Chicken Delight @ Andong Zzimdak

2016-03-16 12.24.13 (500x640)From the good folks who brought you Yoogane, the popular Chicken Galbi BBQ restaurant, comes a new Korean delicacy speciality restaurant, Andong Zzimdak, which specialises in jjimdak – a steamed, braised chicken dish marinated in a sweet-and-savoury-broth. With over 65 outlets in South Korea, its Raffles City restaurant is its first in South-East Asia.
2016-03-16 12.22.56 (605x640)You could find jjimdak dishes in some Korean family restaurants but Andong Zzimdak is the first to specialise on the signature dish which hails from Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, a province that apparently rears loads of chickens. A typical jjimdak dish features braised chicken stewed in a sauce made from spicy ganjang (Korean soy) and mulyeot (Korean corn syrup), and served with potatoes, carrots on a bed of thick sweet potato noodles. And it’s seldom served small, no sirree – it’s traditionally served in a massive plate meant to be shared between two to four people, and here in Singapore, the dish follows suit.

During a media tasting session, Musings on the M49 got a chance to try out the jjimdak that is popular with many Korean households. The original Andong Zzimdak is pictured above ($45.90 M / $55.90 L) and seriously, it can feed a family of five or more. The chicken pieces are tender and well complemented with the other items such as the soft potatoes and chewy sweet potato noodles. Not forgetting the generous free-flow portions of kimchi and pickles.
2016-03-16 12.24.03 (640x612)If you prefer your jjimdak to be more spicy, opt for the Mayak Jimmdak (pictured above; $47.90 M / $57.90 L). The broth is spicier and more reddish in colour (though not chilly hot) than Andong Jimmdak but the ingredients are no less palatable. There are also two other jjimdak dishes to choose from – Boneless Jjimdak ($49.90 M / $59.90 L) and Seafood Jjimdak ($52.90 M / $65.90 L)
2016-03-16 12.24.38 (597x640)If you can’t get a posse to share a jjimdak with you,  fret not, there are mini items that a solo diner can dine on. Set lunch meals include the highly recommended Andong Zzimdak Fried Rice set ($12.90 with one drink) which is fluffy and fragrant rice topped with chicken karaage, a sunny-side-up egg and spring onions. Other side dishes include chicken karaage, mini seafood pancake, and spicy dokboki or rice cake (all $9.90 each).
2016-03-16 12.17.54 (542x640)Drinks wise, there’s a variety you can try – light fare includes Brown Rice Green Tea ($2) and Iced Citron Tea ($3.50). Or you can try something stronger such as the popular Soju ($19.90 per bottle) which is actually quite light and which goes very well with the jjimdak. There’s also  Makegeolli or Korean Rice Wine ($19.90 per bottle) which is also worth a try.
2016-03-16 12.19.32 (407x640)If beer is your thing, go for Hite ($12.90), the reliable Korean pale lager which is light and refreshing. If you can handle your liquor, consider trying a “somac” – mixed half a glass shot of soju to 70% of Hite in a glass beer – and feel the smoothness down your throat as you down it slowly. Remember though, if you plan to drink, don’t drive…

Just like Yoogane, Andong Zzimbak is a place best enjoyed with a group of friends or at least with someone who can eat a lot or totally love chicken. From Mon-Thu, 6pm – 930pm, there’s a 1-for-1 drinks  for their HITE Beer, Soju and Makegeolli.

Andong Zzimbak is at B1-44F, Raffles City Shopping Centre, 11.30am to 10pm daily. Tel: 6533 3951


Value-4-Money BBQ Buffet @ K.Cook Korean

20141115_182413I’ve been a fan of Seoul Garden for years but now there’s a new kid in town which is definitely giving my longtime Korean BBQ buffet fave a good run for its money. Located on the 7th floor of Orchard Central, K.Cook Korean has been enjoying good word of mouth and it was easy to see why. Sited at the corner facing the main road, it has an air-conditioned dining area but I would advise you to get a table at the bigger non-AC area as (i) it’s covered but airy so the BBQ smell won’t stick to your clothes; (2) if you get a table by the side, you can enjoy great scenic views of Orchard Road; and (3) there’s a giant screen showing videos of K-pop stars on the loop which, even if you are not a fan, provides some entertainment while you are enjoying your grub and grog.

20141115_180057The buffet fare may not seem as extensive as Seoul Garden but just the meat portions alone are worth the buffet price alone, and then some. Selections include beef ribeye, beef short ribs, beef bulgogi, pork belly and pork collar, most of which are in generous portions – some presented in well-sliced raw cuts, others well-marinated. There’s also a cooked food section that offers items such as braised chicken, stewed vegetables and Korean pancakes. Korean cooking is not big on seafood but raw prawns and squids are available for BBQ.

Last but not least, garnishes and condiments are aplenty as well and you can choose from fresh lettuce and potato salads, to Korean kimchi and various pickles. At K.Cook, a huge rectangular, not-stick hot pan (see top picture) that runs on gas is used for the cooking and it’s quite practical, with the food items cooking within seconds once the heat builds up. The servers are also always on hand to help you with the configurations, replace the gas can or change the pan if needed. Just wished they were a tad faster if removing the empty plates from the table but then again, we were there on a very busy Saturday evening.
Plain water comes with the buffet but soft drinks, juices and liquors are available on the a la carte menu. Though there were Korean rice wine or cheongju available, we just had to try the South Korean beer Hite which is a light lager, smooth and refreshing, and which goes down very well with all the red meats we were having. And it was decently cheap too – the tall bottle you see here cost us just $10. If we knew – we didn’t check the price when ordering *duh* – we would have ordered more!

All in all, K.Cook was truly value for money. Weekend dinner buffet was S$26.90 and three persons with 2 bottles of beer only cost us less than $120 and all we could eat too. The place actually offers discounts such as if you can finish your meal within an hour (10% I think according to a poster we saw) or if you leave before 7pm on a busy weekend night etc, but seriously, one shouldn’t rush at all at a BBQ buffet. Take time to cook all food well and make time to savour them bite by bite. Just make sure you get to K.Cook at the right time on Fridays and Saturdays as those are the days they don’t accept reservations. For us, lucky we were there by 5.45pm last Saturday ‘cos within 5 minutes – all food-loving Singaporeans think alike! – the place with over 40 small tables was packed, with a queue that got longer and longer. Me thinks it’s going to be very popular for a very long time yet…