Enjoy fancy pairings of soju, makgeolli and cocktails with skewered grilled items
Photos: Hansul Korean Dining Bar
Ever since I visited Seoul and was privy to their drinking culture, or more specifically, the pojangmacha (soju tents) that dotted the empty lots, I found myself wishing Singapore had something of its equivalence.
The fancy-free ambience, coupled with cosy company huddled around a smoking grill, was only second to the sheer variety of Korean spirits available.
While Singapore (probably) won’t be getting soju tents anytime soon, the newly-opened Hansul Korean Dining Bar offers one of the most extensive selection of Korean liqueurs I’ve seen locally.
The newly-opened Hansul Korean Dining Bar offers one of the most extensive selection of Korean liqueurs I’ve seen locally.
To put things into perspective, their beverage menu features a repertoire of over 60 kinds of makgeolli, cheongju, soju and cocktails from all over Korea — some of which are exclusive to them.
We started with a shot of the Baekseju ($10 per bottle) each, with owner Haden Hee promptly reminding us to “bottoms up!”
Touted as Asia’s No.1 herbal wine, the fermented wine is said to be brewed in a patented method based on the traditional formula of Korean wine.
At first sip, the taste was slightly medicinal thanks to the use of oriental herbs including ginseng, ginger and cinnamon, but it soon mellowed into a mild, pleasant flavour.
Fans of the sweet, alcoholic drink that is makgeolli, will be spoilt for choice at Hansul.
They offer interesting labels like the Korean Omija Makgeolli ($19 per bottle), which is said to contain five distinct flavours, namely salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.
Once poured, the cloudy pink drink looked more like strawberry milk. As I savoured it, the sweetness and sourness were far more pronounced than any other of the flavours.
For something a little more classic, the Choga Woori Rice Makgeolli ($19 per bottle) offers a crisp and clean flavour profile with a faint sour edge.
Prepared on the Hwa-ro, a personalised charcoal grill, the well-marinated meat skewers make great snacks without being too greasy.
“Hwa-ro” charcoal dishes
Before going in for the alcohol, one would be wise to line their bellies with Hansul’s signature “hwa-ro” charcoal dishes.
Prepared on the Hwa-ro, a personalised charcoal grill, the well-marinated meat skewers (from $2 each) make great snacks without being too greasy.
Apart from skewered items, go for the Signature Boneless Chicken Wing ($6.90 per piece).
The grilled wings are stuffed with seasoned, glutinous rice and tossed with Korean spicy sauce. Overall, they were tasty and gave our taste buds a good kick.
Hits and misses
While the charcoal grilled items and wings were tasty, not everything was equally impressive.
The Truffle Someon Fries, presented like sticks of uncooked spaghetti in a jar and coated with a cheesy, truffle-like sauce, was not a crowd favourite.
Our advice: Stick to the drinks — it’s what they’re great for.
Plus, did we mention they stay open all the way till 6am?
21 Tanjong Pagar Road