Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Media Invite] Wangdaebak Pocha Korean Street Bar 왕대박 포차 @ 93 Amoy Street

Everyone's familiar with Wang Dae Bak BBQ at China Square Central and Amoy Street, for its well-loved charcoal BBQ and some say it's the Best Charcoal BBQ in town! It has opened Wang Dae Bak-Pocha at Amoy Street with a different concept where one could enjoy Korean streetfood during dinner time in a cosy retro environment. Imagine retrolicious 80s, complete with a music booth, barber lights and wooden furnitures. Pocha is an abbreviation of pojangmacha which refers to those small tents one could find along the streets of Korea serving foods like tteokbokki, sundae, odeng, mandu and anju. Diners usually just stand and eat, or like in those Korean dramas, where one could visit late at night with a friend or two, order a bottle or two of soju and a couple of dishes to enjoy and chill.

dinner menu

The place, though new, was busy and enjoyed a full-house on a Friday evening. To avoid disappointment, do make a reservation prior to visit, or come early before 730pm or you might have to wait a bit for a table.

Happy Hour is from Mondays to Thursdays from 530pm till 830pm. Watermelon Soju at $29 instead of $38 and fruity soju at $14 (usual price $15/$16) per bottle. Draft beer is Heineken/Tiger for $10.90 per pint.

fruity soju 소주

Tried the Honey Makgeolli that was served in a small jug. Have tried chestnut flavoured, hallabong flavoured and plain makgeolli but this was the first time having honey version. Pretty nice but rather mild when drunk from soju glasses. The traditional version would have been served out of a kettle and drunk from bowls. However, this modern serving would appeal to the younger crowd.

Honey Makgeolli 꿀 막걸리 @$26
Don't be surprised when after ordering your food and drinks, the staff suddenly brings over small plates of stuff that you didn't order. These are the complimentary side dishes and refillable if you so wish to. But, save your stomach space as the main items are of generous proportions.

side dishes - pancake/jeon 전, instant noodles, kimchi 김치

Was tickled by the mamee-like dry instant noodles snack. It has some sweet seasoning to eat and something crunchy to munch on while waiting for the main dishes. The other interesting side dish was a plate of sweet corn in mayo.

sweet corn in mayo

cheers 건배

Try some boneless fried chicken done up in the usual yangnyeom (sweet and spicy) or honey soya flavoured. Loved the honey soya ones, so good! Tender chicken pieces, well marinated and just so flavourful.

Honey Soya Boneless  간장 닭강정 @$18

Of course, when there's a group of 4 or more pax, the group can opt for watermelon soju. So we did! Such a refreshing drink for our hot weather.

watermelon soju 수박 소주 @$29 (HH/$38 usual)
Have you ever tried korean-styled pork knuckles? I did once at Dongdaemun Market and it was rather chewy for me. Jokbal is in the menu at Wangdaebak Pocha, and am happy to say that it is worth trying if you like collageny skin. The pork knuckles is served with spicy chives and is a half plate non-spicy and the other half spicy. The spice factor is not those that will jolt but rather it gives a slow constant burning sensation in the mouth. No worries, as this will wear off in about 10 minutes or so, depending on your tolerance level. Quite shioks and we always went back for more! Haha!

pork knuckle with and without sauce (mix of spicy and non-spicy) 족발 @$39

The non-sauced and non-spicy parts were all good and tender. Liked the version here better than the one I last ate in Seoul! The pungent chives when eaten together with the non-spicy skin/meat gave the tongue a good dose of wake-up call. But, once the tongue had tasted the smokey sexy goodness of the spicy sauce...there was no turning back. Try it for yourself and I dare say that you will go back for its taste. Spicy collageny skin that exudes flavour the more you chew on it. Too spicy? Just eat a piece of pickled radish or, drown a bowl of watermelon soju. Then, continue with another piece...and another piece...and...Ok, you get my drift and by now, you'll know that I liked this dish by quite a bit.

spicy collageny skin

If you ask the staff what's their popular items, very likely the kimchi stew will come up tops. If that's the case, let's get a pork belly kimchi stew to try.

For this dish, not only you'll have to make space on the table for a small stove but also some space in the belly as the portion is good for two to three pax. At the center would be the kimchi stew with slices of parboiled pork belly sitting ontop of a cluster of golden mushrooms and some tofu squares and a whole bunch of kimchi at the bottom. The outer lining has cheese and sweet corn. Served with some seaweed riceballs which one takes and dunk it into the stew to eat.

Kimchi Stew with Pork Belly 삼겹살 김치 찌개 @$34
cuts pork belly into smaller pieces

The young and friendly staff would come over and asks if you'd like him to cut up the meat and kimchi for you. Of course, we'd say yes to such a polite and cute kid.

ok, almost done
When the stew had boiled and the meat well-coated with sauce, it was time to dish out the stew into smaller bowls.

kimchi stew with pork belly 삼겹살 김치 찌개

The kimchi was appetizingly sourish, and the sauce was of bean paste mildly spicy. Would imagine this to be a comforting bowl of stew on a rainy day. The flavoured rice balls were enjoyable as well.

Out of curiosity, we also ordered a plate of chicken feet to try. Was surprised that the version here was boneless, but of course, that made it very convenient to eat. No dirty fingers! Cooked with lots of garlic and topped with sesame seeds. Very tasty and after the spiciness of the pork knuckles, this was child's play.

Spicy Chicken Feet 매운 닭 발  @$28

The food at Wangdaebak Pocha was interesting and tasted very good. Portion was generous and ambiance was lively. Loved the retro feel too. The staff were all friendly and helpful. Excellent service.

Special thanks to Wangdaebak Pocha management and staff for hosting the dinner. Thank you to the good folks at HGW for the invite and fellow foodies for sharing the calories.

A quick look-around and one sees many tables of native Koreans, locals and tourists enjoying their meal at Wangdaebak Pocha. Recommended for tasty food, excellent service and authentic experience.


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