I'm going to call a time-out from my Korea entries, but that doesn't mean this post will be any less Korean!
I never had a proper Korean meal in Singapore before, largely because I wasn't really interested in their food culture. But the ACCE trip did change that mentality quite a bit and spurred me on to see if Korean restaurants here serve anything close to the real stuff. So when my friends asked for a dinner place in town, they literally jaw-dropped when I suggested Sarang!
Located at the chillingly-empty Orchard Central, Sarang seemed to be recommended by several online sources for affordable and authentic Korean food. I previously missed a media invite to the place, so this was a good chance for me to try out its offerings. The alfresco area had a pretty good view of Orchard Road, but with all of us fearful of the heat, air-conditioned indoor please!
Complimentary Seaweed Snackers
Rather addictive munchies, we cleared one bowl of it even before deciding on our orders! The cheerful staff gladly filled it up again!
Yin Yang Pancakes ($5.80)
Freshly made upon order, we thought that the Kimchi one tasted better than the other scallion one. A little too starchy for me, while the 5 of us barely had more than two mouthfuls of the small pancakes.
Jajang Meyon ($8.80)
Although I didn't eat this while in Korea, I'm pretty sure it shouldn't taste like this. Overcooked, squashy noodles, diluted black bean sauce and just two slices of hard boiled egg that hardly had the yolk in it. It was already among the cheapest main course on the menu but still gave me the grossly overpriced feel.
A buddy shared this with his girlfriend and almost immediately regretted after seeing the small portion. Not only that, he mentioned that the bean paste was quite diluted too. And the tiny quail eggs are, to put it bluntly, a joke. How much more would it cost to throw in a proper chicken egg really?
Chicken Stew ($13.80)
They also shared this and commented that the spice taste overwhelmed any other flavours in the soup, which I concurred after stealing a sip. Lets just move on.
Piggy Jump Over The Wall ($13.80), Steamed Rice Set ($2.80)
Finally, something decent! I rather enjoyed my kimchi broth which was hearty and not overwhelming spicy, as the cabbage pieces and tofu absorbed the flavours nicely. There was also a dumpling that had a rather good chewy skin. However, the quantity issue struck again. There were only a grand total of 3 slices of pork belly, which I had to treasure and ration for my bowl of rice.
Speaking of the add-on rice set, one thing I learnt about the Koreans is their generosity with free-flow rice and endless spread of side dishes (Banchan). To be fair, I didn't try asking for a refill here, but with just two side dishes (strands of kimchi and a handful of stewed peanuts), the price was quite a rip off already.
Total bill for five was $82.86 after taxes. Leaving half hungry and more than half wallet empty, I was almost too embarrassed to face my friends for suggesting Sarang. First attempt at Singapore-Korean food; miserable fail. I need a solid replacement for bibimbaps, stews and pancakes that can feed hungry boys. Anybody?