Best Korean restaurants in Singapore beyond BBQ

PHOTO: Unsplash

Think of Korean food and your mind probably heads straight for K-BBQ. Smoky grilled meats aside, though, Korea’s food culture is a vibrant mix, from traditional hearty stews to fusion kimchi creations.

Whether it’s a quick meal or a place for a long-awaited gathering, here’s our pick of the best Korean restaurants in Singapore.

1. Joo Bar

PHOTO: Joo Bar

Tucked away in a three-story shophouse, Joo Bar is Singapore’s first makgeolli bar and restaurant.

It offers modern Korean bites and sharing platters, along with creative drinks. Expect delights like Kimchi Mac & Cheese ($16), a Korean twist on a well-loved Western dish, and Bulgogi Tacos ($18) dressed with kimchi salsa.

Try their specialty, Joo Bossam ($26), a twist on traditional braised pork belly, paired with house-made citron kimchi and radish salad.

Not only that, the team makes their own makgeolli (or Korean rice wine) in 16 unique flavours. For a fun night with friends, order the Makgeolli Sampler Set ($35) to try them all.

Joo Bar is located at 5 Tan Quee Lan Street, Singapore 188094. p. +65 8138 1628. Open Mon – Sun, 12pm –12am.

** Joo Bar delivers island wide daily. Orders must be placed at least two hours in advance.

2. The Go Gi Jip

PHOTO: The Go Gi Jip

The Go Gi Jip is the epitome of a traditional Korean restaurant, serving everything from meat to seafood.

What makes them a standout is their fresh produce, with all ingredients imported directly from Korea. This includes their best seller, Ganjang Gyejang ($35 to 45) – raw crabs marinated in soy sauce or a spicy chilli paste.

For other uncommon Korean dishes, opt for Yuk Hwe ($35) – Korean-style beef tartare – or even a steaming bowl of Soondae Soup ($25), filled with Korean blood sausage.

The best part? The restaurant’s Fresh Kimchi ($8 to 15) is available for purchase if you want to recreate the Korean experience at home.

The Go Gi Jip is located at 72 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088493. p. +65 6224 0667. Open Mon-Thurs 11am – 12am and Fri-Sun 11am – 3am.

** The Go Gi Jip delivers islandwide from 12pm – 11pm daily.

3. Kimme Restaurant

PHOTO: Kimme Restaurant

Opened by Chef Sun Kim, who previously helmed Michelin-starred Meta, Kimme serves elevated Korean cuisine that’s sure to delight.

The menu is split into small, big, and, sweet sections, with each dish taking inspiration from a region of Korea.

Start with a Kampachi Sashimi Salad ($26), seasoned with pickled ginger and punchy gochujang. Move on to a luxurious Wagyu Tartare Bibimbap ($28) topped with an onsen egg and crispy seaweed.

Finish off with one of their popular menu items, Hotteok ($16) or sweet pancakes – a typical Korean street food in Korea that’s taken up a notch with walnut ice-cream and gula melaka here.

Kimme Restaurant is located at 47 Amoy Street, Singapore 069873, p. +65 6514 1588. Open Mon – Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 11pm and Sat 6pm – 11pm. Closed Sun.

4. Dookki

PHOTO: Dookki

The first tteokbokki buffet in Singapore, Dookki is a South Korean concept with over 100 restaurants worldwide. Dookki translates to ‘two meals’ in Korean and the restaurant means that literally.

Start out with a bubbling Korean hotpot, and round off with kimchi fried rice ($18.80, 1.5 hrs). They’ve got over eight different types of tteokbokki such as cheese and sweet potato, and a variety of meat and vegetables to add to the hotpot.

What’s more, the base of the hotpot is customisable to suit your tastebuds. When the soup has boiled down to a thick sauce, add your rice, kimchi, and other ingredients to finish off your feast.

Dookki has outlets at Clementi Mall and Suntec City. Details on their outlets can be found here.

5. Hanok by Massizim

PHOTO: Hanok by Massizim

Hanok is the Halal spin-off of popular South Korean chain Masizzim. This cosy shop at Westgate specialises in galbi-jjim, commonly known as Korean meat stews.

Looking for a quick but hearty meal? Try their popular Soy Beef Rib Stew ($19.70), a comforting bowl of braised short ribs alongside steaming hot rice.

For more interesting dishes, opt for their Crabmeat and Roe Riceball ($11.30) or Honey Mustard Cheese Egg Roll ($10.30) instead.

Hanok by Masizzim is located at 3 Gateway Drive, Westgate, #01-07, Singapore 608532. p. +65 6906 0965. Open daily 11am – 9.30pm.

** Hanok by Masizzim delivers islandwide 12pm – 8pm daily.

6. Guksu Restaurant

PHOTO: Guksu Restaurant

Known for their handmade noodles and traditional hotpots, Guksu is a family-run restaurant with recipes dating back to 1945.

For the best of both worlds, order one of their hotpots and add a portion of handmade noodles. A popular option is their Gamja Tang ($13.90), a traditional spicy pork rib and potato stew.

Another must-try is the Basirak Kalguksu ($14.90), or knife-cut noodles bathed in a sweet clam broth.

And if you’re searching for a restaurant to celebrate dining in again, Guksu has a range of family steamboats perfect for the occasion.

Guksu Restaurant is located at 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City, #02-385, Singapore 038983, p. +65 6334 7950. Open daily 11am – 10pm.

7. The Boneless Kitchen

PHOTO: The Boneless Kitchen

Opening in 2014, The Boneless Kitchen is one of the only Korean vegetarian restaurants in Singapore.

The sizzling Dolsot Bibimbap ($11.90) still delights with the taste of sesame and gochujang, the fresh vegetables providing a crunch to the dish.

Order the Kimchi Mandu ($3.90) as well, for the small dumplings are packed with over 15 ingredients to create a savoury bomb in your mouth. With all their seasonings and sauces made in-house, you’re guaranteed not to miss meat.

The Boneless Kitchen is located at 1 Irving Place, #01-31, The Commerze@Irving, Singapore 369546, p. +65 8457 6464. Open daily 11am – 9pm.

** The Boneless Kitchen delivers islandwide daily 11.30am – 8.15pm.

8. Singkoba Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant

PHOTO: Singkoba Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant

Of course, what list of Korean restaurants is complete without KBBQ?

Nestled along Telok Ayer Street, Singkoba offers a la carte BBQ meats alongside regular Korean dishes.

Look out for well-loved cuts like Pork Belly ($19) and Beef Ribs ($38) to more unique ones such as Grilled Intestines ($32-38) or Honeycomb Grilled Pork Skin ($22).

They also offer six BBQ sets with a variety of meats, a bang-for-buck option if you’re sharing the meal.

A tip: order the Steamed Egg ($6) as a side dish. Buttery and fluffy, it’s the best menu item other than their grilled meats.

Singkoba Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant is located at 155/157 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068611, p. +65 6221 2639. Open daily 11am – 9pm.

This article was first published in City Nomads.