Since leisure travel is on the back burner for all of us, I thought it would be great to write a few blog entries about authentic Korean restaurants in Singapore to, hopefully, satisfy our wanderlust and inner foodie.
In fact, I always get this question after settling down back in Singapore – Where do I get my Korean food craving fixed?
Having spent years living in South Korea and studied under my dissertation advisor, professor Geun Lee who’s also a passionate belly-critic has definitely broadened my taste and understanding of Korean cuisine, and of course, my ability in identifying certain characteristics that distinguish an authentic Korean restaurant (that serves good food) from an average one.
This blog post is dedicated to one of my all-time-favourite Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore – Go! K-BBQ 고케이 비비큐. I frequent a few Korean BBQ places here but Go! K-BBQ is my ultimate fail-proof Korean restaurant in Singapore.
The atmosphere is unpretentious. There are no frills, but authentic experience – the hustle and bustle, the smell, the taste, the naengmyun that comes after they served the meat, down to the way that thick, fat and juicy Samgyupsal (Pork Belly) melts in my mouth… The entire experience is almost identical to a BBQ Matjib in Korea.
Go! K-BBQ specializes in serving quality aged meat. All the fresh meat went through an ageing process where the meat is refrigerated without packing at low temperatures for 15 days to allow the enzymes that are naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue of the meat. This process improves the texture and flavour of the meat.
To ensure quality control and consistency, their chefs go around the tables to cook the meat. From making sure the grilling pan is of the right temperature to the cooking sequence of different kinds of meat, everything will be well taken care of. All you need is to come real hungry and stuff yourself with these quality cuts!
Look at the amazing beef marbling here! The meat looks fresh and succulent. A tip I learned in Korea to identify quality Korean BBQ restaurants is their meat. A good Korean BBQ restaurant in Korea would never serve you frozen meat.
While I do not know what are the SFA requirements to import or transport fresh meat, the restaurants would probably need to adhere to certain processes but one thing is for sure – your meat will not come frozen in a good Korean BBQ restaurant in Singapore.
The Aged Boneless Beef Short Ribs 숙성 진갈빗살 (SGD 36/150g) was tender, juicy and rich in flavour. I love to wrap it with lettuce, the spicy green onion salad and garlic.
My favourite item on the menu is the Aged Samgyupsal 숙성 삼겹살 ($26/150g). I still remembered how excited I was when I saw the generous serving the first time I visited this place. “This is EXACTLY how they do Samgyupsal in Korea!” I told my friends who were equally fascinated. I mean, look at that chunk of fatty meat.
They were at least 3cm thick, and each and every chunk has that perfect lean meat to fat ratio. This resulted in that melt-in-your-mouth sensation that is juicy, tender and irresistible. The aged meat is also very flavourful despite zero marination.
My favourite wrap combination for their aged pork belly is with fresh lettuce, Ssam Mu (쌈무 pickled radish slices), Myeong-yi namul (명이나물 Pickled Wild Garlic Leaves) and a little bit of freshly grated wasabi. The textural contrasts and the burst of flavours when you bite into the pork belly wrap is sensational and beyond words. I really love how they do Samgyupsal here.
Writer’s Note: Go! K-BBQ definitely top my list for authentic Korean BBQ Restaurants in Singapore. It is the restaurant I’d go to if I am missing the food served at my 2nd home (especially during an unprecedented time like this!) Not only their BBQ meat are of the top quality, but they also serve really good Korean cuisine too! I always order Mak-guksu (막국수 buckwheat noodle) or Chadul Doenjang Jjigae (차돌 된장찌개 Soybean paste stew with beef) and they taste exactly how they’re supposed to be like in Korea.
I like that the restaurant did not adjust their menu and recipe based on local tastes and preferences so that we get to enjoy the real Korean flavours even in Singapore. They are extremely popular at dinner time so please call at least one week in advance to make a reservation before heading down!
If you’re wondering, here are my tips on how to identify an authentic Korean BBQ restaurant from an average one. Though this should only serve as a general guideline because the strength of all Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore is different.
Simple Guide To Identify An Authentic Korean BBQ Restaurant:
- A good Korean BBQ restaurant would never serve you frozen meat.
So does an authentic Korean BBQ Restaurant. They might need to adhere to the SFA guidelines but at least, the meat should not come frozen. If your meat is served frozen, then high chance it is not a good BBQ restaurant.
- Their signature meats are non-marinated.
Meat quality is everything to a BBQ restaurant, and if their signatures are non-marinated, this says a lot about the restaurant.
- They serve the round and thinly sliced pickled radish slices, and pickled wild garlic leaves.
Many years ago, some Korean F&B veteran in Singapore told me that only a Korean BBQ speciality restaurant would serve myung-yi namul (pickled wild garlic leaves) in one of their banchans as the sweet and sour taste of the pickled dish complimented the pork belly really well. This golden rule is still valid today.
- The restaurant manager or helpers are Korean, and you see Korean expatriate patrons dining in there.
Go!K-BBQ Singapore 고케이 비비큐 싱가포르
76 Amoy St, Singapore 069895
Opening Hours: 11:30am-3 pm, 5:30-10:30 pm
Tel. +65 6423 0308