I've previously said that there's a dearth of authentic, affordable and quality Korean food in Singapore. The only place I'd recommend to any Korean expat in Singapore is Hyang-To-Gol, perhaps the most authentic Korean restaurant in Singapore. A quick warning for those watching their spending, it comes with a hefty price tag (budget at least 80 bucks per person without alcohol, and 100 bucks per person with alcohol), but it's well worth every dollar.
Almost everyone that stepped into the restaurant was Korean, which says volumes about the authenticity of the food served here.
We barely sat down before steaming hot cups of Korean rice teas were served. After we placed our orders, the obligatory side dishes were immediately served as well. The service standards was Speedy Gonzales-worthy. We never had to wait very long for any of our requests to be acceded to.
There was a melange of sides (with free refills) to stuff our faces with while waiting for our bbq meats to be done. I'm not a fan of Korean food (especially kimchi), but I was feeling adventurous that night, so I promised to try everything at least once. I was surprised to find out that I loved some of the dishes.
The Traditional Kimchi, the BF loved this. He must have asked for 4 refills of this! Sour and spicy, this was fermented very well.
Sweet Kimchi. I preferred this version. It was an explosion of fresh, sweet, slightly spicy and sour flavours. I also liked that it was nicely chilled.
Dried Squid, this was a wonderfully addictive snack. It's like the Korean take on our typical dried cuttlefish snack.
Chilled Fishcakes, this was also served chilled. Simple, chewy and light. We also asked for seconds of this.
Pancakes, I have no idea what the pancakes were made up of, but it was smooth, creamy and savoury. I really liked this.
Pickled Radish, this was extremely sour. We both took one bite of this only.
Cold Kimchi Soup, very refreshing and cooling, the lettuce was also very crisp, it's like Asian gazpacho.
Pickled Cucumber and Radish. I didn't really take to this, it's like the cucumber version of Kimchi.
Lettuce Salad, we both didn't try this, we were too busy eating everything else.
Bean Paste, this was served as a condiment to the bbq-ed meats. Sweet and salty flavours, this tasted freshly made.
The waitresses doubled up as personal chefs as well, and cooked all our meats at our table. Despite their constant presence, they were completely non-intrusive.
Our first order of the bbq meats was the must-try Yangnyeom-Galbi ($40 for 200g), seasoned beef ribs, which was amazing. The bulgogi-marinated beef was perfectly sweet, tender and juicy. We couldn't get enough of this.
The cooked Beef Ribs. It was as tantalising as it looks.
We got a chicken option as well, the Dak-Gooi ($21 for 200g), marinated chicken.
The Marinated Chicken was delicious as well. The sweet flavours of the bulgogi marinade really enhanced the natural flavours of the chicken. Fresh chicken is used here, no frozen tasteless ones. This was succulent and juicy as well.
The other thing that caught our eye on the expansive menu was the Gochujang-Samgyeopsal ($24 for 200g), spicy bbq sliced pork belly. Look at that luscious marinade!
The Spicy Pork Belly was sizzlingly good. The heat was subtle and slow, with the sweetness of the marinade coming through every bite of this decadently fatty meat.
The last meat option was the Doaeji-Bulgogi ($22 for 200g), marinated bbq pork.
The BBQ Pork was just as tasty and succulent as the rest of the meats. Bulgogi marinade really does go well with any meat. It's like the Korean version of Japanese teriyaki sauce.
After all that meat, we had to have some fibre, so we got the Modeum-Yachae-Gooi ($12), assorted vegetables of thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, onions and shitake mushrooms.
We felt the vegetables were a little bare and plain, the veggies could have done with some butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Otherwise, the vegetables were fresh and sweet.
Silvers of Garlic was also grilled to accompany the meats. They were fragrant and aromatic, the grilling had relieved it of its pungency.
You know how it is in bbq restaurants, you inevitably end up smelling like what you ingested? Not the case here, we walked out still smelling like our freshly-showered selves.
Hyang-To-Gol Korean Restaurant
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Level 2 Amara Singapore
Tel: 6220 7160
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunches and 6pm to 2am for dinners