Kelim Dakdoritang in Serangoon Gardens has Korean braised chicken

Ask any Singaporean to name some Korean foods they know, and the bulk of their responses will most likely include K-BBQ, tteokbokki, or jjajangmyeon. Dakdoritang, AKA braised spicy chicken, rarely comes up in the conversation. This explains why I was over the moon when I found out that Kelim Dakdoritang, a popular Korean restaurant chain with close to 60 years of history, is opening their first outlet in Singapore at Serangoon Gardens. As a Korean native, I’m tickled pink that I’ve finally been given a chance to introduce one of my favourite home-cooked dishes here

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Food at Kelim Dakdoritang

As the restaurant name suggests, dakdoritang is the main star here. Typically, this traditional dish comprises chunky potatoes and chicken braised in a mildly spicy red sauce. But the dakdoritang I tried here was distinctly different as it also comes with rice cakes, and most importantly, a substantial amount of minced garlic. You don’t see this in other Korean restaurants that specialise in braised spicy chicken, so it’s an experience unique to Kelim Dakdoritang. 

If you’re visiting as a pair, get their Small ($36.90+). Otherwise, a group of three should opt for the Medium ($59.90+), and a group of four is encouraged to get the Large ($69.90+)

A quick disclaimer here: you have to be a fan of garlic to enjoy this dish. Otherwise, the pungent minced garlic will certainly put you off. Even for someone like me who has a penchant for garlic, it was rather overwhelming here. But don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed their dakdoritang as it gave me a piece of Korea in Singapore—apart from the copious amount of garlic, the dish tasted like something I’d find back home. 

They were generous with the rice cakes and potato chunks, and the chicken was tender and juicy as well. FYI: enjoy the rice cakes first, followed by the potato chunks. This is to ensure that the rice cakes are not overcooked, while the potato chunks get more time to cook till they’re fork-tender.

The soup was to my liking as it was flavourful enough, and despite boiling it over medium and high heat for some time, it didn’t get overly salty. While I found the soup to be only mildly spicy—the heat primarily comes from the minced garlic—my colleague thought it was rather spicy. If you can’t take spice, I encourage you to try their Dakhanmari ($36.90+ for small), which is the non-spicy version of dakdoritang. 

When you’re nearly done with the ingredients, I strongly recommend you to get a side of their Kalguksu ($5+). Also known as knife-cut noodles, these made for a great pairing with the flavoursome soup. Don’t forget to stir the noodles for a couple of minutes to prevent the strands from sticking together.

After you’re done with the braised spicy chicken and noodles, the staff will work their magic by adding in fresh rice, creating a glorious pot of scorched fried rice—truly the epitome of saving the best for the last.

The rice is mixed with seaweed, soybean sprout, diced radish kimchi, and a scoop of the remaining soup, and then finished with sesame oil. The key to this dish is the scorched rice that forms at the bottom of the pot as it’s crunchy with a slight charred taste. A must-try if you ask me. 

Frankly, I visited Kelim Dakdoritang thinking I would relish their braised spicy chicken the most. To my pleasant surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed their sides as well, namely Dakbal ($19.90+) AKA spicy chicken feet, and Chicken Gizzard ($15.90+). Chicken feet isn’t the most appealing dish in terms of appearance, but you should take a leap of faith and give it a shot. This dish is high in collagen, and the gelatinous texture of the chicken feet makes it all the better. 

Chicken gizzard is another polarising dish because not everyone is a fan of offal, but I could imagine pairing this deep-fried dish with a bottle of beer or soju. The batter was hot and crispy, and there was a good bite to each piece. If you’ve never tried gizzard before, just think of it as something similar to deep-fried squid—at least that’s how I got my colleague to try it. 

I’m a huge believer in ending every meal with a dessert. Thankfully, their Hotteok ($9.90+) came through, and it was just what I needed to cleanse my palate. 

Hotteok is a popular street food and winter snack in Korea. It features a slightly thick pancake-like dough stuffed with grounded nuts, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon powder. This is a must-have for those who love sweet and nutty combinations. 

Ambience at Kelim Dakdoritang

From the round metal tables and straightforward menu on the walls, to the conspicuous Korean words displayed in red and blue at the entrance, the space is set up like an eatery you might find in the popular K-drama Reply 1988. While compact in size, Kelim Dakdoritang can easily house more than 50 customers at once. I can already foresee groups of patrons having a drink over the braised spicy chicken at night. 

If it helps, the restaurant is a three-minute walk on foot from Apollo Coffee Bar. The nearest train station is Serangoon MRT Station, which is a 10-minute bus ride away. 

The verdict

Getting a taste of authentic Korean braised spicy chicken in Singapore almost felt like a wild-goose chase, but Kelim Dakdoritang proved otherwise with their cracking food and service. As the restaurant is newly opened, do have some patience if you encounter any hiccups during your dining experience here. If you’re down to try something different from the commonly found K-BBQ and jjajangmyeon, I encourage you to pay Kelim Dakdoritang a visit. 

For more solid Korean fare, read our SODENG Korean Restaurant review, where you can try K-BBQ duck and more in Telok Ayer. Also, check out our Hoodadak Korean Restaurant review if you love pork soup and rice. 

Address: 14B Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557265
Opening hours: Thurs-Tue 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 10pm, Wed 5:30pm to 10pm
Kelim Dakdoritang is not a halal-certified eatery.

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Photos were taken by Chiara Ang and edited by John Lery Villanueva.
This was a media tasting at Kelim Dakdoritang.

The post Kelim Dakdoritang Review: Popular Korean Chain Opens In Serangoon With Spicy Braised Chicken And More appeared first on – Local Singapore Food Guide And Review Site.

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