9 Korean BBQ Restaurants in Singapore
Hearty, barbecued chunks of sizzling hot meat. I don’t know what sounds better than that! Since K-Pop hit our shores like a tsunami a few years ago, Korean BBQ (KBBQ) has been all the rage. Despite the hot smoke that infuses your face and clothes, leaving you to smell like a walking piece of meat, KBBQ has always been a popular go-to for an indulgent dinner with friends.
Ever since my visit to Seoul and having tasted authentic KBBQ, I swore to never be vegetarian because those pieces of meat were simply divine. While it is a challenge to find local KBBQ restaurants as good as the ones in Korea, it is not impossible and there are some that come pretty close. Here is a list of 9 Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore, buffet and a la carte style, that you can consider the next time you need to tame the carnivorous creature in you.
A la carte
With its dark interior and brick walls, 8 Korean BBQ gives off an industrial chic vibe and is an ideal destination when you want to stuff your face with meat but still care about how you look. What renders this restaurant a cut above the rest is their premium Mangalitza Pork, which hails all the way from Hungary and is much more melt-in-your-mouth than other kinds of pork. All the cooking will be done by the staff, so sit back and enjoy your well-deserved feast.
Their signature menu item is the 8 colours set ($96), which is also the origin of their name. This set gives you 8 different flavours of pork belly – Wine, Original, Black Sesame, Garlic, Herb, Curry, Miso Paste, Red Pepper Paste and Galbi. Yes, if you did count, you will realise there is a ninth flavour, which was added due to popular demand. You are also given a choice of stew, generous portions of house-made kimchi and spicy beansprouts with the set. Opt for the 4 colours set ($56) if you are here with a few friends.
To give the evening a perfect finish, why not order a pot of their Organic Honey Makgeolli ($35), a Korean rice wine which is light, sweet, and goes well with meat.
A la carte
Featured in the legendary K-drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’, Seorae has definitely made its presence pretty prominent in the Singapore Korean BBQ market and has become a household name when it comes to KBBQ. It offers an extensive a la carte menu, featuring various styles of parts of pork, beef, chicken, stews, and even Korean meals.
Aiming to only serve the best meats, Seorae is the only KBBQ restaurant in Singapore with their Signature Galmaegisal – the meat found between the ribs and belly of a pig. This part of the pig is superbly tender and is marinated in a blend of Korean spices for two days before being brought to your table. Other worthy meats include the Samgyeopsal (pork belly), Woorsamgyeob (US beef shortplate cut).
While you are waiting for the meats to be cooked, have a taste of the fluffy egg mixture that can be cooked at the rims of the grill.
If you are here with a party of 2-3 people, try the Cheese Mandu Tteokbokki + Three BBQ Meats Set ($69++), which includes this glorious pot and three meats of your choice. The Cheese Mandu Tteokbokki sees rice cakes, fishcakes, ramyeon, and copious amounts of cheese swimming in a pool of sweet and spicy sauce. There are also corn-cheese dumplings at the side, whose crispy skin encases a sweet creamy corn filling. It was an unexpected favourite for me.
Expect an enticing charred flavour to your meats here as Don Dae Bak uses charcoal grills instead of the regular gasoline. At $23+ for buffet lunch every Monday to Saturday, $26+ for dinner every Monday to Thursday, and $28+ for dinner every Friday to Saturday, you can get a good bang for your buck here with the restaurant’s selection of meat and side dishes. You can find deliciously marinated beef brisket, pork belly, chicken, spicy pork belly and many more, with the must-try item being the marinated pork shoulder loin.
Let’s not forget about the refillable egg mixture that you can cook in the rim of the pan to take a break from the meat. If you’re looking to have unlimited good quality meat, this is one of the places to consider.
A la carte
This is the kind of restaurant in the k dramas, where you will see middle-aged salarymen and their pals downing soju shots. Authentic and simple, Wang Dae Bak focuses on serving good ol’, delicious meats instead of working on expanding its menu.
Also using charcoal grill, a beautiful smoky touch is imparted to the juicy pieces of meat. Some worthy mentions are the spicy marinated chicken, beef tongue, and marinated pork shoulder loin. Since they don’t offer a buffet option, don’t forget to take advantage of the free-flow egg mixture, which becomes soft and sweet when cooked on the grill.
Wang Dae Bak is known for their crispy gigantic pancakes, which are a must-try when you are here. This is the Seafood Pancake($18), which acts as a stellar side dish which might steal attention from the meats.
With prices as low as $14.90++ for a weekday lunch, $19.90++ for weekend lunch, and $24.90++ for everyday dinner, Daessiksin’s competitive pricing is definitely one of its attractive points. With a plethora of meat choices available with cooked and uncooked options, this is the place to be when you are broke and starving. You can find different cuts of decently marinated meats and Korean side dishes like kimchi fried rice, fried sweet potatoes and bulgogi beef. Quality of the meat here is obviously not as splendid, but with the array of dishes placed in front of you, you will be happily spoilt for choice.
A la carte
If trips to KBBQ restaurants that serve simple meats have become monotonous for you, Nanta BBQ offers a novel take on hot plate cuisine. Identified as a modern fusion eatery rather than a KBBQ restaurant, you can still satisfy your meat cravings here with their top-selling Cheese Deng-Galbi Set ($58). Featuring sweet-spicy tender pork ribs sitting obediently on the sizzling pan, it is accompanied by a pool of creamy mozzarella cheese. Be prepared for a spectacle as the server helps you wrap the stunning, stretchy cheese around the delicious pork ribs.
From aged kimchi and pickled radish to Korean fish cakes and egg rolls, enjoy a reasonable spread of sides to go with your main dish.
Buffet or a la carte
Besides the hefty buffet price tag that starts at $29++ for weekday lunches and $38++ for weekend dinners, Ju Shin Jung sets itself apart from other KBBQ restaurants by serving authentic fresh cuts and being one of the most spacious KBBQ restaurants in Singapore. There is even a mini indoor playground for the little ones as the adults down their bottles of soju.
The restaurant offers both a la carte and buffet dining. For the buffet eaters, you are entitled to one main dish from a selection of choices like Bibimbap, Cold Noodles or Spicy Tofu Soup, along with unlimited meats and juicy tiger prawns. At Ju Shin Jung, your meal ends the Korean way with vinegar tea and fruit, which truly showcases their attention to detail.
Another huge plus point – the banchan (side dish) spread is EX-TEN-SIVE. From the all-time favourite kimchi to a unique pumpkin cream, you could get stuffed just from devouring the sides. It might just be their strategy to deter you from ordering more meat, so don’t fall into the trap!
Buffet or a la carte
Infamous for its poorly-ventilated and stuffy interior, 2D1N still manages to garner snaking queues with people who are desperate for their juicy meats. There are two storeys to this place, with the lower storey serving a la carte orders, and the upper level offering a mouth-watering meat buffet which is actually run by Ssikkek. If you don’t mind walking around smelling like a hot piece of smoked meat, then go ahead and marinate yourself in heat of the second storey, where a delicious free flow of meats awaits you.
At just $22++ all day everyday, even on weekends, you can demolish the buffet line of beef, pork, chicken, prawns, and even mussels. Apart from its atmosphere that leaves much to be desired, 2D1N/Ssikkek also has the reputation of serving up beef bulgogi slices that are to die for.
If you are not prepared to sweat like a pig, you can opt for a seat on the lower level where a la carte orders of KBBQ fare like beautiful, fatty Samgyeopsal ($18) and Korean dishes like the Seafood & Chive Pancake ($20) are available.
Not to be underestimated as the less-experienced, noob child of I’m Kim KBBQ restaurant at SOTA, I’m Kim Junior provides an even larger variety for its buffet than mainstream KBBQ restaurants. Besides the usual spread of marinated beef, chicken, and pork, you will be entitled to a DIY army stew and stir-fry seafood or chicken galbi. Summon your inner chef to grab the free-flow ingredients like rice cakes, mushrooms, kimchi, and even cheese($3++/100g) and whip up your own creative dishes.
Starting at only $14.80++/adult for a weekday lunch, prices are only bumped up to $24.80++ for weekend dinner. Prices start as low as $12.90++ for students. Be sure not to miss out on their marinated meats like teriyaki, black pepper chicken, or for heat-lovers, the volcano chicken and spicy pork collar. Cooked food like their signature Korean chicken wings and even truffle fries are all yours to pile on your plate.
I understand that it is not a simple feat, but do refrain from going crazy and having hearty gulps of army stew before you even get to the meats.
What’s that sound? Oh, pardon me, it’s just my tummy rumbling. If you are like me, helplessly seduced by these pictures, why not treat yourself to a KBBQ feast soon at one of these restaurants? If there are any places you feel are left out from this list, you are welcome to let us know!