Korean cuisine in Singapore have gone through several stages. In the early days, Seoul Garden BBQ and hotpot led the forefront in providing affordable Korean BBQ buffets – at one point, I paid less than $10 as a student- that was my first induction to Korean cuisine, which to me consisted of spicy marinated meats charred over a BBQ. This grew simultaneously with Korean Cuisine appearing in our food courts similarly serving meat on hotplates and instant noodles.
Later came the likes of family-style restaurants along Tanjong Pagar serving a plethora of Korean food with generous portions of banchan (read: free appetizers in Korean meals), from cold sweet potato noodles to army stews, BBQ meats to bibimbaps. Singaporeans developed more sophiscated needs for Korean food, seeking authenticity as they themselves are seasoned travelers to Korea.
Then came the Korean fried chicken takeover, with fried chicken joints opening in popular shopping malls in the heartlands, and alongside that came the soju houses serving liquor, cocktails and fusion food.
Fundamentally having lived through these golden ages of Korean food, ssamgyetang (read: Korean ginseng chicken soup) remain a mainstay in my preferred dish. There are days marinated meat and fried chicken are too cloying and unappetizing, but never a day can I muster a “no” to ginseng chicken soup.
The ssamgyetang ($24.80) at Hansang Korean Family Restaurant at Square2 came bubbling hot in the earthen bowl, a testament of this restaurant’s commitment to good food. The chicken was fall off the bone tender and the glutinous rice stuffing well seasoned. The soup is flavourful without being overpowering, and made for an excellent protein-rich meal.
I also had the kimchi and pork pancake ($11.80) which seemed a little small when it arrived but packed a punch in terms of flavour and the texture was just right- slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
This place is great for family dining and down-to-earth Korean food.
Hansang Korean Family Restaurant