20 Popular Korean Restaurants & Cafes That Arrived In Singapore. The Year Of K-Food

20 Popular Korean Restaurants & Cafes That Arrived In Singapore. The Year Of K-Food

Korean BBQ, bingsu, Andong Jjimdak, Korean fried chicken, churros, softserve, candy floss coffee … the Korean wave is reaching us strong and fierce all right.

Some sumptuously tasty, some just pure photogenic. These are 20 Korean famous food brands that reached Singapore, most brought in by a franchise model.

My friend had a rude shock when he learnt that 4 Fingers is not a Korean brand “WHAT?!”, and interesting to note that most of the Korean Bingsu shop in Singapore are operated by Koreans who stay and work here, or local (not so much of a franchise model).

20 Popular Korean Restaurants & Cafes That Arrived In Singapore. The Year Of K-Food

Masizzim Singapore
313 Somerset #B3-02 (next to Chir Chir) 313 Orchard Rd Singapore 238895 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6509 5808
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (last order 9:30pm), 11am – 11pm (last order 10:30pm)

Masizzim (pronounced ma-see-zim, hard to spell, I know) is the combination of two Korean words – ‘masi’ which is short for ‘delicious’ and ‘jjim’ for stew.

The hip casual restaurant serves modern dishes at quite affordable rates friendly to the pocket. Expect signature stews, rice balls, pancakes and kimchi fried rice. Great for group outings. (Read: Masizzim Singapore 313 Somerset)

Andong Zzimdak
Raffles City Shopping Centre B1-44F, 252 North Bridge Road Singapore 179103 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6533 3951
Opening Hours: 11.30 am – 10 pm Daily

THIS IS HUGE, and SPICY. Please get some friends to share. Andong Jjimdak (the dish) is a seasoned and simmered chicken dish that originated in Gyeongsangbukdo, Andong. You may have seen Andong Zzimdak (the restaurant brand) at Myeong-dong where there are several other competing shops.

This popular Korean dish consists of chopped chicken parts, potatoes, onions, vegetables and sweet potato noodles, mixed with a spicy soy-based sauce and then simmered. Fresh green chili pepper called “Cheongyang gochu” is added to provide that distinct spiciness. (Read: Andong Zzimdak Raffles City)

Vatos Urban Tacos
36 Beach Road Singapore 189767
Tel: +65 6385 6010
Opening Hours: 11:30 – 11pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30pm – 1pm

When one thinks of Korean cuisine, Kimchi Carnitas Fries and Tacos rarely come to mind, unless you are talking about Korean restaurant chain Vatos Urban Tacos. It was once termed by CNN as “the hottest new restaurant in Seoul”.

Other than the Kimchi Carnitas Fries, other recommended items include Galbi Short Rib Tacos (marinated short rib, ssamjang aioli, Asian slaw, cilantro, chopped onions, and roasted sesame seeds on a handmade tortilla) and Mango Prawn Quesadillas (chipotle marinated prawn flash fried and topped with cilantro lime crema and fresh mango salsa).

Banana Tree Singapore
26 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089133
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues-Sat), 12pm – 7pm (Sun), Closed Mon

The arrival of this café has excited Korean pop culture lovers, café hoppers and food instagrammers, because it is THE Banana Tree café.

The South Korean café chain is popular for its banana theme decorations, yellow and white clean look, and pretty potted plant desserts. This is one of those days that you have coffee with cotton candy. How can? But works for pictures. Chio mah! (Read: Banana Tree Keong Siak)

Caffebene Singapore
Vivocity, 1 Harbourfront Walk #02-150 Singapore 098585 (between TCC and Sushi Tei)
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

The popular Caffebene, voted the best coffee brand in Korea has opened its first Singapore outlet at Vivocity.

Similar to other outlets around the world, there is that iconic Caffebene clock, indoor tree and a vintage touch in its interior. (Read: Caffebene Singapore Vivocity)

Paris Baguette Singapore
JEM #02-20, Tampines Mall #01-32, Bugis Junction B1-24/25, One Raffles Place basement, Changi Airport T2 Level 1 Public Area.

If you are thinking this is some French brand, nope. This chain is actually the top Korean bakery, receiving “constant love” for its freshly baked bread, cakes, sandwiches, desserts and brunch items.

It has over 3500 stores in Korea, US and China. None in Paris though.

The cakes we try – a strawberry cream Mille-Feuille, cute Wahaha Chocolate Cake, and Peach Tart (between $6.50 and $8.50), are pretty to look at, but not so pretty to eat. Some dry, some lacking that delicate touch. (Read: Paris Baguette Wisma Atria)

Tom N Toms
12 Gopeng Street #01-12 Icon Village Singapore 078877
Tel: +65 6225 6313

Tom N Toms 탐엔탐스커피 must be one of Korean’s largest café chains that can found internationally. It is also one of the earliest Korean café to set food in Singapore. Remember the ones at Far East Plaza and Vivocity? Unfortunately, the Korean fever was not waving that hard then.

Munch on toast, pretzels, pastries and bingsu – with flavours of Green Tea and Red Bean ($11.90), Mango ($10.90), Taro ($9.90), Yogurt Cheesecake ($12.90) and Milk Tea ($10.90). A favourite venue for CBD executive and groups of students for discussions and book-mugging. Free WIFI and quiet sitting area.

Churro101 Singapore
201 Victoria Street #04-01 Bugis Plus Singapore 188067 (Bugis MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily

Churro101 has gained a huge fan base since its opening in 2011. Some of its fans include top K-pop groups likes Girls’ Generation, F(x), Miss A and Girls’ Days.

They say their churros are “Better than a boyfriend”. Whatever that means. The shop has adopted a show kitchen concept where people get to see how the churros are being prepared, making the process more visual and engaging. Long queues during opening days. Not anymore. (Read: Churro101 Bugis Plus)

Mr Churro
ION Orchard #B4-61, 2 Orchard Turn Singapore 238801 (Orchard MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

With a total of 18 outlets in Korea, Mr Churro calls itself “an artisanal churros kiosk producing delectable churros with the best ingredients”, now opened as a takeaway kiosk at Orchard ION Basement 4.

The churros come in many different shapes, some in over-the-top fashion – curved, lengthy, or a few sticking out of a softserve cup. As if just one is not enough. (Read: Mr Churro Singapore ION Orchard)

The Cathay #01-03, Velocity Novena #01-19, The Star Vista #B1-06, Bugis Juntion #B1-K3, Tampines 1 #B1-K17, Jurong IMM #01-K06, Jurong Point #B1 – 27

The Korean organic soft serve ice cream. Milk Cow’s soft serves are made from organic milk from grass-fed cow free of preservatives.

The popular flavours include the Milk Cube ($5.90) added with organic natural honey comb, Snow Drop ($5.90) which has an instagram-worthy cotton candy topping (which really ranges in portion), Milky Shot ($6.50) with a single shot of espresso, and Mocao Dream ($6.50) with handcrafted macaron and almond flakes. Warning: Melts super fast in this weather, even inside the malls. (Read: Milk Cow The Cathay)

Sweet Monster Singapore
Plaza Singapura, #B2-49, Singapore 238839 (Dhoby Ghaut MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

Korean franchise Sweet Monster ate its way into Singapore, known for its softserve covered with crispy popcorn, and landed a spot at Plaza Singapura as a takeaway kiosk.

Their signature Mix Flavour Popcorn Ice Cream ($6.80) comes with both cheese and caramel flavoured popcorns. Only available in one cup size (highly recommended for sharing because it is very sweet), the height of the ice cream could vary depending on the skill of the scooper. (The popcorn a bit lao long). (Read: Sweet Monster Plaza Singapura)

Vons Chicken
321 Clementi, 321 Clementi Avenue 3, #02- 09, Singapore 129905 (Clementi MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

Popular Korean Fried Chicken, Vons Chicken, with more than 150 outlets worldwide (USA, China, Australia etc) since 1989 had opened their first outlet in Singapore at 321 Clementi Ave 3. The signature dish is their 4pcs Golden Wings – Soy Garlic ($5.40), only available as a fried option.

You can get the other flavours in 2 forms – Fried or Oven Roasted in options of 4pcs Wings & Drums ($5.40), 5 pcs Boneless ($5.90) and 2pcs Drumsticks ($7.20). Set meals with regular fries and drinks at an additional $2.50. Very value-for-money. (Read: Vons Chicken Clementi)

Chir Chir 치르치르
[email protected] #B3-04/05/06, Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon-Thurs, Sun), 11am – 11pm (Fri-Sat)

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory is a popular Korean restaurant chain specialising in deep fried Korean style chicken and other freshly cooked chicken dishes such as Spicy BBQ Roasted Chicken, Garlic Roasted Chicken and Crispy Fried Tenders.

Not forgetting the Snow Nest with deep fried chicken tenders swimming in a pool of rich creamy white sauce, a scoop of sweet salad hidden below. Diet plans have to step aside. (Read: Chir Chir 313 @ Somerset)

NeNe Chicken
*Scape 2 Orchard Link #02-39 Singapore 237978
Tel: +65 6509 0907
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm, last order 9:15pm daily (Mon-Thurs, Sun), 11am – 11pm last order 10:15pm (Fri, Sat)
Other branches at Star Vista, Bedok Mall, The Seletar Mall, Eastpoint Mall, Hougang Mall

I know everyone kind of jokes about their popcorn chicken – The NeNe Pop. Like, “Can I have two Nene Pops, please” can sound so wrong.

What I liked about NeNe was that despite the chicken being coated with rich sauce, the skin and batter still remains rather crisp. Though sometimes I had disappointing ones – mid-soggy and not so piping hot as it should had been. (Read: NeNe Chicken Scape)

Bonchon Chicken 본촌치킨
201 Victoria Street, #01-11 Bugis+ (former Illuma, opposite Bugis MRT), Singapore 188067, Tel: +65 6884 4768
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 11:0pm

Bonchon Chicken is enjoying greater fame overseas than our Singapore unit. Unfortunately. Service (or the lack of) and long waiting times were its greatest liability here.

Their chicken is deep fried twice – so the skin becomes crunchier and the meat less greasy when compared to the usual American fast food fried chicken. It feels kind of pricey though.

The skin comes off in pieces, with the sauces nicely enveloping it. The meat not quite like the usual, is tasty and not too oily. Plus point, it didn’t leave much of a stain on your fingers even if we used hands directly.

VivoCity, #02-123/124, 1 Harbourfront Avenue, Singapore 098585. Tel: +65 6376 8268
The Star Vista, #02-24, 1 Vista Exchange Green, Singapore 138617. Tel: +65 6694 4696
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10.00pm Daily

This is Korea’s leading BBQ restaurant, led by famous celebrity chef Jon Won Paik, and this restaurant franchise has more than 30 outlets across Korea, the US, China and Indonesia.

Chef Jon Won Paik wanted to create a new style of BBQ meat that could retain the natural colours and taste, unlike many other Korean style meat which are dark in colour due to over marinating. The result is the signature and patented Woo Sam Gyup – thinly sliced beef brisket dressed a special sauce. Like it, but expensive. (Read: Bornga Vivocity)

Yoogane Singapore
200 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction #02-47/48 Singapore 188021 (Bugis MRT)
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm

Yoogane (요가네 pronounced yoo-ga-nay is a chicken galbi restaurant from Busan Korea. It is established in 1981, is quite a famous ‘Dakgalbi’ restaurant back home – selling tender chicken meat in a spicy sauce marinate.

Fans who braved queues said that it tasted almost the same, just perhaps less in portions to the Korean counterpart. (Read: Yoogane Singapore Bugis Junction)

NEUE B2-53 Capitol Piazza, 15 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906
Tel: +65 6384 1020

J-Story is better known as Juk Story back home, known for its Teuk Jeonbok Juk (Rice Porridge with Abalone).

Other than 8 types of porridge sold, including Abalone ($12.90), Ginseng & Chicken ($8.90), Crab ($12.90), and Mushroom & Vegetable ($8.90), the ‘health’ element is not too apparent on the menu. (Read: J-Story Capitol Piazza)

Chef’s Noodle
Habourfront Centre, 1 Maritime Square, #01-99/100, Singapore 099253 (Harbourfront MRT)
Tel: +65 6271 3033
Jurong Point Shopping Centre, 63 Jurong West Central 3, #B1-45/46, Singapore 648331 (Boon Lay MRT)
Tel: +65 6686 3108
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm

The food is modernised by Korean Celebrity Chef Choi In Sun (sorry but I do not know who he is), known for his Korean food show “The Starking Series” and fedora hats. The signature is a Chef’s Guksoo which is kind of ramyun meets ramen, yet with its own unique quality.

The broth is an off-white light savoury- sweet flavoured beef broth, spicy but not the type of intense Korean-spicy you would have otherwise expected, and topped with stewed pork bulgogi, vegetables, and a signature rectangular egg-roll. Which is really like the sweet Japanese tamago found on sushi. (Read: Chef’s Noodle Harbourfront)

252 North Bridge Road, #B1-74 Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6336 4745
Suntec City Mall #B1-107, 3 Temasek Boulevard Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 65 6338 5809

The brand “Bibigo” is a Korean-English portmanteau from Korean bi-bi-da, to mix, and English, to-go, serving modern Korean dishes.

They are known for their Hot Stone Bibimbap, Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Stew) and Mandoo (Dumplings) – tasting healthier than the usual Korean restaurants though. You may have seen a PSY standee outside their restaurant.

What is your favourite? And which brand do you hope to see come to our sunny shores?
Other Related Entries
34 Places To Get Korean Bingsu In Singapore
10 Best Korean Cafes In Singapore
16 Best Korean Fried Chicken In Singapore
Masizzim Singapore (313 Somerset)
Vons Chicken (Clementi)

* Compiled by Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary . Photos partly by Nicholas Tan @stormscape.

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  1. I hope to see Lotteria opens a new branch in SG!

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