Annyeonghaseyo 안녕하세요! It is about time that hotel buffets include an element of Korea in their selection. After being bombarded constantly by Korean pop culture and PSY’s Gentlemen, I am all for having some ginseng Korean chicken and kimchi in a buffet.

Straits Café at Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore which is known for its award-winning favourites like Laksa and Popiah, has invited guest chef Kim Hyun Jung from Lotte World a “A Taste of Seoul” as part of their international buffet till 12 May 2013. (Read: Seribu Sari at Rendezvous Grand Hotel)

I was half envisaging some typical Korean favourites like Bibimbap, Bulgogi Beef, Tofu Stew, and Rice Cake – but got none of that. (So manage your expectations for that). Instead, there were some atypical but still authentically Korean dishes such as Korean Hot Spicy Chicken, Abalone Porridge, Korean Vermicelli Noodle and Beef Ribs.

This is it. The a-ju ma-si-sseo-sseo-yo delicious grilled Beef Rib has an almost perfect marinate which is slightly salty and sweet, thinly sliced with a narrow layer of fats, and so evenly grilled such that it is not overcooked. Seoul marbled, seoul delicious, it’s possible to savour a few pieces.

The Korean Ginseng Soup does not look like soup per-se as Japanese rice is added to cook, therefore the texture resembles porridge. After a spoonful, I was immediately brought back to my holiday in Jeju – this was exactly the taste I had. Not too flavourful, but yet plainer healthy-tasting with a twang of ginseng. Quick tip: add sea salt and spring onion if you prefer something more palatable to local taste.

Dessert wise, there is a selection of cinnamon, green tea or custard rice ball served with hot honey citron tea. The tea is good stuff, also feeling distinctly Korean.

My only reservation is the Korean selection could be much wider and varied, with more of the familiar favourites. If you are still hungry, just go for the local delights like the very lemak laksa – indeed one of the best around. I had two bowls.

Straits Café Buffet Time and Pricing
Buffet Lunch (12pm to 2.30pm) – Monday to Saturday: $39++ per adult
Brunch Sunday and Public Holidays (11.30am to 2.30pm) – $45++ per adult
Buffet Dinner Monday to Thursday (6.30pm to 10pm) – $47++ per adult
Friday to Sunday and eve of public holidays (6.30pm to 10pm) – $50++ per adult

Straits Café
9 Bras Basah Road Level 1 Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore (Bras Basah MRT), Tel: +65 6335 1771/7
Opening Hours: 7:00am to 10:30am (Breakfast), 12:00 noon to 2:30pm (Lunch), 6:30pm to 10:00pm (Dinner), 3:00pm to 5:30pm (High Tea on Sat, Sun & PH)

Other Hotel Buffet Entries
Plaza Brasserie Seafood (PARKROYAL on Beach Road)
10 at Claymore (Pan Pacific Orchard)
Aquamarine (Marina Mandarin)
5 Ways to Avoid Overeating at The Buffet Restaurant



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