Our search for the best tang su yuk finally ended in fruition at Tae Woo Korean Restaurant.
The Central @ Clarke Quay is almost akin to a labyrinth, so finding this cosy little restaurant requires a reasonably good sense of direction. Nah I'm just joking. Seated just beside the Coffee Club, Tae Woo is a relatively new tenant with its beautiful wood work and country style decorations. The palate here is largely Korean-Chinese, almost zi-char style. Except the ones helming the woks are true blue Koreans.
Makes me wanna build wooden shelves all over my new home and just hang loads of pots and pans around for no reason. Plus when they greet you with annyeonghasaeyo with gusto, hat's when you know you can raise the bar just a little higher.
The side dishes (refillable la, my dear Singaporeans) are unlike those you find in BBQ-style restaurants. pickled vegetables, fresh sweet onions with a black bean sauce dip, pickled radish and kimchi combo is unlike any that I've seen elsewhere.
Of course, as mentioned from the start, our main reason for visiting Tae Woo was because of hearsay that it serves the BEST sweet and sour Korean style pork (affectionately known as tang su yuk) in Singapore. THEY WEREN'T JOKING. The local version, usually bits of pork slathered with batter, is fried to a sickening fritter and drizzled with tomato sauce. On the other hand, tang su yuk are essentially 2-inch long strips of half-fatty, lightly battered pork that's fried and doused with honey and vinegar. You would be able to feel the distinct sting of the vinegar and the saccharine sweetness of the honey, less the oily aftertaste you have after chowing down a mouthful of the local version.
The fried dumplings (mandu) make good finger food with its crispy skin and juicy filling of chives and minced pork. The way the dumpling skin disintegrates between your teeth is almost similar to that of MacDonald's apple pie. No joke.
What's Korean-Chinese food without a good black bean sauce noodles (jajjangmyeon)? Tae Woo offers the classic version and the seafood version, of which I'm a bigger fan of the latter. The springy noodles and the chunky sauce (with seafood) are served separately, so you can decide how much sauce to mix into your noodles. If you have a small appetite, it's best to share.
Or you could share the half-half of half-portion seafood noodles (jjampong) and jajjangmyeon for the best of both worlds (below).
The prices are competitive for good-quality Korean cuisine (about $15-20 per person). Tea is provided in canisters FOC, just like any other hospitable Korean restaurant. Do visit this place before the crowds flock to it!
Tae Woo Korean Restaurant
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Mon - Sun, 11am - 10pm