Nunsongyee, the Korean Dessert Cafe and their signature Bingsu

Nunsongyee (눈송이), the Korean Dessert Cafe and their Bingsu

Address (Google Map): 45 Burghley Drive #01-04, Burghley Lifestyle Hub (beside Tennis Court)

Opening hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm. Closed on Mon

Introduction

Nunsongyee (snowflake) is a relatively new Korean dessert cafe that is situated in one of the really ulu location, among the landed properties at the Serangoon Gardens vacinity. They specialise in authentic Korean dessert, mainly Bingsu, and things like toast and even spicy rice cake. It was quite empty at 11.30 am and i took this opportunity to have a short conversation with the young Korean lady boss.

Miss Eun Jin, the lady boss, quits her job in Singapore after two years and decided to open a cafe selling her country’s most popular dessert – Bingsu. She is confident that Singaporeans, that are well known for the love for food, will embrace this dessert.

She also explained between lower rental, larger shop area and convenient location, she chose the first two. She does not want to sacrifice the larger floor area, which equates to her customer’s comfort, in exchange for a convenient location in town.

Menu: Click to enlarge

Injeomi Bingsu

Bingsu, the signature dish of Nunsongyee, is currently the most popular dessert in South Korea. This cafe is best known for it’s unique Injeomi Bingsu. Injeomi is basically sweet Korean rice cake (tteok) made by steaming and pounding and the end product is usually tossed in powdered coating that is made from dried beans, nuts or seeds.

It’s something like our Muah Chee but they grind the powder really fine. I think the roasted soy bean and almond taste are the most evident and with added sugar. Don’t judge the taste of this Injeomi Bingsu by it’s appearance.

In my opinion, Nunsongyee’s Injeomi Bingsu is really well done. Usually we don’t associate cold dessert with powdered nuts or beans because the end product would be messy and lumpy. The saw-dust-like finely shaved milk ice and the powder mixed unexpectedly well and creates a blend of peanut-butter-like texture when consumed together. The sticky rice cake goes perfectly with the not overly sweet mixture and it completes the dish by adding a dimension of chewiness into the crunchy, ice sweet texture.

The Bingsu I had in Seoul also pales in comparison to this. And the secret to the great taste? Mother’s love. No. Really. Miss Eun Jin’s explaned that her mother personally selected these ingredients and sent it over from South Korea in order to preserve the authentic Korean taste.

Korean Strawberry Bingsu

If you like to have something that is less sinful, this premium strawberry Bingsu may be a good choice. Note that the premium is in term of ingredient but not such much about the taste.

Stacked with slices of fresh Korean Strawberry with crunchy red beans hidden beneath the shaved ice, it’s topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Fans of Korean Strawberry will find this a delight. I find this especially enjoyable during a hot sunny afternoon (or probably lost your way while trying to look for this place).

In term of taste, I still prefer the Injeomi Bingsu because no matter how sweet a strawberry is, it unavoidable that it still has a tinge of sourness. But there’s also a scoop of ice cream that made up for it, which is nice. For people who has a sweeter tooth, there is also a cup of condense milk blend provided. I poured everything in by the way.

Honey Toast with Ice Cream

This is also my favourite. At $12.90, it’s actually kind of pricy for a serving of toast but i really love the taste. How should i describe this dish?

Imagine a generous serving of butter melted over two slices of thick crispy toast, with pieces of sweet chewy rice cake sandwiched between the toast, drizzled with honey and topped with a scoop of smooth creamy ice cream.

It reminds me of a less fluffy version of Shibuya Toast that i had in Bangkok, only not as thick. If you ask me, will i pay $12.90 for this toast on my next visit, I probably will say yes.

Conclusion

I thought Nunsongyee has a first mover advantage because Bingsu is not a craze in Singapore, yet. No matter the price, as long as taste is right, we Singaporeans are generally willing to spend a bit more and to travel abit more.

Before the gantry into the Burghley Lifestyle Hub

I previously had one Bingsu at a stall near Clarke Quay and it was a disappointment and too far off from the authentic taste. However it’s a different story for Nunsongyee. It’s very much similar to the ones i had in Seoul and i find comfort in having a good Bingsu without travelling to Seoul.

Nunsongyee Dessert Cafe on the left

No doubt the price is to the higher side and it’s not exactly a cheap dessert, i guess this is the premium price to pay if we want an imported authentic taste of Korean food. For me personally, I am quite certain that I will return to Nunsongyee.

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Korean BBQ at Myeongdong, Seoul

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Korean BBQ (강호동 백정)

*Update. The Dongdaemun Branch that i went had apparently moved and therefore i will indicate the address of their most popular Myeongdong branch instead*

English Address (Google Map): 3-3 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 중구 명동2가 3-3

Introduction

Korean BBQ restaurants can be found at almost every corner of Seoul and the pricing can differs a lot depending on the shop, as well as the type of Meat ordered. Baekjeong is one of the popular and reasonably priced BBQ restaurant.

Baekjeong is a restaurant opened by a top Korean host Kang Ho-Dong (강호동/姜虎东). For Running Man fans, you may have heard of Yoo Jae-suk. Both Yoo Jae-suk and Kang Ho-Dong are said to be among the best comedian/host in South Korea. Kang Ho-Dong’s masterpiece includes X-Man (co-host with Jae-suk), Star King and Happy Sunday: 2 Days 1 Night. The unique thing about Baekjeong is they use charcoal stove for grilling instead of a gas one.

Menu 1: Click to enlarge

Menu 2: Click to enlarge

Marinated Pork Belly

I had my share of unmarinated meat at runningman Haha’s restaurant Paljamakchang already so I decided to try the marinated version this time. For marinated meat, remember to request for netted grill instead of a flat grill. Else the marinate will stick to the pan and the meat will be burnt very easily.

The marinated pork belly cost W$8900 ($10.90) for two slices (150g) . Their pork belly is really well flavored in a sweet spicy marinate. I am instantly hooked to the sweet BBQ fragrance of their pork belly. The crispy tender pork belly is especially enjoyable when wrapped in fresh lettuce, green onion and garlic.

Fresh and Crunchy Lettuce

Tada – The end product

Marinated Pork Rib W$9900 (S$12.00)

The Rib cut is always my must-order for Korean BBQ because of it’s tender and succulent nature. Baekjeong’s rib looks absolutely appetizing and taste equally good for it’s price. Although it’s not the best tasting rib I had, there is absolutely no complain.

The Rib cut.

I didn’t order alot because this is my supper meal. On top of the grilled meat, Baekjeong BBQ comes with a portion of Egg, which is serve in a hollow of the BBQ plate. The taste is actually quite ordinary, like our steamed egg, but it just feels kind of nice to grill your own hot plate egg and it’s complimentary.

Conclusion

The price of Baekjeong BBQ items are very reasonable so i can order without worrying too much on the price. The tables are very well spaced from each others and staff are friendly so it’s quite a good dining experience. The quality of the food is quite decent and I left the place feeling well satisfied with my Korean BBQ craving fulfilled.

The side dishes

Map and Directions

Actually the direction is exactly the same to Myeongdong Gyoja and it’s along the same street.

1. Come out from Exit 8 of Myeongdong Station, turn to your left and walk straight for three to five minutes

2. Past two cross junctions and turn right at the 3rd one

3. You should be able to see Baekjeong

The Legendary Tosokchon – The Best in Seoul

Tosokchon (토속촌)

Address (Naver Map): 서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5

Address (Google Map): 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Operating Hours: 10.00am to 10.00pm daily

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

Ginseng Chicken Soup, or otherwise known as Samgyetang (삼계탕),  is one of the most well known Korean dishes. It’s prepared by boiling a whole young chicken that is stuffed with glutinous rice in a broth of Korean Ginseng. Other herbs and spices such as jujube fruits, gingko nuts, garlic, ginger, wolfberry and Danggui (or otherwise known as Angelic Sinensis) or other medicinal herbs may also be added.

When people ask about the best Samgyetang in Seoul,  the name Tosokchon will always pop up. Tosokchon is a restaurant that was converted from a traditional Hanok that is situated near Gyeongbokgung station.

Apart from the food, you also get to enjoy the dining experience in a Hanok. Dining areas are divided into rooms with a few tables.  Guests are to remove their shoes before entering and the dining will be at the low lying tables. There is no chair, just cushions on the floor.

As seen in the photo, it is NOT wise to visit during meal hour. I returned at about 4 pm (on a weekday) and to my delight, the is no queue and I got a seat right away.

Samgyetang (W$15000)

This legendary ginseng Chicken Soup was said to be well loved by a South Korea late president Roh Moo Hyun. Despite of having a history of only twenty years (comparing to restaurant such as AndongJang, Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki, Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari), they had established a reputation as one of the best Samgyetang in Seoul.

Tosokchon uses free range young chicken (no more than 49 days old) and they are butchered and delivered fresh daily, making for only the tenderest meat.

Tosokchon’s Samgyetang is very distinct for it’s rich chicken broth and for it’s strong ginseng taste. Depending on personal preference, the ginseng taste can be a Yay or Nay. Unlike some Samgyetang that only contains a tinge of ginseng taste (or totally none while they still claim that it’s Ginseng Chicken Soup), this one is full of it.

Look at the size of the ginseng.

The ginseng taste is especially strong in it’s glutinous rice and some may even find it bitter to a certain extend. For those who don’t like ginseng taste and want to have some authentic Korean chicken soup,  you may want to try Dakhanmari.

Stuffed Glutinous Rice in Chicken

The chicken soup is really thick and rich that the broth turned milky instead of a clear broth. I can literally taste the freshness and sweetness of the chicken just by drinking the soup alone. However note that the soup is intentionally lightly-seasoned (I like my soup a little saltier), therefore do remember to add salt and pepper according to your taste preference.

The chicken meat is super tender and moist and the meat easily falls off from the bone by just using a pair of chopsticks. Dip the chicken into salt and pepper too if you demand more flavour. By the way, the portion of a bowl of Samgyetang is good enough to be shared by a couple.

Conclusion

I found a few Best Samgyetang candidate from online but Tosokchon is the most accessible so I decided to pop by. I can’t decide for sure that it’s the best Samgyetang in Seoul but it’s indeed the best I had.

Tosokchon is also frequently visited by Chinese and Japanese tourists so do avoid meal time as much as possible. Did I mention the staff at Tosokchon speaks English and Mandarin?

As it’s location is relatively near one of Seoul’s most popular attraction Gyeongbokgung Palace, do pop by to immerse yourself in their Korean dining culture if you happen to visit this attraction.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

 

Map and Directions

 

The route to Tosokchon is rather straight forward. Exit from Gyeongbokgung MRT station Exit 2.

Walk along the main road for about 200m.

When you reach a cross junction, turn left and you should see Tosokchon.