Tucked in the basement of the Concorde hotel Singapore (beside the Istana) along Orchard Road is Kim Dae Mun, a small gem of an eatery serving authentic and very affordable Korean food.
Though labeled as a Korean food place, I find the term “Korean dining outlet” more fitting for the setting. You can enter the outlet via a flight of steps from an Orchard road facing entrance. Two stalls operate here, each with their own separate checkout counters. The cashier by the entrance is managed by a drinks store, while the one further inside the store is the main Korean food counter where orders are taken and food collected.
The Korean menu selection is not extensive, but effective, covering the popular range of Korean delicacies. A variety of 14 different dishes are served in the entire outlet. This is as depicted by a full wall-mounted board behind the cashier.
After placing your order at the counter, you will be given a receipt with a collection queue number. This receipt is used to exchange for your order when it is made available via the self-collect serving counters behind the cashier. During peak meal periods, the outlet kitchen staff can be seen frantically moving in and out of kitchen in this area dishing out prepared meals.
Each main dish is served with rice a side of Kimchi and a bowl of clear soup. The rice is your typical fanfare of Japanese/Korean style sticky rice served compacted into a stainless steel bowl.
Drinks are a chargeable extra and ordered from a separate counter. The drinks store also sells an assortment of takeaway snacks, such as packed bread buns and dim sum, exactly like a typical heartland coffee shop drinks store. They look like a tenant in the outlet and operate independently from the Korean food store.
Good quality for the price
The priciest item you can find on the menu is the sliced beef hotplate at $10, and is one of the favorites at the eating place. This price is typical to that of a regular food court (about ~$10/dish), but much cheaper than dedicated Korean restaurant (at least $20/dish).
The food quality was good and the portions are generous too. While the food quality of your typical run of the mill Korean food outlet are usually a hit or miss, I was genuinely surprised of Kim Dae Mun food quality at the price point and location.
Hot plate choices
The spicy shredded chicken ($8.00), pork ($8.50) and beef options are served in your typical Korean hotplate BBQ-style. The meat slices sit on a bed of white radish.
Additionally, the hotplate beef slices are thin, lean, with few traces of fat and not oily at all. The sliced beef, though thinly cut was cooked well, juicy and not burnt on the edges. The burnt taste in the meat is also minimal. It’s like the meat was steam simmered cooked and thereafter.
Moreover, the outlet’s Bibimbap is one of their favorite dishes sold. The word “Bibimbap” literally means “mixed rice”. The dish is served with an assortment of vegetables, meats (chicken and beef options) over warm white rice and topped with a fried egg. The portions are large, even rivaling those served in expensive Korean restaurants at a much lower price. It is definitely one of the most value for money dishes you can get here.
Soupy dishes such as Beancurd soup, Bean paste and vegetables soup ($7.50) are served and consumed from a large bowl pot. The soup is flavorful and tasty. The soup served with hotplate is clear and helps with washing down the oily dish.
The Ramen noodles are flavorful, with a rich and spicy stock. Though the noodles tend to be tad too soggy to my liking, highly likely prepared from a Ramen noodle cake. In addition to your main course, you have a rather extensive selection of sides such as Dumping soup and the Potato cake. The potato cake is a nice dish I would recommend. It has a potato filling, but the texture of fried fish cake. It is served with chili sauce and is simply tasty without being too oily.
The outlet is good for a quick-and-go meal and is popular with the office crowd in the area. It has ample seating places. Used plates and cutlery are promptly cleared by service staff, always ensuring readily available tables for customers who come in and go.
A gripe was that the enclosed air-conditioned environment together with the semi-open kitchen does make the area rather smoky at times, which does leave a BBQ smell on your clothing when you are done. Not much a problem if you are just spending time in the outlet just for a quick meal.
Kim Dae Mun Korean food.
100 Orchard Road, #01-03, 238840
Opening hours daily: 11am – 8:30pm
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