While it is relatively easy to find Korean restaurants in Singapore, it is difficult to find a truly outstanding place that will make you go back again and again to try everything else on the menu that you have not tried. Big Mama Korean Restaurant at Kim Tian Road is one of the few that belongs to this category. The food is generally good, and addictive enough to make you return on a regular basis.
It is better to go to Big Mama in a big group as many of their signature dishes come in big hearty portions. One of the most popular dishes which you will see every table ordering is the Dakgalbi ($15/pax, min 2 pax). Pan-fried chicken with vegetable, rice cake, sweet potato cooked in a spicy sauce. There is also the Pan-Fried Bulgogi ($50) which is a savoury combination of well-seasoned beef and rice cake. The remaining two dishes on the Big Mama’s recommendation list are Pan Fried Pork Belly ($40) and Suyuk ($25/40), pork belly boiled in water and served with various sauces.
While the prices of the signature dishes seem steep, the portions are meant for sharing. So it works out to be a decent meal that is not too gruelling on the wallet. But even if you are not in a big group — and one of the reasons why I love Big Mama — the menu offers plenty of choices.
There are the usual favourites like Ramyeon ($8), Pork Bulgogi ($13), Bibimbap ($14), Kimchi Fried Rice ($12), Seafood Soft Bean Curd Soup ($14), Kimchi Soup ($14). If you like Kimchi Pancake, you will love Big Mama’s rendition ($15) with finely chopped kimchi and seafood.
Big Mama also offers BBQ Meat like Grilled Pork Belly ($18), Grilled Boneless Beef Rib ($28) and Grilled Pork Collar ($18). While the meat was well-marinated and cooked to a good standard, it did not take our breath away.
The star of the menu was the Jjambbong Jeongol ($25/40) – a delicious spicy hot pot of mussels, prawns, clams, squids and kimchi which you see in the first photo of this post – with its balanced medley of savoury, sweet and spicy flavours. This is simple and honest food that I can eat on a regular basis, especially on rainy days.
I was not particularly fond of the Fish Cake Hot Pot ($20/35). Perhaps because it paled in comparison to the spicy seafood stew, and perhaps because it was too overwhelming to have a whole pot of fish cake.
Big Mama is extremely popular, so getting in without a reservation is very difficult, especially during dinner. The food is addictive and familiar, and it is a place that deserves more recognition.
2 Kim Tian Road
Tel: +65 6270 7704
Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm