Well you may ask, ”Isn’t all Korean BBQ about the same?” That is especially when you are doing your own cooking.
This is true to a certain extent, but a good Korean Barbecue restaurant generally has a few positive elements, such as the quality and freshness of meats, type of marinate, and value-for-money you are getting.
A couple of restaurants in Singapore may also serve up special meat cuts that no others are offering.
Other food components such as the banchan (free side dishes – some are unfortunately more stingy with them), ssamjang (spicy sauce), and free sides of steamed egg and stew play a part.
There are the other environmental factors such as whether there are inbuilt-charcoal grills into the dining table itself and a good exhaust system. You don’t want to walk out smelling like a chimney, especially when on a date.
Bonus marks for easy reservation system (some restaurants impossible to call through or you have to wait for more than an hour aimlessly), and skilled service staff volunteering to do the grilling for you (thank you very much).
Some of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore include O.BBa BBQ (63 Tanjong Pagar Road), 2D1N Soju Bang (46 Tanjong Pagar Road), Super Star K (75 Tanjong Pagar Road), Ju Shin Jung (Robertson Walk), Chang Restaurant (Dempsey), Nanta BBQ (Goldhill Centre), Kim’s Family Food (Lor Kilat), Don Dae Bak Restaurant (35 Kreta Ayer) Ssikkek Korean Grill BBQ (Oriental Plaza), I’m Kim Korean BBQ (SOTA).
And so, here are 10 more:
Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant
134 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088538
Tel: +65 6221 3001
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm (Mon – Thurs), 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 1am (Fri),
11am – 1am (Sat), 11am – 12am (Sun)
Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant is easily one of the most popular restaurants along the Tanjong Pagar stretch.
Come slightly later than 6pm, and you would have to quickly write your name on the reservation sheet, and wait for a pretty long while.
(Note: Cannot reserve via phone call, so slightly troublesome and unpredictable in that aspect. They can be pretty overwhelmed during the weekends, and I once waited 1.5 hours for a seat.)
Back to the food, it can be more value-for-money if you pick one of the BBQ Sets.
Set A ($89) comes with Prime Beef Short Ribs, Prime Beef Ribs, Marinated Prime Beef Short Ribs, and Thin Slice Beef Brisket; Set B ($55) with Fresh Pork Belly, Chicken Marinated with Soy Sauce, Marinated Pork Ribs, and Thin Sliced Pork Belly.
If not, there is the Set C ($69) with Prime Beef Ribs, Marinated Prime Beef Short Ribs, Fresh Pork Belly, and Marinated Pork Ribs.
I managed to get the attention of the Korean staff for help, and he was really experienced in grilling, cutting and recommending the sequence in eating the meals. That really enhanced the overall experience.
Particularly enjoyed the Marinated Prime Beef Short Ribs which was juicy with a good bite, and wonderfully seasoned that didn’t overwhelm the natural taste of the beef.
Bonus: the banchan were all quite tasty and varied.
Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ
Plaza Singapura #02-01 68 Orchard Road Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 9181 2709
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm Last Order 9.30pm (Sun – Thu), 11.30am – 11pm Last Order 10.30pm (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)
Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ is one of the first Korean restaurants in Singapore that offer the signature Korean galmaegisal (premium pork skirt meat).
Galmaegisal is a premium meat cut found between the ribs and the belly of the pig, an extension of the sirloin.
In meat parlance, it is known as a pork skirt or skirt meat, or the “wagyu of pork”. You get the idea. It has that perfect lean meat to fat ratio, making it a superiorly tender and juicy meat for grilling.
Before serving, the meats are carefully marinated and massaged to elevate the prized meat’s texture and taste.
When grilled, the galmaegisal takes on the exceptional characteristics of Wagyu beef. Rich in flavour, tender in texture, juicy in your mouth.
While many others use electric-grill plates for their meats, Seorae preserves the original taste of Korean BBQ with the use of quality charcoal.
Using charcoal provides that added smokiness to the taste of the barbecued meats, and yield meats which are crisp on the exterior and still juicy on the inside (as charcoal gets hotter than standard gas grills.) Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ (Plaza Singapura)
Hello Korean BBQ
46 Circular Road Singapore 049401
Tel: +65 6438 6651
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Sun)
While Tanjong Pagar is the usual area foodies hang out for Korean fare, this restaurant near Boat Quay is also known for its authentically Korean flavours and quality meats.
Catch its Unlimited BBQ Buffet available for dinner (5:30pm – 10:30pm daily) and lunch during weekends and public holidays (11:30am – 2:30pm). A minimum of 2 is required so bring along a friend.
For $29.90++, you get free-flow of meats for BBQ, such as pork collar, pork belly, boneless chicken leg, and fresh prawns.
These are conveniently grilled at your table by the staff, so you can focus on the best part – picking up the cooked pieces and popping them to your mouth.
Go for the Pork Collar, available in salted, soy or pepper marinates.
The beautiful marbling of this pork cut makes it perfect for grilling Korean-style. Due to its high level of fat, it works well on the grill and doesn’t require added oil in the marinade.
Also known as neck fillet, this meat is available in salted, soya or pepper flavours. This cut is tender enough to eat slightly pink, but you can ask the staff to grill to your preferred doneness. Hello Korean BBQ (Circular Road)
EIGHT Korean BBQ
6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #02-79/90 The Central, Singapore 059817
Tel: +65 8692 1188
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
1 Scotts Road, #04-20/21, Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208
EIGHT Korean BBQ is known for its selection of tantalising premium BBQ meats in a sleek industrial chic setting.
Other than barbecued meats of Argentinian Beef, US Prime Beef, Ohmi Wagyu and Short Ribs, also offered are seafood items of King Prawn, Atlantic salmon and Korean Grilled Squid cooked with butter; and stews such as Beef Kimchi, Pork Belly, Seafood Bean Paste and Sardine Kimchi.
One of the most popular sets would be the Flower Pork consisting of pork neck, pork jowl, and Flower Pork Belly, included with a stew of your choice. That is A LOT of food, enough to get your money’s worth.
You can choose the flavours for your Pork Belly, and my personal favourites are the Garlic and Herbs so that you can still savour the natural goodness of the sizzling meats.
Jangsu Korean BBQ
19 Teck Chye Terrace, Singapore 545725
Tel: +65 6289 4104
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Not all the good Korean BBQ restaurants are at Tanjong Pagar. Jangsu Korean BBQ can be found in the row of shophouses at Teck Chye Terrace at Serangoon.
The Korean restaurant is run by a Korean couple and Chef Park.
Accordingly, they use 100% aged meat which result in tender and juicy slices. The meats are also marinated with a secret recipe, and therefore are flavourfully seasoned.
For beef lovers, BBQ Set A ($68) contains generous portion of Beef Loin, Beef Sirloin, Beef Top Blade, along with Steamed Egg and a choice of Soup (Tofu, Soybean or Kimchi).
To get a good mix, then go for the Set C ($57) with Beef Sirloin, Pork Shoulder marinated in soy sauce, Pork Belly and Spicy Chicken.
The meats are grilled with charcoal, and if you need a little help, the friendly staff could help you with the grilling.
Bonus: the six homemade banchan were all delicious and refillable.
Supulae Korean BBQ
80 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088501
Tel: +65 6225 2248
Opening Hours: 5pm – 12am (Mon – Sun), Last Order 11pm
Supulae Korean BBQ is also a popular restaurants along Tanjong Pagar Road, and no reservations were allowed when I visited for the weekends.
The sets are straight-forward here, from a Set B ($49.90) with Pork Collar, Pork Belly and chicken Sausage; Set C ($55.80) with Marinated Pork Collar, Pork Belly and Marinated Chicken ($55.80); Set D ($59.90) with Marinated Chicken, Beef Brisket, and Marinated Beef Ribs; to Set E ($98.80) with Marinated Beef Rib, Marinated King Rib, Boneless Beef Short Rib and Beef Brisket.
The basic sets come with 7 side dishes, Steamed Egg, Soup (Kimchi / Bean Paste / Soft Tofu) and 2 portions of rice.
I must say that Supulae is quite a functional restaurant. You walk in, you get served, the food lands up the table, and the server would start cooking for you – without you asking.
Everything is like clock-work, not that there is anything bad about it, because it is efficient and no frills.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the Marinated Chicken which was chunky yet tender bite.
Perhaps it was overall lacking in that extra touch that would make the dining experience more memorable, but I think it is quite good value for the quality of meat served.
K.Cook Korean BBQ Restaurant
Orchard Central #07-01, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6884 7282
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 11:30am – 10pm (Sat – Sun)
K.Cook is an inexpensive Korean BBQ joint located at the 7th level of Orchard Central.
Affordable pricing goes by the tune of $16.90++ and up for a weekday lunch for adults.
To achieve its Korean BBQ look, it is designed with both indoor and outdoor rooftop dining spaces. You can either settle comfortably in the air-conditioned section, or dine with the natural breeze kissing your face as you grill those samgyeopsal (pork belly) and chadolbagi (beef brisket) over a view of Orchard Road.
To complete the ambiance, the outside seating area has a large screen playing K-pop music videos to entertain you.
K.Cook has started a new ‘pocha’. Pocha is an abbreviation of Korean words which translates to “Korean Street Food Wagon”. In case you get hungry, they have an ala carte menu for your bar chow.
Offerings include Korean Army Stew ($35), Korean Fried Chicken ($30), Smoked Duck and Chives Salad ($35), Spicy Stir-Fried Squid ($25) and Crispy Seafood Scallion Pancake ($25).
Try their Pork Back-Bone-Stew ($40) aka gamjatang, a traditional spicy and hearty Korean tang (stew) that combines pork bones, gamja (potatoes), and other veggies. The stock is made by boiling pork backbone for many hours to create a savoury base for the stew.
Slurp this soup with a bottle of soju on the side and dine like a true Korean.
Wang Dae Bak
98 Amoy Street Singapore 069918
Tel: +65 6226 0450
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm Last Order 2pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
22 Cross Street, #01-64 Singapore 048421
Tel: +65 6226 2646
Opening Hours: Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm Last Order 2pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Wang Dae Bak is one of the stewards when it comes to K-dining in Singapore, having been around since 2011.
It is known for its Seafood & Kimchi Pancake, Bibimbap, Korean Stews and charcoal-grill barbecue.
The plus point is that it is not difficult to reserve – online or via phone.
For small group diners, there are Couple Menus and All-In-One Sets: Set Menu A ($49) with Pork Belly, Pork Shoulder and Marinated Chicken; and Set Menu B ($49) with Marinated Prime Rib, Pork Belly, Spicy Chicken and Marinated Shoulder.
For a fuller meal, go for the Soul Meat Menu ($89 for 3 to 4 pax) features 2 Pork, 1 Chicken of your choice with Pancake and Soup (Kimchi Soup / Spicy Seafood Tofu / Seafood Bean Soup).
When it gets busy (which it normally does), you probably have to do your own grilling.
Hyang Yeon Korean Restaurant
80 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 069899
Tel: +65 6221 6368
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 3pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 11pm (Mon – Fri)
Lunch 11:30am – 3pm, Dinner 5pm – 11pm (Sat – Sun)
Chinatown Point #02-35
Tel: +65 6694 9566
BBQ Hyang Yeon is known to serve some of the best Korean cuisine in Singapore. Its extensive collection of well-loved dishes from Beef Short Ribs to Sirloin reflects the restaurant’s effort to cater to every palate.
The food and service make it suitable for families, large groups, and catching up with friends and colleagues.
As its name suggests, BBQ Hyang Yeon specialises in BBQ, Korean style. They have Pork ($69), Beef ($88), Beef & Pork ($98), Chicken ($55), and Seafood ($69) sets.
Aside from the BBQ, it also features the Yeongyang-dolsot-bap Set (Nutritious Hot Stone Pot Rice Set), a traditional Korean nutritious rice dish. What makes this so flavourful are the more than 10 ingredients that go with it, including chestnuts, mushroom, jujube, walnut and ginkgo nut.
A popular way of enjoying this dish it to scrape the crusted rice and make it into a nurungji, a fragrant crusted rice porridge, in the hot stone pot.
With this set, you can pick from various appetisers such as Seafood Pancake, Kimchi Pancake or Steam Egg, marinated BBQ dishes or grilled fish (Gulbi Gui or Mackerel), and hot piping stew or soup that are perfect match with the nutritious stone rice.
1 Harbourfront Walk, VivoCity #02-123/124, Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 6376 8268
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Word has it that 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 ($28 for 200g) – thinly sliced beef brisket dressed a special sauce.
The thinly sliced meats would arrive all pinkish and bright, and you would have thought it has not been marinated before.
Most marinated bulgogi meats would have appeared covered in a dark-coloured sauce, while this unique Bornga dressing retains the meat’s natural colours.
Because the beef slices are very thin, it would cook very quickly. It is recommended to have them with vegetables and dipped into the Bornga special sauce.
I also tried the Yangnyum Dwaeji Galbi ($45 for 2 pieces) which consists of thicker slabs of pork ribs marinated with a dark brown special house sauce. This was yummy.
However, note that Bornga generally can be on the expensive side.
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