Another day, another food review by the one and only Ghib Ojisan.
This time, the Singapore-based Japanese YouTuber documented his experience trying Singaporean hawker food in Seoul.
Joined by Singaporean K-pop dancer Edna, the duo went over to Kitchen Shiok restaurant.
Located in Jung District, Kitchen Shiok, as the name suggests, offers Singaporean food and Asian fusion dishes.
The restaurant exuded an "atas" ambience, with its white walls and minimalist design. It also sported two statues of Singapore's iconic symbol, the Merlion.
On the menu, there were quite a few hawker dishes that many Singaporeans would be familiar with, but they came with prices you would expect in restaurants.
For instance, the char kway teow was KRW25,000 (S$25).
"Let's not try to look at the cost," Ghib said when he saw the price of the kaya toast – KRW14,000.
Ghib and Edna settled for the char kway teow, laksa and Hainanese chicken rice.
First dish: Char kway teow
The char kway teow came with chunks of beef, flat rice noodles, greens, bean sprouts and onions.
Edna was quick to point out that this dish typically comes with Chinese sausage instead of beef, and both of them found it unique that the restaurant included onions in their version.
Comparing the dish to the Singapore version, Edna mentioned that it has a bit of gravy. "I think they added oyster sauce."
Typically, soy sauces are used to make char kway teow.
For Ghib, the dish didn't taste like Singapore's char kway teow, instead it "tasted like Chinese food in the States or Europe".
The dish had a wet appearance because of the gravy, which reminded Edna of hor fun, another common dish found in Singapore hawker centres.
Second dish: Laksa
They also tried the laksa. For KRW28,000 you get a bowl of noodles, prawns, bok choy, bean sprouts and tau pok in a light broth.
The noodles looked a tad bit different from the usual egg noodles used in laksa. After trying the noodles, Ghib confirmed that it's actually spaghetti, to which Edna agreed.
The soup was spicy and packed with flavour, but it lacked the lemak factor, which is one of the cornerstones of laksa.
Ghib also highlighted that in Japan "a lot of people don't like the strong coconut flavour" and that this might be the case here as well.
"It's definitely not the most authentic, but it's not bad," Ghib concluded.
Edna also mentioned that bok choy is not an ingredient you will see in laksa, and this version didn't come with fishcakes and cockles.
Last dish: Hainanese chicken rice
Hainanese chicken rice was the last dish they tried, and it set them back KRW18,000.
The dish came with a trio of sauces: soy sauce, ginger and chilli.
Just looking at the soy sauce, Ghib thought it looked a bit different. After trying it, he found the taste similar to teriyaki sauce.
They found the chilli close to the real thing though. The chicken was tender and paired well with the condiments.
However, the rice didn't meet their expectations. Ghib noticed that the restaurant didn't use jasmine rice, and it didn't have the pandan fragrance.
Taste wise, they found that it lacked the chicken flavour, or as Ghib noted, "the chicken umami is not that strong".
Netizens were triggered
It's no secret that Singaporeans are fervent foodies, especially when it comes to local food.
Most of them were shocked by the prices and felt that "paying S$25 for char kway teow is really crazy".
Others shared the same sentiment as Edna, mentioning that the char kway teow looked like hor fun.
One user thought the laksa looked more like prawn mee.
That said, the cost of the food didn't seem to faze one user.
To illustrate his point, he mentioned that tacos usually cost S$10 in Singapore, but in Mexico, you can get it at a quarter of the price.
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