Manna Korea remains one of the longest standing Korean restaurants in Singapore. Before everything Korean was made fashionable by the hallyu wave that hit our shores like a tsunami. Dining at Manna Korea at its original Telok Ayer Street locale when I was a little girl with my family marked my virgin foray into Korean cuisine. It didn't quite make an impact as you'd have thought, even if we were enthralled by the seemingly endless and limitless banchan.
They've now a satellite stall at the Asia Square Food Garden, and it serves up one-bubbling-pot meals that are a hit with diners looking for a low-frills Korean food fix. While convenient and no-fuss, the food was significantly lackluster compared to the fare served at its Telok Ayer branch.
The Kimchi Jjigae was barely passable, as the soup base was severely lacking in depth and sweetness, even if it packed enough heat. That said, it's probably quite a comforting choice for a thundery rainy day.
The Chicken Ginseng Soup was similarly bland, and I could barely taste the chicken stock in this. Even the onions hadn't had time to properly assimilate into the soup to lend sweetness. These were pretty raw, with that sharp bite still present.
All of the sets are served with a trio of classic Korean banchan in amuse bouche portions. The Kimchi lacked the kick of sinus-clearing chilli spice.
The Fried Anchovies were surprisingly decent, albeit a little generic. Crisp and a total sodium bomb.
The Pickled Cucumbers were alright as well. Crunchy, clean-tasting and refreshing.
8 Marina View
Asia Square Food Garden
#02-17 Asia Square Tower 1
Tel: 6636 1189
Open weekdays only from 8am to 9pm