Nipong Naepong which loosely translates to “your ppong, my ppong”, is Singapore’s first “ppong” specialty restaurant.
The Jjolmyeon (wheat noodles) used are made in Korea exclusively for the brand, relatively thin and long, with chewy and tender bite.
Diners craving for Korean flavours can also try their newer dishes such as Mala Ppong – in both dry and soup version, Jjajangmyeon (Black Bean Noodles), and the Iron-Plate series.
While Jjamppong is typically served with seafood, Nipong Naepong has just introduced some bowls included with bulgogi beef instead – for the meat-lovers.
Here are 10 of the recommended items from Nipong Naepong:
1. Seafood or Beef Cha Ppong ($16.90 for seafood, $15.90 for beef)
The Seafood version is the Classic Jjamppong noodles, a bowl which came loaded with fried cabbage, mussels, squid, prawn, and quail eggs.
There are two levels of spiciness you can choose from. I went for the Level 1, and liked that there was already this fiery kick in the piping hot broth, yet not over.
The soup was actually quite addictive, of richly flavoured seafood broth, balanced with the sweetness of the broth.
Cooked in high heat, it imparted some wok-hei and drinking the deep-spicy soup could result in some tissue-worth of head sweat. Quite shiok, I must say. Easily my favourite “Ppong” of the lot.
The Beef Cha Ppong is newly released for the meat-lovers (also for those don’t take shellfish), topped with a hearty portion of bulgogi-style beef.
2. Seafood or Beef Keu Ppong-Cream ($18.90 for seafood, $15.90 for beef)
This cream sauced Jjamppong may remind some of Carbonara, but perhaps closer to Alfredo as the base is more milky than eggy.
Cooked with assorted seafood and topped with tobiko and toasted tortilla shards, this is for those who need a fuller, creamier meal.
All sauces and soup stocks used are shipped in from Seoul to ensure consistent quality of taste.
This is available in either spicy or non-spicy versions; cooked with assorted seafood or sliced beef.
3. Seafood Ro Ppong-Roje or Beef Ro Ppong ($18.90 for seafood or beef)
Another cream sauced Jjamppong, though I would prefer this due to the addition of tomato puree which included some sweet-tanginess into the mix.
This Jjamppong can be particularly cheesy, as it is further topped with shredded mozzarella which would melt into the warm noodles.
I would recommend having this straight after serving, because the mix could get clumpy when turned slightly colder.
4. Mala Ppong – Soup or Dry, Pork or Beef ($17.90 for soup, $15.90 for dry)
The Sichuan-original “mala-tang” (literally meaning “numbing spicy soup”) has also reached South Korea and is a rising trend there.
This inspired Nipong Naepong to launch its own version, Mala Ppong in two formats.
Featuring the signature jjolmyeon noodles, the spicy Mala Ppong Soup version comes with a mix of sliced beef or pork belly, shimeji mushrooms, tofu, and quail eggs.
Now, you would have thought that this looked rather tame. For some context, if you always order “mala tang” elsewhere, this bowl would have been a level of medium-spicy (中辣) or even a notch higher.
After taking a spoonful of the hot soup, I thought, ”Well, still manageable…”, then the fieriness hits you after a couple of seconds later.
So, beware of its tongue-numbing powers. And this is strangely very addictive even though you really feel the heat after more spoonfuls. One word, ”shiok”!.
5. Jjajangmyeon ($13.90)
A must-try dish for those who want something basic yet classic, this Korean-Chinese staple is prepared by combining noodles with a black bean sauce.
This jjajangmyeon version uses jjolmyeon noodles topped with minced pork, boiled quail eggs, fresh cucumber strips, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and the key ingredient black bean sauce.
Give it a good toss, and you would love the earthy aroma and slightly salty thick sauce.
6. Spicy Keu Seafood or Beef Risotto ($16.90 for seafood, $18.90 for beef)
Arborio rice is used for the Risotto dishes as the short-grain variety is favoured for its ability to produce a rich, creamy texture.
The Risotto are also cooked with Nipong Naepong’s signature sauces and soup stocks, which are specially shipped in from South Korea’s central kitchen to ensure consistent quality and taste.
The Spicy Keu Risotto is cooked with a mix of Nipong Naepong’s Keu cream sauce and chilli oil, with smokiness that comes from the addition of wok-fried seafood. Also luxuriously-saucy due to the milk and cream added, with a shiok level of spiciness.
Possibly my favourite Risotto, this is partly due to the ”wok-hei”. (You can click the video above to check out THAT fire while the chef was cooking the noodles.) I especially enjoyed the sweet cabbage with that smokiness.
You won’t find the Iron-Plate Rice Series in South Korea as it is exclusively created for Nipong Naepong Singapore. Inspired by the Korean concept hansang or한상 (“a table with a full meal”), the Iron-Plate Rice Series are available in 4 sets named after a South Korean region or landmark. Each set is served with condiments and side dishes on a customised wooden platter and hot-plate.
7. Hallasan Volcano Iron-Plate Rice ($14.90)
Save the best for last? This is the most striking looking of the series.
Named after Hallasan, a shield volcano on Jeju Island and highest mountain in South Korea.
This volcano-shaped rice dish is complete with “lava” gushing down its slope. That luscious lava is a spicy, minced pork sauce slathering the large seaweed and radish rice ball on a hot plate.
Order this iron-plate for an eruption of flavours, when you mix the accompanying kimchi, radish and spring onion into the rice and sauce.
8. Jeju Spicy Pork Iron-Plate Rice ($14.90)
Experience the Korean hansang or a table full of food when you add to your orders the Jeju Spicy Pork Iron-Plate Rice.
Composed of spicy, stir-fried pork belly slices, leeks, crushed seaweed and rice with furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning), this dish requires mixing for best results.
Mix them all up on the hot plate then wrap in a fresh lettuce leaf. Don’t forget to add some ssamjang, pickled radish, and of course, kimchi.
Between the four Iron-Plate Rice Series, I would say this would be the safest choice to be a mass-favourite.
9. Nae Pizza-Garlic ($17.90)
Nipong Naepong also serves up four different types of pizzas – Ninae Pizza-Spinach, Ni Pizza-Sweet Potato, Nae Pizza-Garlic and Coco Pizza-Coconut; all made fresh and served from the oven.
These are not quite your Italian pizzas, but can be best described as sweet and savoury pizzas on baked tortilla wraps.
The Nae Pizza-Garlic is topped with copious amounts of garlic butter, with a relatively thin crust.
Don’t just gobble it up. You are supposed to take a slice with your hands, roll it up, dip into the fluffy whipped cream, and enjoy. Nearly like a dessert.
10. Melon Yoghurt Ade ($13.90, 1 litre)
With all the numbing tongues from the Mala Ppong, this makes a must-needed delicious and refreshing drink to have.
Get an entire jug for every order of this fruity concoction, enough for 2-3 people.
Combined with the sweet honeydew melon is a deliciously tart yogurt, making this icy beverage a balance of flavours. To complete the setup, the 1-liter jug is served topped with a honeydew-flavoured popsicle.
Once it melts, your drink will be much richer.
Nipong Naepong – 313@somerset
313@somerset #B3-03, 313 Orchard Road Singapore 238895 (Somerset MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Mon – Thurs, Sun), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Nipong Naepong – JEM
JEM #01-16, 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549 (Jurong East MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Mon – Thurs, Sun), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Nipong Naepong.