The Korean wave, which first reached our shores in the 1990s, just gets bigger and bigger! I love this wave. I embrace all their dramas, food, makeup and even electronic products with all my heart. Recently, their drinks got to my heart too. Well specifically, Makgeolli. If you are like me, Hansul Korean Dining Bar will be a good place to check out.
Although Hansul is not opened by Koreans, it is by Singaporean entrepreneur Haden Hee while his General Manager is Korean, the friendly Park Jun Ho.
With an insider here, you can be assured that Hansul will bring you the latest Korean trend (currently, it’s the ‘Hwa-ro’ Dining Craze) and the most extensive range of Korean liqueurs so that you can get a taste and sip of Korea without leaving Singapore.
Since this is a Korean eatery, banchan is mandatory, right? Of course!
But instead of serving you many plates of different side dish, Hansul serves complimentary kimchi, marinated octopus and a hot soup as appetizer.
I love Korean food but many times I have to postpone my Korean food cravings because I find myself with only 1 dining partner – not enough diners to share the huge family portions that most Korean restaurants serve. So I am glad that Hansul provides smaller portions that are suitable for a smaller group.
Hwaro Grill, a personal mini charcoal grill, is supposedly the latest food trend that is taking Korea by storm. Seeing this, I am reminded of my younger days where I regularly charcoal grill food with friends at East Coast Park. And it was so much fun!
Choose your favourite skewers and start grilling away! Tomato Skewer is S$2++, Pork Belly/Prawn Skewers are S$4++ each and Beef Short Rib with Rice Cake/Enoki Mushroom Skewer is S$6++.
They also have an interesting Long Legged Octopus Skewer (S$8++), which was sweet and tender but a tad expensive.
Army Stew or Budae Jjigae (S$25++) is a classic Korean dish served with spam, sausage, ham, kimchi dumpling, baked beans, sliced rice cakes, vegetables and noodles. It arrived cutely presented in a Chinese dim sum basket. While most Army Stews come in enormous portions meant for a big group, this one was perfect for 2 to share.
Next is a crowd favourite and also one of the best sellers at Hansul. The Honey Butter Chicken Bumbuk (S$24++) was a dish of deep fried boneless chicken chunks served in a cheesy sauce. This was pretty good at first bite but the rich flavours get overwhelming after a while. It will make an excellent dish for sharing within a bigger group.
As a fan of tofu, I was intrigued by this dish because I have never encountered tofu cooked this way. Classily named Soft Tofu Au Gratin (S$14.90++), this consists of round tofu topped with melted cheese in a beef bolognese (tomato minced meat) sauce. This was simple but delicious.
The Hansul Croquette (S$8++) is a creamy stuffed with crab meat, butter and onion. As I am not a fan of croquettes and creamy dishes, I did not try this. Judging from the response of my fellow diners, you can probably skip this dish, like I did.
And before you go, don’t forget to order the Basak Gamja Cheese Jeon (S$9.90++), a crispy potato pancake served with egg and parmesan cheese. This was like a thin crust rosti and was very addictive. Trust me, you won’t regret ordering this!
Many bars serve complimentary snacks to complement their alcoholic drinks and Hansul is no exception. Instead of the usual nuts and chips, roasted seaweed was served. I like that it is crispy and not too salty.
As a “drink-centric” Korean styled bar, Hansul prides itself on carrying over 60 kinds of Korean Makgeolli, Cheongju, Soju and Cocktails. To cater to a wider audience, a selection of Italian wines and ciders are also available. And just in case there are non-drinkers in your group, soft drinks can also be found in the menu, although that’s not why you are here for.
For light drinkers, I would recommend you their Peach Makgeolli (S$19++, 750ml), a sweet rice wine made with peach puree. With only 3% alcohol content, it is a very easy to drink alcoholic beverage and is immensely popular with the ladies. Other interesting Makgeolli on the menu are the Banana Makgeolli (4% alcohol, 750ml), Omija or Five Flavour Makgeolli (7% alcohol, 360ml) and the Purple Sweet Potato Makgeolli (8% alcohol, 375ml), each retailing at S$19++.
If you like to have a beer, R4 (S$10++, 330ml) will be a good choice. A fusion blend that combines sparkling and soju (rice beer), it has a mild finish and an alcohol content of 5.8%.
More serious drinkers opt for Italian wines, vodka or try one of the Korean Cocktail Soju, Cha Eul Su Rok (S$18++, 360ml). This Apple Soju has an alcohol content of 16%. Despite the high alcohol content, I still found this easy to drink because of the apple juice added.
And if dessert wines are your thing, you could try Seoljungmae (S$22++, 360ml), which has plums added for flavour and sweetness.
Opened daily from 5pm to 6am, Hansul is an ideal place for night owls who like Korean food and drinks. Foods are generally good and come in portions that suit even a pair of 2.
Hansul Korean Dining Bar
21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-05, Singapore 088444
Tel: +65 6906 7088
Monday – Sunday 1700 to 0600
- Opp Fairfield Methodist Church along Tanjong Pagar Road 80, 145
- Maxwell Road Food Centre along Tanjong Pagar Road 80, 145
- After Kreta Ayer Road along Neil Road 61, 166, 197
- North East line or East-West line – Outram Park station
- East-West line – Tanjong Pagar station
*Disclaimer: This was a media invite.
Written by Denise Chua myfoodstory.sg.