Seoul Yummy, the Korean chain with eight locations around Singapore, is doing a bit of re-invention heading into the new year. We were invited to check out the new concept, located in the also recently renovated SingPost Centre, and got to sample some of their new menu items alongside some of the classics.
The concept is heavily K-Pop themed, with bright lights and pop art renderings of Korean stars, if that is your thing you will enjoy the décor. They also have a slightly interactive charity drive, where for a donation of any amount, you’ll be given a colorful padlock, which you can place on various lock-friendly locations around the restaurant. At the end of the year, Seoul Yummy will donate $1 for each key that has been collected to a pre-selected charity (with 2017 going to the Children’s Cancer Foundation).
Now that you’ve done your good deed for the evening, how about the food? The dishes are hearty Korean favorites ranging from traditional stews and rice dishes, to the anything dipped in molten cheese variety.
We started with the Spam Rice Balls, one of the new entrants to the menu. You get four pretty good sized ones for $7.90 and they are filling, we tried both the white and brown rice options, and I thought the texture and flavor of the latter was a lot more interesting. They are also packed with tobiko (flying fish roe) which adds a really nice element and resulted in me enjoying this dish much more than I expected.
The other starter was their ‘Fried Chikin’ ($8.90), which is five quite large pieces of boneless chicken, it was really nicely fried with the classic Korean extra crispy exterior. The honey butter version we had was tasty but very much on the sweet side, I’d go for the soy garlic or spicy versions next time.
The two soup options we tried were prepared at the table, starting with the ‘Odeng Guk’ ($14.90) which comes packed with tofu, vegetables, and Korean fish cakes. The broth had a nice umami finish with a mild fish flavor. Another new dish on offer is the ‘Return of Wagyu Budae Jigae’, ($22.90). A tweak on the ubiquitous Army Stew, this is updated with thin slices of wagyu beef, which you cook to your preference in the broth. It’s a kind of mashup dish with a bit of everything, most of which is quickly overshadowed by the beef, but all in all filling and tasty. There are also versions with beef or pork ribs available.
The highlight of the night was the Hyeong Cheese Pot, which is decadent and if you’re sharing it (a wise decision) a good deal at $69.90. It comes with two massive beef short ribs on a cast-iron hot plate, sitting in a pool of cheese, which is then melted at the table. As the cheese melts, the side dishes heat up and cook as well. You get a big portion of scrambled egg with spring onions, and some choices of different kinds of fries, chips, and things like spam, fried chicken or dumplings, but the meat is the main event here. The beef was falling off the bone, and the soy-garlic marinade blends deliciously with the cheese. It can easily feed 4-6 people and provides some fun Instagram opportunities. They only make a few of these each night so you may want to check in advance.
Desserts had a tough act to follow, but we had a quick taste of a couple of their bingsu options. The Mr. Bibimbap ($11.90) is a fun dessert version of the rice dish with fresh fruit and a mango and milk custard ‘egg’. The Ko Ko Pop ($11.90) will appeal to chocolate lovers, has chocolate powder, wafers, a Ferrero Rocher hazelnut ball, and Coco Pops (yes the cereal).
It’s fine to cap off the meal but meat lovers and K-Pop aficionados will get the most out of a trip to Seoul Yummy.