Jeong’s Jjajang has affordable Korean food in Bukit Merah
Whenever I’m back in my home country Korea, getting a good bowl of jjajangmyeon (JJM) is no hassle at all. I can easily order it via food delivery, or simply visit an eatery near my place that sells decent and cheap jjajangmyeon. I thought it would be different in Singapore, but with eateries such as Wooga Jjajang and O.BBa Jjajang on the up and up, you can now find affordable and legit jjajangmyeon here. So when I discovered another hidden gem, Jeong’s Jjajang, in the Bukit Merah heartlands, I had to make my way down to see if their food would sort my cravings.
Food at Jeong’s Jjajang
Jeong’s Jjajang specialises in Korean-Chinese cuisine, which means you’ll find jjajangmyeon, jjamppong, and tangsuyuk AKA sweet and sour pork on the menu. The stall is owned by a Korean native, so my expectation was naturally raised prior to trying their food.
My colleague and I ordered the three must-haves of Korean-Chinese cuisine: Jjajangmyeon ($6.50), Jjampong ($8.50), and Tangsuyuk ($12). These prices listed are for the small portion, but you can pay an additional $1 to get the medium option for their noodles if you’re hungry.
We started off with what I thought was the best out of the three, their Jjampong. This dish took me by surprise when I took my first spoonful.
Personally, I deem it a challenge to perfect this dish because everything has to come together seamlessly—the texture of the noodles, the charred flavour of the broth, the quality and variety of seafood used, and the freshness of the vegetables. It’s easy to tell when one of these categories is a miss as it messes up with the overall taste of jjamppong.
Their Jjampong comprises onions, carrots, mushrooms, prawns, and a small handful of squid. Along with these ingredients, a good portion of handmade noodles are submerged in a semi-charred broth—I found the smoky aroma lacking in general. It’s the smokiness that makes a bowl of jjamppong good, in my humble opinion.
I was delighted to hear that the noodles are handmade here. You even get to watch the block of dough transforming into thin and long strands as it passes through the noodle maker machine.
The noodles were on the thinner side, which I thought was strange as thicker noodles are typically used in jjamppong. But thankfully, the texture made up for it—my colleague and I thoroughly enjoyed the springy and chewy noodles that made every slurp a satisfying one. Also, I appreciated that there wasn’t any floury taste that could potentially hinder us from enjoying the robust flavour of the seafood broth.
While I think the broth could use more wok hei, I found myself going back for more as it was sufficiently spicy. In terms of depth, it wasn’t exactly comparable with what you’d get in a Korean restaurant for twice its price. But I can say with confidence that their jjamppong didn’t pale that much in comparison, and is worth what you’re paying for.
We then gave their jjajangmyeon a try. On first look, this dish didn’t appear promising as the ingredients were far from plenty.
Unfortunately, this bowl of JJM didn’t hit the spot. When I think of a decent bowl of JJM, I immediately think of noodles blanketed in thick sauce. Sadly, the one at Jeong’s Jjajang fell short of my expectations. The black bean sauce wasn’t dense, and there wasn’t enough to coat the noodles evenly. It also got a tad astringent towards the end.
Perhaps it would have helped if there was a good mix of ingredients, such as chunks of potatoes and meat. Here, the taste of onions was rather prominent, and I found tiny bits of minced pork only after taking a few bites.
But that’s not to say their jjajangmyeon was all bad. If I had to mention a redeeming feature, it would be the handmade noodles. The portion may seem a tad small at first, but not to worry, it will fill you up without a doubt.
Tangsuyuk is a must-have when ordering JJM or jjamppong, so I placed an order in a heartbeat. I must say $7 for tangsuyuk is a rare find in Singapore, so I was hoping that the low price point wouldn’t be the only thing to shout about.
My colleague was a fan of their dipping sauce as it was sweet and slightly tangy with hints of honey and lemon. Personally, I wished it was more viscous and thick, but besides the texture, there wasn’t much to complain about.
When tangsuyuk is a miss, it’s usually because the ratio between the batter and meat is disproportionate. The tangsuyuk here had a decent balance between the two components, though it would have been better if it was crunchier.
Take note that there are other side dishes such as Fried Dumplings ($2.50 for two), Kimchi Pancake ($8) and Seafood Pancake ($8) to complement your noods. If you’re a fan of Korean stews like me, you can opt for their Soondubu Soup ($8) or Kimchi Soup ($8) instead.
Ambience at Jeong’s Jjajang
Jeong’s Jjajang is tucked away in Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central Coffee Shop, which you will find amidst a serene neighbourhood. It’s a 14-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from Redhill MRT Station.
Since the stall isn’t situated in the most convenient location, I wouldn’t go out of my way to dine there again. Their food may not be the best of its kind, but their jjamppong will come to mind when I’m in the area!
For solid JJM in Singapore, read our Wooga Jjajang review, where we tried a 60-year-old JJM recipe at Old Airport Road Food Centre. Don’t miss out on our MukJja review, a family-run Korean restaurant with popular JJM, tangsuyuk and more.
Address: Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central, #01-3749, Singapore 150161
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am to 9:30pm, Sun 11am to 9pm
Jeong’s Jjajang is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by John Lery Villanueva.
This was an independent visit by Eatbook.sg