There are days in the month where you feel like you can eat a cow or a whole pig and when those days come, Korean barbeque is usually the cuisine that satisfies that meat craving. There are countless number of Korean restaurants with Korean owners that everything seems authentic. This particular outlet at Chinatown Point is extremely popular with Koreans and the price is very wallet friendly so I decided to give it a try.
The restaurant itself is typical of a Korean restaurant with beer or soju posters with Korean celebrities plastered all over the walls. Each tables comes with their own exhaust pipe that will suck up all the smoke from the grill to reduce the oily smokey smell.
The restaurant itself is pretty spacious with many sections catering to different customers. Most of their seating is catered for 4 guests in a group with the pipes.
Most patrons will take the buffet which is at SGD 32 for weekdays and SGD 35 for weekends ( before tax) Students get an 8 to 9 % discount from the adult price by showing their student pass. The buffet allows you to choose a appetizer dish per person, 1 free stew per table, 1 portion of premium meat per person and endless meat from the normal section.
There is also an area at the front of the restaurant where you can get endless toppings of salad, vegetables, sauces and drinks
The lettuce for wrapping your meat Korean style is also at the self service counter
There are 2 variety of drinks provided; the plum, the barley tea and of course plain water. Any other kinds of drinks are chargeable. The plum drink surprisingly tasted a lot like Ribena.
On top of all the items included in the buffet, the restaurant still serves 6 small banchan dishes which is typically of all Korean restaurants. I am not sure if the banchan here is refillable since I did not get to ask as there was too much food. The kimchi was very nicely fermented with a good crunch. The rest of the banchan was general.
The Japchae serving was quite big and had a nice balanced flavour as all the noodles has fully absorbed the soy sauce and the other ingredients are only lightly seasoned.
The seafood pancake was surprisingly crispy and light. The batter was not too thick and there was sufficient ingredients in each piece.
For the premium meat, we ordered the pork skirting and prawn and the server for these plates were rather small. There was only 2 prawns which equates to 1 per person and a handful of the skirting meat. The meat was well seasoned and very tender even after grilling. The prawns were huge and fresh and were wonderful when grilled together with the meat.
The servings of the normal meat was slightly more generous for the 1st plate but subsequent reorders only had 1 piece per plate. The pork belly here is cut on a thicker slab so takes longer to cook. The meat itself is only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper so you get the full taste of the pork.
We also had the marinated pork shoulder which was in fact more delicious because of the marination. The pork was treated beforehand so it was very tender even after grilling as well. After having a couple of pieces, the marination can get overboard and you will start feeling thirsty.
The stew took some time to arrive as the servers made a mistake and delivered the army stew in the first round. We told the server to make the soup less spicy but they had forgotten to do so, therefore we couldn’t eat most of the dish. There was plentiful of squid and mushrooms as well as mussels and clams. The soup however was lacking flavours for me except the spicy taste, I could not taste the sweetness from the seafood. I tasted just like a flat spicy soup with much seafood.
Overall, the food at Hyang Yeon is quite general and I guess the buffet at that price range is really quite a value for money since there were many free items given out. The BBQ itself was ok except that marinated meat was too salty, and the stew too spicy. For many meat lovers, this is quite a deal with the endless meat order and many varieties of free side which are included in the buffet menu.
Address: 33, #02-35 New Bridge Rd, ChinaTown Point, 059413
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5.30 pm to 10 pm