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Cho Won Garden Korean Restaurant

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Soon-Dubu-Jjigae (Spicy Soft Tofu Soup), Godeungyeo-Qui (Grilled Mackerel) and Banchan

Soon-Dubu-Jjigae (Spicy Soft Tofu Soup), Godeungyeo-Qui (Grilled Mackerel) and Banchan

Cho Won Garden Korean Restaurant is a small and rather homely dining place, just a few minutes away from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. We had decided to step in as we just saw a group of 8 Koreans walking into the restaurant. Similarly, there were already a few tables of Koreans inside Cho Won and that further affirmed our decision to have our dinner there.

We ordered 2 mains – Soon-Dubu-Jjigae (Spicy Soft Tofu Soup, $13) and Godeungyeo-Qui (Grilled Mackerel, half $10). The tofu soup was adequately spicy; the spicy level was acceptable to the palate, yet strong enough to provide that kick. The tofu was very soft, silky and smooth. There were also cubes of pork and clams in the soup. It was a very simple, comforting soup to enjoy.

The grilled mackerel was also pretty decent. This dish was very straightforward, no frills – just a fresh mackerel grilled to perfection. Not overly oily, fish was tender and well-seasoned. Simple, rustic, home made dishes, accompanied by flavourful banchan, rounded up this decent Korean meal.

Cho Won Garden Korean Restaurant
#01-01, Peck Seah Street

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Written by foodphd

August 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

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K-food talk family restaurant

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K-food talk family restaurant

K-food talk family restaurant

K-food talk family restaurant was one of the many Korean restaurants along the main Tanjong Pagar road. We were drawn towards their extensive and wide variety of dishes in the menu. The place was empty when we entered and the staff was busy preparing the raw ingredients. Upon seated, the waitress brought a bottle of complimentary mineral water and went back to her tasks. They weren’t particularly pushy or rushing for us to order.

Korean Banchan

Korean Banchan

7 different banchan were served including Odeng Bokum (stir-fried fish cake), Gaeran Mari (Korean rolled egg omelette),  Yoengeun jorim (sweet soy glazed lotus roots), Kongnamul (seasoned bean sprouts), Jeyook bokkeum (stir fried pork) and Kimchi. The banchan were pretty impressive – fresh ingredients, strong flavours and thorough marination.

Bibim mueon

Bibim mueon

Bibim mueon ($10) – Cold buckwheat noodles. We request to increase the spiciness of the Bibim mueon and hence a separate dish of gochujang was served together. Although the dish was supposed buckwheat noodles, we felt that they were reminiscent of instant Korean ramen noodles. But the Bibim mueon was springier and less starchy. The sauce was predominantly sweet, with notes of sourness and mild spiciness. The entire dish was very simple and nothing too fanciful. The al dente refreshing cold noodles coupled with the tangy sauce was awakening to the palate and something different from our previous Korean meals.

Saengseonguyi Jungsik Set (Godeungauh)

Saengseonguyi Jungsik Set (Godeungauh)

We had the Saengseonguyi Jungsik Set (Godeungauh) ($15) – the grilled Saba fish set. Though supposedly grilled, the Saba fish looked more deep fried. A bit turned off by the presence of oil sputtering on the hot plate, we were rather cautions when we approached the dish. However, the Saba fish turned out to be pretty decent. The fish was very fresh, flaky and juicy. Taste wise, it could get a little salty at certain portions, but it could easily be mitigated with rice. A decent rendition of the classic Saba fish.

K-food talk family restaurant
28 Tanjong Pagar Road

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December 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

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Big Mama

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A small casual Korean eatery located at Tiong Bahru, though Big Mama does not draw as much fanfare as Togi Koren Restaurant at Mosque Street, its own appeal lies in its authenticity, earnest home-cooked fare and enthusiastic owner Big Mama.

Korean Banchan

Korean Banchan

The Banchan consisted of kimchi, sigeumchi namul (spinach), myeolchi bokkeum (spicy anchovies), nokdumuk (mung bean starch jelly), japchae (glass noodles) and yeongeun jorim (lotus roots). We liked the nokdumuk for its refreshing taste and smooth, chewy, jelly-like texture.

Dakgalbi (before frying)

Dakgalbi (before frying)

Dakgalbi (after frying)

Dakgalbi (after frying)

We ordered the Dakgalbi ($15 per pax, min 2 pax), as it was highly recommended by Big Mama as their signature dish. The Dakgalbi is a popular South Korean dish made by pan-frying seasoned chicken with vegetables, sweet potato, rice cake in a spicy gochujang based sauce, together on a hot plate. The Dakgalbi was prepared on the spot, from the raw ingredients. The waitress would push her cart over to your table, set up the stove and fry the dish by the table side. No doubt that we would reek of the oil and smoke during and after the dinner, watching your food prepared table side was appetizing and ensured that the food was served fresh and piping hot.

The chicken pieces were very tender and thoroughly marinated. The waitress had grasp the cooking time and heat well as the chicken wasn’t overly cooked, still moist and retaining its natural juices; the rice cake was neither too soft nor hard and had an adequate bite to it; the sweet potatoes weren’t too mushy as well. Together with the spicy sauce, the entire dish was flavourful and well-executed.

Dakgalbi + Fried Rice

Dakgalbi + Fried Rice

Before we totally wiped out the Dakgalbi, we ordered a serving of fried rice ($3 per pax). The waitress would then come over with her cart, add in a bowl of white rice to the Dakgalbi remnants and topped up with sesame seeds, kimchi, laver (seaweed) and sesame oil. She then began the frying procedure again. The end result – fried rice Dakgalbi, with the rice thoroughly coated with the spicy sauce. And if you allowed the rice to cook a little longer, you’ll get those burnt crunchy “claypot rice” like bits stuck to the pan.

For simple and unpretentious food, served by earnest and enthusiastic waitresses, in a cosy and quiet eatery, do give Big Mama a try. Reservations are highly recommended due to the limited seating space.

Big Mama
2 Kim Tian Road

Written by foodphd

September 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

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Togi Korean Restaurant

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Ask us for good Korean food and we will not hesitate to recommend Togi Korean Restaurant. Great authentic Korean fare, dished out by Korean servers and chefs, with the background of Korean television programmes, Togi has got to be one of the better Korean restaurants in Singapore. Despite having visited on countless occasions, this is the first time we decided to feature it.

Korean Banchan

Korean Banchan

We were served 6 different Banchan (clockwise from top left) – anchovies, seasoned vegetables, beancurd skin, pickled cucumbers, potatoes, kimchi. These side dises are refillable on demand.

Chicken Bibimbab

Chicken Bibimbab

Chicken Bibimbab ($11) – The essence of the bibimbap lies in the gochujang. Togi’s hot pepper paste was strong in flavours, it started off mildly spicy and sweet, but ended off with a burst of spiciness. It was the richness of the sauce which tied the rice, chicken and vegetables together. The chicken was well marinated and very tasty on its own. Allow the dish to rest for a while before consuming and one could enjoy the harder, charred rice crisps at the base and sides of the hotpot.

Soon Du Bu Jji Gae

Soon Du Bu Jji Gae

Soon Du Bu Jji Gae (Spicy silken tofu soup with seafood $12) – Each serving came with two unpeeled prawns, some sliced squids, tofu and traces of egg. Despite the seemingly oily and red hot soup, the soup was actually pretty light on the palette and a good choice of starter for the meal.

Duk Bok Gi

Duk Bok Gi

Duk Bok Gi (Stir fried spicy rice cake $12) – Rice cake, fish cakes, eggs, gyoza, onions, carrots in a spicy Korean sauce. We loved this dish for the intense spiciness of the thick base. Another pull factor had got to be the quality of the rice cakes, which were not overly soft and mushy. They were of the right texture of stickiness and had sufficient chewiness, likened to being al dente in an Italian pasta dish. There were quite a fair amount of steamed fish cakes and gyozas added. The gyozas in particular were tasty. The hard-boiled egg on the other hand was very dry and did not seem to go well with the spicy sauce. The portion was generous and huge enough to be shared between two person.

Togi Korean Restaurant
11 Mosque Street

Written by foodphd

March 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm

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Blue Garden Korean BBQ Buffet Restaurant

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Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Assortment of Grilled Porks

Assortment of Grilled Porks

Blue Garden offers a wide variety of side dishes to our initial delight. However, the quality and taste of all the side dishes were far from impressive. The warm dishes included Korean leek pancakes, kimchi fried rice, spicy rice cake, boiled squid, boiled pork belly, stewed chicken with potatoes and vermicelli and inari. The leek pancake tasted very starchy despite being loaded with leeks. The kimchi fried rice tasted very bland and seemingly lacking in the typical sticky chewiness of pearl like Korean rice. The rice cakes were solid hard and lacking in flavour too. The inari was definitely inferior as the rice lacked the essential vinegar flavouring. Fried items like salted chicken wings, assorted vegetables and a strange deep-fried dough coated with coarse sugar were also served. The nicest cold dish were the bean sprouts and the spring onions. The kimchi and the chilli flavoured vegetables (leeks, spring onions, cucumbers, radish) were boring. Abalone porridge was also on the list but we decided to give it a missed, judging from the standards of the other dishes. There were Korean ice cream popsicles but we were required to pay for them.

The barbeque items were much better than the cooked food and cold dishes.There were a number of meat served: pork belly, marinated pork, pork collar, bulgogi (pork), wine infused pork belly, bulgogi (chicken), prawns and many other different cuts of beef.  The pork belly lacked flavour and the beef belly was overly loaded with fats. The wine infused pork belly tasted slightly better, with a slight tinge of alcohol. We liked the marinated pork and bulgogi the most. In general, we felt that Blue Garden Korean BBQ Buffet Resturant was nowhere comparable to the other BBQ restaurants which we had tried thus far – SSikkek, 2D1N Soju Bang and Ju Shin Jung. No doubt the environment was more conducive at this hotel restaurant, with a smaller crowd and more appealing display of food, the food was lackluster and much less value for money (S$29).

Blue Garden Korean BBQ Buffet Restaurant
#01-07, Link Hotel
50 Tiong Bahru Road

Written by foodphd

September 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

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The Gallerie 食尚 by Koufu

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8 September 2011 marks the official opening of The Gallerie 食尚 at Marina Square by Koufu. Spanning an area of 36,000 square feet, filled with 29 food tenants, with an estimated seating capacity of 889 people, The Gallerie is Koufu’s latest establishment in the Marina Bay waterfront area.

Amongst the 29 food tenants are 4 mini restaurants including Tofu Mania (Korean Cuisine), Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh, Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice and The Noodee Box by Lam’s.

(from top to bottom) Squid Soon Doo Boo Ji Gae (Korean Style Spicy Tofu Soup); Seafood Jeon (Korean Pizza with Vegetables and Seafood)

(from top to bottom) Squid Soon Doo Boo Ji Gae (Korean Style Spicy Tofu Soup); Seafood Jeon (Korean Pizza with Vegetables and Seafood)

Korean Drinks

Korean Drinks

Tofu Mania – the first branch in Singapore, as the name goes, Tofu Mania’s specialty lies in its tofu. We were however, mildly disappointed with its Squid Soon Doo Boo Ji Gae. The soup was pretty thin and lacked the robustness of Korean tofu soups. The tofu was soft but slightly coarse.  We were hoping that the squid would add seafood sweetness to the soup, but sadly there were very few pieces of squid and each piece was pathetically small. The Seafood Jeon fared slightly better with its more generous serving of prawns, and a slightly spicy and sweet accompanying sauce.

We were rather impressed by the wide variety of Korean beverages offered by Tofu ManiaOrange, Grape, 2 kinds of Sweet Rice Drinks, Spicy Cinnamon, Aloe Vera, Pear, Green Plum and a Berry Energy Drink. Most of the drinks were on the sweet side, accompanied with fruit pulp which provided additional chewiness. What stood out was the Spicy Cinnamon Drink – the flavours of cinnamon was overpowering and we believe this is really an acquired taste. Green Plum was the most refreshing and thrist quenching to us.

Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice

Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice

Being one of the popular local Chicken Rice specialty shops, Wee Nam Kee is no stranger to chicken rice lovers. We’ve never been to their flagship store at Novena Ville before, so this is our first try at their chicken rice. Well, we weren’t blown away by their chicken or rice, perhaps largely due to the fact that we are not fans of chicken rice. The white and roasted chickens were pretty average. The meat was tender, slightly bland though. The Ngoh Hiang was a big disappointment. It was cold and hard and the fillings were starchy. It was sorely lacking in the texture and flavours of fresh grounded meat.

The Noodee Box by Lam's

The Noodee Box by Lam's

The Noodee Box by Lam’s is a new spin-off from Lam’s Noodle House which is famous for its “Lam’s Abalone Noodle”. As the name goes, the noodles, or noodee, are served in boxes, rather than in bowls. The noodles reminded us of dried minced mee noodles (aka bak chor mee), with additional accompaniments like eggs and Taiwan sausages. The ban-mian like noodles were cooked to the right chewiness, however we felt that they could be a little more generous with the sauce. On the whole, the Noodee box is an interesting invention, however the food was not all that impressive.

Apart from the 4 mini restaurants, The Gallerie houses 14 Boutique Food Stalls, consisting of the typical food court fare such as Indonesian BBQ (which is actually the same stall as per before The Gallerie was established), Soup EmpireThunder Tea Rice (China Square) and Lau Di Fang Scissors-Cut Curry Rice, to name a few. Indeed, Lau Di Fang Scissors-Cut Curry Rice’s flagship store is the one at Jalan Besar, known for its famous fried pork chops and curry chicken.

Thunder Tea Rice

Thunder Tea Rice

The only other time we tried Thunder Tea Rice was from Food Republic at Vivocity. Even for vegetable lovers like us, it was still an acquired taste. And after trying the Thunder Tea Rice from Thunder Tea (China Square), we still believed it is indeed an acquired taste. The main highlight of the dish has got to be the accompanying green tea, made from tea leaves, basil and mint, which should be poured over the rice mix. However, we still squirmed at the flavour of the tea, hence we ended up just having the rice on its own, which was just mediocre. An healthy dish it may be, but our 2nd try has only made us more certain that we do not like Thunder Tea Rice.

(clockwise from top left) Egg Tarts; Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings; Egg Custard Bao

(clockwise from top left) Egg Tarts; Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings; Egg Custard Bao

Koufu‘s F&B island stall offers drinks, cold and hot desserts as well as dim sum. We did not like the Egg Tarts. The fillings were bland and the crust was moist, soggy, starchy and lacked fragrance and taste. Similarly, the Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings were disappointing. We ordered the dish thinking that the scallops were the main highlight. But sadly, the scallops were too soft and tasteless. In fact, you could eat the entire dumpling without realizing the presence of the scallops. The only dish that we took fancy of was the Egg Custard Bao. For food court standards, it wasn’t too bad and definitely better than Crystal Jade Dining IN’s.

Having tried different dishes from the mini restaurants, boutique and island stalls, we were very surprised that at the end of the day, our favourite dishes came from the smaller scale food kiosks! There were 4 food kiosks – Korean Snack, Nesh’s Yoghurt, Apa’s Rojak and Zuki’s Popiah.

Hanyong Korean Snack (bottom left to right) Rice Cake; Kimchi Pancake

Hanyong Korean Snack (bottom left to right) Rice Cake; Kimchi Pancake

Hanyong Korean Snack – Both the Rice Cake and Kimchi Pancake were rather simple dishes, nothing too fanciful. But it was the spicy Korean sauce which blew us away. The sauce of the rice cake was thick, rich in flavours and packed with a whole lot of spiciness! The rice cake was bit chewy, we felt that it could be cooked a little longer to reduce the toughness and chewiness. But this dish left us salivating and sweating.

Popiah

Popiah

Zuki Popiah – From the skin to the sauce and the fillings, everything is made by the owners. We tried 2 different flavours – the original and a Mexican Burrito inspired flavour. Both popiahs were generously packed with fillings and weren’t too soggy as well. The Mexican Burrito inspired flavour was rather appealing. Packed with chunks of chicken meat, the popiah was infused with a sour tangy sauce which was very appetizing.

Apa Rojak

Apa Rojak

Apa’s Rojak was also one of our favourite dishes. The owner’s father created the Rojak sauce 40 years ago in Malaysia. The sauce is cooked over an entire day to increase its fragrance and reduce the heaviness of the prawn paste. And we really could appreciate the hard work which went into the sauce. The rojak sauce was thick and very rich. True enough, the prawn paste wasn’t too overwhelming. The generous dose of peanuts were crunchy and fragrant, evident of its freshness. The other ingredients like the dough fritters, pineapples and cucumbers were fresh and crunchy and thoroughly coated in the sauce.

Yoghurt - Raspberry and Cookie Crumbs

Yoghurt - Raspberry and Cookie Crumbs

Desserts of the day – Greek yoghurt! Pure yorgurt and not yoghurt ice cream is sold here. After trying both the Raspberry and Cookie Crumbs, we came to a conclusion that cookies do not go well with yoghurt. The thick creamy and sour Greek yoghurt was more compatible with the sourness of fruits, compared to the crunchy and slightly salty cookie bits.

The Gallerie 食尚 by Koufu
Marina Square, Level 4
6 Raffles Boulevard

Written by foodphd

September 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm