Wooga Jjajang has legit jjajangmyeon at Old Airport Road Food Centre
Old Airport Road Food Centre is a treasure trove of many well-known hawker stalls in Singapore━think the long-established Nam Sing Hokkien Mee and Michelin-approved Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee. Joining these famous names is Wooga Jjajang, helmed by Chef Marcus Yu, former CEO and chef of the now-defunct Dong Bang Hong Korean-Chinese Restaurant that closed its shutters in 2020.
You may have also heard of Wooga Jjajang X Yuk Tan Chobeolgui Korean BBQ, a restaurant he opened last year that offers both K-BBQ and Korean-Chinese dishes. Following that, Chef Yu opened the Old Airport Road hawker stall, which he operates with his daughter. Here, he hopes to deliver legit Korean-Chinese fare at a lower price point that’s affordable for the masses.
Boasting over 40 years of culinary experience, Chef Yu’s expertise can be traced back to his roots in Korea. His journey started in his father’s restaurant, Eun Ha Jang, which opened in the 70s after his father moved to Korea from China. Like Wooga Jjajang, Eun Ha Jang specialises in Korean-Chinese fare, in particular, jjajangmyeon (JJM)━so much so that they won the title of best jjajang in Korea on an episode of Star King, a Korean variety television show centred around a talent contest.
Food at Wooga Jjajang
Chef Yu’s menu stars a 60-year-old jjajangmyeon recipe that was handed down from his father, with a few modifications of his own. The menu here is straightforward, featuring various renditions of jjajangmyeon and kalguksu, AKA knife-cut noodles, each served in generous portions that filled our tummies. The hawker stall offers a selection of what is available at their restaurant, with new locally inspired additions such as jjajangmyeon served with pork trotters and belly.
We started with their bestseller, Yoo-ni Jjajang Myeon ($6.50), which departs from the typical jjajangmyeon that features diced pork and various veggies. Here, they use minced pork with their special black bean sauce instead.
We couldn’t wait to dig into the glossy, thick black bean sauce that blanketed the noodles. The noodles glided down easily thanks to the sauce’s super smooth consistency━the use of minced pork instead of the usual meat chunks also helped on this front. The shine in the sauce might suggest oiliness but that wasn’t the case, as it actually wasn’t greasy at all.
Although there was a hint of sourness in the jjajang sauce, it did not distract us from the sweetness from the caramelised onions. Also, we later realised that the secret to their delicious bowl of JJM lay in its element of wok hei. The wok hei had imparted a subtle charred undertone which greatly elevated the jjajangmyeon’s flavour profile.
Even after sitting out for a while, I liked how the noodles did not harden or get clumpy, making it easy to mix them up with the sauce. They’d been more than generous with the amount of sauce given, such that every strand could be well-coated. As a huge fan of carbs, especially thick-cut noodles, I was excited to dig in. The noodles checked off all the boxes for me: they were thick and chewy, with a satisfying firmness in each bite.
Next was their Bulgogi Pork Belly Jjajang Myeon ($8), which was topped with braised pork belly━a combination that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
This dish was our hot favourite. Here, the braised pork belly took centre stage, with its succulent, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness against the sweet-savoury black bean sauce. It was a delightful contrast to the chewy noodles, and was easy on the palate as it wasn’t too jelak.
If you want some spice, go for their Spicy Lala Kal-Guksu ($8), AKA knife-cut noodles, which come with lala clams and wheat flour noodles, freshly made and imported from Korea.
If you’re unfamiliar with kalguksu, the noodles used in the dish are usually thinner and flatter than the noodles found in dishes such as la mian or ramen.
On to the highlight of this dish━the broth, which is made by simmering chicken and anchovies, with a house-made spicy paste on the side. Since you get to mix in the paste yourself, you can get a taste of the original soup first, which I wished could have been richer on its own.
For this reason, I was glad we chose the spicy version. The spice paste is made with Korean shrimp paste that enhances the soup’s flavour with its spicy and tangy notes. A word of caution: the paste packs quite a spicy punch, though not overwhelmingly spicy such that it covers the taste of the broth. You can adjust the spice level by asking for more or less paste, but Chef Yu recommends sticking to the original amount for optimal flavour.
If you love lala, this dish is for you. It came loaded with a mountain of lala that was seemingly endless as we ate. Each clam was fresh, plump, and offered a satisfying chewiness.
Their house-made kimchi won our hearts with its carefully fermented and seasoned flavours.
Originally part of the Kimchi Jjajangmyeon ($8), we found Wooga Jjajang’s kimchi to be a perfect complement to the bold flavours of their jjajangmyeon. Neither too sweet nor too sour, it cut through the richness of the dish really well. My colleague was so impressed that he wanted to buy a tub of it, though it was sadly not available for sale at that point.
P.S.: Word has it that they’re thinking of selling their kimchi.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to try the trotters this time around, as they were still being prepared for the day. I would definitely visit again to try them, after hearing about the meticulous process of cooking these trotters━a three-hour braise with a blend of soya sauce, herbs, and sugar.
Ambience at Wooga Jjajang
Wooga Jjajang is located in Old Airport Road Food Centre, a short five-minute walk from Dakota MRT Station. You can find them in the middle row, along the same stretch as Whampoa Soya Bean. While it can get pretty crowded during mealtimes, there are many tables available in this spacious hawker centre.
To wrap up, our experience at Wooga Jjajang was an enjoyable one. While some may find $8 too steep for a hawker stall, it’s a splurge that I would recommend if you’re craving some jjajangmyeon. Their jjajangmyeon was so addictive that we gobbled it all up without hesitation.
Although it isn’t as conveniently situated as Itaewon Jjajang, which is located in the CBD, I would still travel to Wooga Jjajang for their legit Korean-Chinese fare. There’s some good news though: we heard that they may open in Chinatown this September! Chef Yu also has plans to open a stall with bibimbap served cai png-style, so you can look forward to that.
Address: Old Airport Road, #01-84, Old Airport Road Food Centre, Singapore 390051
Opening hours: Thurs-Sun 11am to 8:30pm
Wooga Jjajang is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by John Lery Villanueva.
This was an independent visit by Eatbook.sg