Banchan 반찬 (clockwise from top)
yeongeun jorim | nakji bokkeum | deodeok muchim | sigeumchi namul | gamja saelleodeu| baechu kimchi| kimchi oisobagi
It looked like a scene straight out of a movie: rainwater surging towards us from all directions and, horror of all horrors, we had nowhere to seek refuge.
Caught in an unexpected flash flood, all we wanted was something hot. Something right off the grill. Something… Oh, something like a good ol’ Korean barbecue. We found ourselves stuck along the five foot way of the row of shophouses, trapped between rising water levels along the main road and what other than a homey and inviting looking Korean barbecue restaurant. Of course, we couldn’t resist.
Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant is the new kid on the block among the row of Korean eateries you find along Tanjong Pagar Road, and we find, being new is not always a bad thing.
We ordered the chicken in soy sauce and were served an array of banchan to kick start the meal.
There is always much anticipation as raw meat hits a hot grill. The sizzle of the meat; the smoky aroma that wafts into your consciousness; the sight of the meat turning from pink to a dark caramel colour, with slightly charred bits at the tips; the heat rising off the grill; the explosion of flavours and textures as you bite into a lettuce-wrapped bite-sized piece. This moment of gratification, knowing that the short wait for the food to cook (certainly felt like an eternity to us) and the sacrifice made to smell exactly like what we just ate was all worth it.
The chicken was tender and well seasoned with soy sauce. Every bite delivered a combination of the juiciness of the meat with a hint of the charred grilled flavour. Eaten dipped in a little tangy and savoury dipping sauce, wrapped in a lettuce leaf, every lettuce wrap we had was a parcel of crunchy, meaty textures. As is the Korean custom, the helpful service staff laid out the meat on the grill for us although we could have very much done it on our own. This gesture is what good service is about, since customers definitely wouldn’t want their hands dirtied with raw food.
Guiga is definitely worth a visit for some good quality Korean barbecue in a homey, family business setting. If you are a night owl looking for food, this place is open till 6 am! What we appreciated most was that the banchan were considered as ‘service’ and we did not have to pay for them as a result. Of course, you could always say that the cost was accounted for in the price of the food, but it always helps to think of the cup as half full, no?