I have been watching Restaurant on Wheels religiously every week and the show made me craved so much for Korean food especially Jajangmyeon. To satisfy my cravings, I decided to ask my Korean colleague for the most authentic Jajangmyeon he has tried in Singapore and the name O.BBa Jjajang came out. I was determined to go try them but unfortunately, they did not do any reservations and the queue was crazy long. In the end, I ended up next door at Sin Manbok.
Sin Manbok is a typical Korean barbeque restaurant in Singapore with booth seats and tables with built-in grill plates and exhaust pipes to disperse the smoke from the grill. The only difference is that there is an added posh feeling to the restaurant as the seats are mostly leather cushioned which is really unique for a barbeque restaurant
They had a huge variety of dishes on their menu and there were many sets to cater to big groups.
As with all Korean restaurants, all customers are served basic side dishes ( banchan) which usually consist of 2 kinds of kimchi, a potato salad, beansprouts and some other fish cakes or vegetables. The one at Manbok has cabbage kimchi and chives kimchi, seasoned bean sprouts, potato salad, boiled broccoli and egg with fish cake. The banchan was all refillable so you can get the staff to top up any items at any time without extra cost.
We ordered the barbeque set which had 3 kinds of meat; the pork belly, pork shoulder meat and chicken meat. The set was good for up to 4 persons to share and cost about SGD 65
The staff will do all the cooking here at Sin Manbok so we do not have to lift our hands. I have read many bad reviews of the service here but when we were there, the service is quite acceptable. While they are not the most attentive, they are not rude as well. The cut of the meat provided was of average cut and generally the staff cooked it well.
The barbeque set came with a free steamed egg which is quite general in taste.
You can also add on SGD 10 to the set to get the soup or stew. We got the army stew which was pretty disappointing. It was very watery and bland and looked and tasted more like a watered down gochujang soup than a proper army stew.
I separately ordered a mixed dishes set which cost around SGD 70 plus for 3 different dishes. The first was the braised pig trotter which is called the Jokbal in Korea. The Jokbal was surprising good with nice and tender meat and flavourful skin and fats. It was served with white kimchi as well as pickled radish which complemented the Jokbal very well. The only bad point was the serving was very small with only 12 pieces.
The next dish in the set was the stir fry spicy Octopus and pork belly. The dish came in this fiery red colour and like its colour, it was indeed quite spicy. There was a generous amount of pork belly but a smaller quantity of octopus. The dish was generally nice with rice but a tad too spicy for me.
Last but not least the set also included a pancake and we ordered the seafood pancake which was not spicy. In my opinion, the pancake was very not well flavoured and I could still taste bits of flour in it. There was also not a lot of seafood in the pancake itself so you can bite into a lot of flour with spring onions. Dipping the pancake in the sauce given made it slightly more palatable but I personally preferred if it was more crispy.
Overall, Sin Manbok was a very general Korean restaurant with no outstanding dishes except for the Jokbal. The price is also not general cheap so with an entire street of Korean restaurants down Tanjong Pagar, I am not sure they can keep up with the competition.
Address: 81 Tg Pagar Rd Singapore 088502 Tg Pagar Rd, Singapore 088502