Finally had the chance to try out Yoogane, the popular Korean Chicken Galbi restaurant at Bugis Junction, as co-workers were willing to wait in line till me and another friend got there. There’s always a perenniel queue at the outlet and I usually don’t have the patience to wait to check it out.
Well, it’s easy to see its popularity. For starters, you need to like chicken. And have it stir-fried in a special Korean spicy marinate. Then lump it with various vegetables, seafood and even rice, and a waiter/waitress will cook it right in front of you in a giant pan on the table. It’s the novelty of it, if not for anything else. And definitely fun if you have a group of friends clashing elbows in a tight table, jostling for their share of the food.
My friends ordered the Seafood with Chicken Galbi ($58.90 for 3-4 pax) that came with vegetables (don’t quite remember what as they were all charred black after the cooking) and prawns, mussels and octopus. I personally felt the chicken is overcooked and could be better if they are bigger pieces but then I understand it will be tough to stir-fry on the spot. My personal favourites were the truly fresh and juicy tiger prawns which were cooked just nice, as was the bits of octopus.
There was also a side order of Galbi fried rice with mozzarella cheese ($14.50). This will be cooked by the waitress when your table is ready for it, so you kinda have to wait till she’s done before you can eat again. She basically will search for whatever bits of meat is left on your pan (pictured above) and stir-fry the rice with it along with the cheese. Again, it’s fascinating but I also wondered if it would have been more practical if we simply cooked it ourselves as the ingredients were already there at the table! Also, watch out for splashing sauces when cooking is being done – one friend had dashes splattered on her pure white top and needless to say, she was quite upset… I guessed that’s why bibs are handed out to every diner!
Cool bit too is that utensils and servelts are conveniently available in drawers by the side of the table and bottles of drinking water is quickly replenished upon asking. There is a “free flow” salad bar that comes with each entree order but seriously it’s just kimchi and a few fruit choices.
Well, it was a fun outing. Not sure if I would queue for it again but if I’m with a group of friends I don’t see why not as we ended up paying about $26 each (there was 5 of us) and there was more than enough to go round. We shall see. I mean there’s always Seoul Garden for much more variety…. :p