeon House

Photo: Huluruk Myeon House

There’s a melancholic K-drama behind the soul-warming recipes of this myeon (noodles) soup biz. Started by Halmuni (Grandmother) Song and Harabuji (Grandfather) Park in 1945 after he returned from World War II, the duo lived the hard life serving up their very own version of this soup noodle dish.

After Harabuji Park had passed away in an accident in the late 80s, Halmuni Song was too heartbroken to continue the business; she and the family would only prepare 3 main courses and a side dish on her hubby’s death anniversary.

Fast-forward to today: With help from Halmuni Song’s granddaughter, the matron has now given her approval for the rest of the world to have a taste of her unique myeon soup. And, the rest, as they say, is (a happy foodie) history.

Photo: Huluruk Myeon House

Must-chows: Naturally, it would be the signature noodle soups. The Chef’s Choice is the Signature 3 Treasure ($15.80) that comes with prawns, pork dumplings, prawn paste balls, cabbage and seaweed in a rich seafood-y broth. You can choose kalguksu (knife noodles), sujebi (flat noodles) or even bap (rice) as the main carbs to go with.

But, if you aren’t in the mood for soup, don’t worry, the restaurant offers a whole feast of authentic Korean food. Just a brief description of the range: Jjajang Myeon black bean sauce noodles; various Volcano Fried Rice and Bibimbap rice dishes; Korean Steam Dumplings; Army Stews; and on, and on (various prices; from $6.50 and up). Halmuni Song (and the late Harabuji Park) would be so proud.

238 Thomson Road, Velocity@Novena Square, #01-84/85, 307683; and 9 Bishan Place, Junction 8, #01-40, 579837; https://hulurukmyeonhouse.oddle.me/en_SGwww.facebook.com/huluruk.sg; www.instagram.com/huluruk.sg

BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy 10% off their dining-in or takeaway bill at Huluruk Myeon House. Click here for more information.

2. Captain K Seafood Tower

Photo: Captain K Seafood Tower

Love seafood? Crazy over Korean fare? Here’s your hero resto to save your gastronomic day. Claimed to be “Singapore’s first, and No.1, Korean seafood tower & hot pot”, this TripAdvisor award-winning former hole-in-the-wall establishment offers exactly that: stacked metal trays of fresh quality seafood, cooked and steamed with a flavoured soup base, layer by layer.

Must-chows: Before we dive in, let’s clear some things up. While the seafood is globally sourced (for example, king crab from Chile, blue mussels from Canada, and bamboo clams and oysters from the U,K.), the preparation’s Korean-style.

For the seafood tower (from $52.90 and up), you get 3 options – 3, 5 or 7 tiers (the 9-tier is on hold because of current dining restrictions), starring catches based on seasonal availability.

Photo: Captain K Seafood Tower

Expect to see steamed half-shell scallops marinated in garlic and Japanese stuffed squid, served with dips and sauces such as Thai green chilli sauce and yuzu doenjang sauce. For the base broth to go with, request for the Ginseng Chicken soup for a true “K-soup” experience.

If you have the “hots” for hotpot instead, choose from the 8 soup bases that include Korean Kimchi and the Japanese pearl rice congee cleverly called Captain’s Kongee, before picking all your usual suspects of meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles (various prices, depending on soup and ingredient selection).

Or pick from its value set lunch menu that includes dishes such as Cheesy Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice and the traditional kelp broth-based Dashima Seafood Bee Hoon (both $14.80) that come with a set of banchan (vege side dish), miyeok guk (Korean seaweed soup) and barley tea.

112 Middle Road, Midland House, #01-00A, 188970, www.captaink.sg; www.facebook.com/captainkseafoodtower; www.instagram.com/captainksg

3. The Boneless Kitchen

Photo: The Boneless Chicken

Supposedly SG’s first vegetarian Korean restaurant, The Boneless Kitchen – along with its sister resto Daehwa – is all about doing good ever since it was founded in 2014.

It is a social enterprise with people with special needs in its employ; promotes conscious eating by crafting recipes using plant-based ingredients; and serves to cater to both vegetarians and Korean food lovers by providing yummy meatless dishes inspired by Korean cuisine that are made from scratch.

This food biz that does good does deserve your support then.

Must-chows: While it may be nice to give it your unreserved patronage, one can’t order everything. But you sure can try them all, one at a time.

For mains, select the full-on Kimbap Dosirak ($23) that comes with tteokbokki with odeng, egg and cheese, mesclun with sesame sauce, potato salad, baechu kimchi, and more.

Photo: The Boneless Chicken

Other top choices: its Korean Curry Rice that comes with an Aubergine Cutlet ($14) or Soondubu Jjigae, a spicy soft tofu soup with rice ($14).

If you are just feeling peckish (or conversely, ravenous), order up sides such as Kimchi Bulgogi Fries ($13), Kimchi Mandu dumplings ($8) and Odeng Bokkeum or spicy stir fried fish cake ($11) to complete your day.

All prices stated are off The Boneless Kitchen’s delivery menu; order here. 1 Irving Place, The Commerze @ Irving, #01-32, 369546, http://thebonelesskitchen.com; www.facebook.com/thebonelesskitchen; www.instagram.com/thebonelesskitchen 

4. Bonchon

Photo: Bonchon

When we speak of Korean food, how can we not talk about KFC? Korean fried chicken, that is. And, why do we recommend Korean chain Bonchon?

Because it’s a tried and trusted name in both Korea and Singapore, with the hand-battered trans-fat-free chicken meat fried to crispy perfection using its founder Jinduk Seo’s special double frying method, and its sauces, authentically made in Busan, Korea.

Plus, the franchise just opened a new outlet in the heart of Orchard Road earlier this year so shoppers can fuel up on gratifyingly greasy wings easily.

Photo: Bonchon

Must-chows: One must have crossed the (Orchard) road for the chicken, of course. Pick whole chicken parts, boneless or wings (from $9.50 and up), choose your portions (small to large) and decide between the savoury Soy Garlic sauce or sweet and smoky Spicy Sauce (this one’s got kick). Then wait 15 to 20 minutes for your glazed, guilty pleasures to arrive (they’re all made to order).

Want more than just fried fowl? Then order some Luncheon Meat Fries ($9.90) or Truffle Fries With Snowy Cheese ($9.90) as side accompaniments.

If not, pick an entirely different meal in the form of its Korean Stews (from $15.90); East-meets-West creations like the Truffle Cream Tteokbokki ($16.50) and Bonchon Sliders (from $9.90); or noodle dishes such as its legendary Nuclear Dry Spicy Ramyeon ($12.90).

Cool off with any of its sodas and fruit drinks (from $2.50 and up) if you can’t take the heat.

Multiple locations, including 435 Orchard Road, Wisma Atria, #01-37/38, 238877, https://bonchon.sg; www.facebook.com/pg/bonchonsg; www.instagram.com/bonchonsg