Guksu Homemade Noodle House
3 Temasek Boulevard #02-38
Tel 6334 7950
11am to 10.30pm daily
In the last few years, Japanese ramen places and Vietnamese noodle bars - along with their long queues of customers waiting tirelessly in line just to get their fix - have become a common sight here.
For restaurateur Haden Hee, his observation of our national obsession with foreign noodles was one reason that he decided it was a good time to set up his latest F&B venture, Guksu Homemade Noodle House.
"There are many Korean restaurants in Singapore, but there are not many pure Korean noodle houses here . . . Since ramen is doing well (and) Korean cuisine is doing well, I thought, 'Why not bring in Korean ramen?'" says Mr Hee, who also runs Kimchi Korean Restaurant and Kimchi Xpress.
The noodle bar, which opened in November, serves a selection of three different types of handmade Korean noodles (so meon, jung meon and kal guksu) in four different broths (anchovy, clam, prawn, and beef). Prices range from S$9.90 to S$14.90 for an a la carte bowl of noodles.
The restaurant's food director Choi Min Chul, 34, explains that the difference between their Korean ramen and Japanese ramen lies primarily with the soup base.
"Japanese ramen is normally made with pork stock base, and their ingredients are mostly pork; but we have four different bases and you cannot find these in Japanese ramen shops," he says.
The original recipes come from Head Chef Kahng Heun Sung's grandmother, who used to run her own noodle shop in Korea back in the 1940s. Those recipes were tweaked slightly however, in order to slowly accustom Singaporeans' tastebuds to this unfamiliar dish.
"We need to be able to introduce our food to Singaporeans, because if this food is delicious but no one comes in and eats, then there is no point," says Mr Choi.
"Once they are comfortable with our food, then we can introduce more original Korean flavours. (When) we are successful, we can do anything, but for now people still don't understand about Korean noodles so that's why we have to add a modern touch to our recipes."
Creating new concepts
Sync Korean Fusion Bistro
#03-01 Westgate Mall Tel 6369 9913
11am to 11pm daily
Whoever said you can't turn fantasy into money-making reality probably never met Brian Seow and his wife Lisa Tan - a married couple who took their fixation with Korean drama and the Hallyu craze in general a level further by opening two restaurants offering kimchi-inflected cooking with a fusion twist.
"My wife and I travel frequently to Korea and we see the new trends in cafes and restaurants there and we just fell in love with them," says Mr Seow. "We love to eat and taste all kinds of food. Having a restaurant of our own is a way for us to expand our creativity and create new concepts."