Telok Ayer is a foodie enclave with no lack of choices for Korean cuisine. Over the years, to really stand out and draw a regular crowd, restaurants have had to offer speciality dishes unique to their brand. This is exactly what Hyang Yeon Korean Restaurant did with their Pork Backbone Stew, and looking at the never ending crowd outside the restaurant on a Friday night, I’d say they are in the right direction.
The banchan (side dishes) were fresh and appetising. I love the sweet potato which was not too mushy yet soft enough to melt in your mouth. My friend particularly liked the kimchi. Feel free to ask for refills!
The star of the show! The Pork Backbone Stew is a dish to wow and impress your guests. This dish is slightly on the saltish side but the rich aroma and deep flavour of the pork bones makes every mouthful a hearty one. The meat on the bones fall off very easily, as expected of a soup that has been boiled for hours. As soon as you’ve taken your first bowl of stew, the staff will promptly ask if you need a refill of the soup which I thought was nice of them to offer. Just take care to handle the stew gently as you don’t want to end up splashing the hot soup onto yourself or your friends. I suggest having the stew with rice to thin out the saltiness.
The tteokbokki was unconventionally spicy! I’m not a huge fan of tteokbokki usually but the kick from this dish made me constantly want to nibble a bite of the rice cake.
The rest of the dishes makes Hyang Yeon a better than average Korean restaurant. They were all rather well executed and when eaten together with a main dish like Pork Backbone Stew, you find that the dishes give a nice complement to the whole meal experience. Take note however, that the crowds on Friday nights and weekends can get quite overwhelming (I was told you need to make a reservation at least 2 to 3 days in advanced). So while I’d visit this place just to have their pork backbone stew if I were seriously craving for one, I wouldn’t particularly brave the crowd on a normal day.
Hyang Yeon Korean Restaurant
80 Amoy Street, Singapore 069899
+65 6221 6368
Tuesdays to Fridays: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 11pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm
Check out their website here.
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