Imagine this. You’re having a Korean Barbeque feast surrounded by your best friends. The tantalising aroma of sizzling, caramelised meat is in the air. Your table is filled with glorious cuts of meats and colourful, mouth-watering sauces that are a must-have with KBBQ. In the background, you hear iconic K-Pop songs and soul-stirring K-Drama Official Soundtracks (OSTs) that serve as the perfect backdrop for your K-Drama-esque moments. Did I just describe heaven? Well then, Seorae is your personal paradise! With five outlets already in Singapore, a sixth joins the party.
Calling all North-siders – Seorae opens at Northpoint City, located at Yishun MRT station, right in the heart of the neighbourhood, for those craving the sweet escape to Seoul and its delicious food. They bring you a menu that will leave you drooling before you even order. Our team had the honour of trying some of their delectable dishes, and we bring you a no-bars-held review! But first…
Warning: The following images and descriptions of food may trigger intense hunger pangs and insatiable cravings. You might begin to drool uncontrollably. Ensure you have a packet of tissues by your side, along with your mobile phone, to make immediate plans to dine at Seorae for your next meal.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Everything about the ambience was impeccable. From the warm colours to the absolutely beautiful smell of sizzling meat emanating from the place, it was perfect. The music in the background was also top-tier – they played music from new gems like NewJeans and IVE to icons like BTS and Blackpink. But not forgetting iconic OSTs like the one from Descendants of the Sun and more! This place knows how to entertain!
Albeit it got a little hot every now and then (and understandably so), the ventilation was pretty great, making it a comfortable cooking and dining experience. The staff there are also very friendly and observant. They would swoop in to replace the BBQ plates according to the meats you are cooking and when it looks too greasy and dark from the meat. How sweet.
Seorae takes pride in its use of premium white charcoal for grilling. The unbeatable smoky aroma of white charcoal provides the perfect grilling conditions for their premium meats through heat, aroma and char. Right down to the kind of charcoal they use, Seorae takes your KBBQ experience very seriously.
Watching the preparation process first-hand was exhilarating too. We gaped as the staff skillfully set up our little KBBQ pit, moving swiftly yet carefully as beautiful sparks of the fire flew with the burning of the charcoal.
Before the meal begins, every table is also given some Korean steamed egg, or gyeran-jjim, at the side of the grill. As the heat from the charcoal reaches it and cooks it through, it becomes a delicious accompaniment to the rest of your meal.
We also recommend ordering some cheese along with your meats. Pour it on the side of the grill and let the magic of science create the perfect cheese pull for your every bite!
And what’s a KBBQ without the dipping sauces? Have your ssamjang, onion sauce, and gochujang revved and ready to go! Personally, the ssamjang was a godsend, and we loved it so much with all our meat and rice. It’s not spicy either, making it perfect for the palate without overpowering any flavours.
Towards the middle of the restaurant, you will also see an array of sides for your barbequing rendezvous – loads of kimchi, ssam (leafy vegetable to wrap your meat in), and so much more. Don’t miss this for the authentic Korean BBQ experience!
Since its opening in 2015, Seorae has been well-known for its signature Korean galmaegisal (premium pork skirt meat), and it’s garnered a very loyal fanbase. Said to be reserved only for Korean royalty in the past, the exclusive sirloin extension — only 250 grams between the ribs and belly of a full-grown pig — is now a must-have on every local Korean buff’s platter! So you’re dining with the feeling of royalty.
They also have many other Korean classics like samgyeopsal (pork belly), every KKBQ must-have, sundubu jjigae (spicy soft tofu stew) and more!
Now that we’ve covered that they’ve got it all, let’s get to it.
Galmaegisal (premium pork skirt meat)
Oh my gosh. Just thinking about it makes my heart flutter, and my tummy starts calling out its name. Remember how I said Seorae’s galmaegisal has its own fanbase? I am now a fan.
It’s been said that galmaegisal is the most flavourful part of the pig. I felt that big time. Marinated and massaged for 30 minutes in an aromatic blend of Korean spices, the galmaegisal was juicy, tender and an explosion of flavour. Whether you have it on its own or with the jaw-dropping accompaniment of a classic KBBQ dipping sauce, ssamjang, the experience the galmaegisal brings is like no other.
Dip the galmaegisal in the cheese at the side of the grill and dip into the ssamjang for that mind-blowing bite. Get a bowl of rice to go with your meat, and it will be perfect! It’s definitely the signature dish for a reason. It stole the show.
Samgyeopsal (pork belly)
What’s a KBBQ sesh without the staple, the king of every KBBQ table – the pork belly (or samgyeopsal)? It arrives at the table, claiming its rightful spot, and it’s not long before it’s transported to the grill to feed the hungry people ogling the meat with a sparkle in their eyes. Behold, the pork belly is here.
It’s a staple for a reason. It’s delicious. It’s got the perfect texture and a natural taste to it that makes you feel so content. Seorae’s samgyeopsal was pretty good. It had a good distribution of meat and fat, giving it a delectable bite. It’s a staple, without which the show simply can’t go on.
But it wasn’t the superstar at that table for me. The classic one we tried was missing that oomph I was waiting for, but it never came. I would personally recommend getting one of the marinated samgyeopsal options instead – Black Pork Hangari Samgyeopsal (Seorae Special Soy Sauce) or the Black Pork Spicy Samgyeopsal.
Nonetheless, the samgyeopsal was a must-have at the table, and all of us devoured it within seconds. We love you, samgyeopsal.
LA Galbi (US Prime Beef Shortrib)
Another must-have during KBBQs, LA Galbi is a hot favourite among Koreans and everyone else that takes it on. Galbi means ‘ribs’ in Korean, and while it’s still a mystery as to why it’s called LA Galbi, we’re just here to eat! I personally don’t eat beef, so my team very kindly filled me in about how it tasted.
The first word my colleagues gave me (and that too, in unison) was ‘sweet’. LA Galbi is known to be a balance of sweet and savoury. Seorae’s LA Galbi is marinated overnight, packing it with an explosion of flavour. Grill it till it’s well done (don’t wait till it’s all burnt as we did!), and it will give you that juicy bite with the sweetness of the marinade, making it a beautiful marriage.
It does have bones in it, which could be a bit of a turn-off, so eat at your own risk! Enjoy it on its own or with the symphony of ssamjang to give it a bit of a savoury punch, and there you have it!
Woosamgyeob (US Beef Shortplate)
To the untrained eye (of someone who doesn’t eat beef), I would have easily mistaken the woosamgyeob for pork. It looked deceivingly thin and looked just like pork after cooking as well. Ah, the illusion of meat!
First of all, this cooks so quickly. It took just a few minutes on the grill and was ready to enter some hungry tummies. If you want something that cooks fast, woosamgyeob is yours for the taking. Apparently, it didn’t have that beefy taste, making this such an easy eat for fussy eaters.
But tearing apart in your mouth is a little tough, even when perfectly cooked. But cooked a little more, and it would have been one with the charcoal. It wasn’t very memorable or groundbreaking, but it was a part of the feast, one we, unfortunately, could have done without.
Sundubu Jjigae (Spicy Tofu Stew with clams and minced pork)
KBBQ is all about the meat. But it’s also about the accompaniment. What do you have with your meat to elevate your experience? A good ol’ spicy stew is bound to do the trick! Among their fine array of jjigae, or stews, we tried the sundubu jjigae.
If the word ‘spicy’ in its name scares you, let out the breath you’ve been holding! This sundubu jjigae was actually not too spicy at all. It’s got the perfect amount of heat to deliver the flavour and feels without making you feel like your tongue is about to fall off. It comes packed with ingredients like tofu, minced pork, clams, fresh vegetables and egg.
Honestly, the stew was a little bit of a letdown. It was quite oily and not as flavourful as you’d expect your jjigae to be. It felt like all the flavour in the jjigae blurred together, making for a rather unsatisfying slurp. But I certainly did like it in my rice. I drenched my rice with the stew and ate my meat with it, and it was pretty good. It elevated my meat experience, but it didn’t quite shine on its own.
Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake)
Pancakes are done differently in South Korea. It’s not your typical maple syrup and chocolate-chip pancakes down here. A traditional Korean pancake is a popular crowd-pleaser with any meal in Korea. It uses green onion or scallion as a prominent ingredient.
In the haemul pajeon, you will find fresh spring onion and succulent seafood, including soft squid and crab meat. Seorae’s haemul pajeon comes with a signature sauce, and together, they’re supposed to be a dynamic duo that makes for a yummylicious side with your meat.
Personally, the pancake, once again, lacked flavour. It tastes like what you’d expect but with no extra pizzazz, which made it a little underwhelming. The sauce did complete the pancake, just as they promised. It had some notes of garlic and was pretty sour (it might have been a little too overpowering for me), so it made for a simple, neat side dish.
Subak Cocktail (Watermelon with Soju)
Now this, this is how you make an appearance. This watermelon with soju came in a literal watermelon. I loved the presentation with all my heart.
But here’s a dangerous observation – the taste of the soju was literally absent. None of us could taste it at all. All of us lightweights out there gotta keep an eye out with this one because not being able to taste alcohol in an alcoholic drink truly deserves a big, red, pulsating warning sign.
Jokes aside, this was so delicious. You can choose between a cocktail and mocktail option and get yourself this thirst-quenching delicious watermelon goodness. It even comes with little balls of watermelon fruit for that added munch. Share this with all your buddies, and everyone will stay hydrated and quenched (and very, very sober)!
You can also opt for a pineapple version, where the drink will be served in a mighty pineapple. Now this is innovation.
I know for a fact that the next time I dine at Seorae, I will have to get the galmaegisal (pork skirt) and the Subak Cocktail. They did not disappoint!
Seorae opening at Northpoint City is truly a reason for all North-siders to celebrate because authentic, premium Korean BBQ has never been closer! With their semi-premium price range, premium meats and authentic yet innovative dishes, Seorae really proves why they’re so loved. Hello, they’ve got over 300 outlets around the world!
Dine at Seorae and see for yourself. They truly bring you food for the Seoul (get it?).
Seorae at Northpoint City
Location: 930 Yishun Ave 2, B1-37, Northpoint City (North Wing), Singapore 769098
Opening hours: 11.30am – 10pm
Photos by Leo Chia of the DANAMIC Team.