Dinner @ Don Dae Bak

May 28, 2016 in Korean by thywhaleliciousfay

These days, once I have craving for grilled meat, it spreads over a few weeks. Like I need to have it a few times before I could satisfy my tummy properly. o_O Ha. And ever since I began crossfit-ing, my appetite has grown significantly. Cause coach has been emphasizing to eat sufficient protein. So bring it on if it’s buffet for meat. I am a big protein loader. =p

So when my first craving for grilled meat kicked in, I did a search on the internet and learnt about Don Dae Bak. I must be quite the frog-in-the-wall cause they have been around for quite some time now.

Making a reservation is a must. Unlike most Korean restaurants in Tanjong Pagar which operate till late, Don Dae Bak’s last order is at 9pm. And that’s because most, or maybe even all customers come for Don Dae Bak’s BBQ buffet which is capped at 1.5 hours. So since their operating hour is till 10.30pm, the last order is at 9pm.

However, by the time I finished google-ing, it was 8.15pm when I called. The staff told me it would be too late if we were to come at 8.50pm. And I am glad they were (brutally) honest with me cause with my subsequent visits, I realised 1.5 hours wasn’t enough. Not when one is having their buffet BBQ and has no self-control like me. Ie, keeps eating even when the stomach is full. Haha.

A second attempt to dine at Don Dae Bak was made. And this time round, my friend and I made reservation for 6.30pm. And upon arrival, the staff checked our reservation before leading us to our table. We were the first to be seated at our assigned table. And for that, the table had already been set with the side dishes, etc, in anticipation for our arrival.

I liked that charcoal was used for the BBQ. The only con was that 1 hour into dinner, the heat from the charcoal wasn’t as strong as when we just kickstarted dinner. Within the first hour, we easily cooked 3 rounds of meat. But after the first hour, our meat took twice the duration to cook. Not too good when one is on a timed buffet.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), we ordered:-

1) Seafood pancake, $18 (above) – The portion for this was huge! It’s as big as the bamboo-weaved tray which it was served on. And this was really good. Pancake was thick with generous serving of seafood within. And I liked how they managed to pan-fry it such that it was crispy on both sides (top and bottom), yet moist on the inside. A must try.

2) A-la carte BBQ (above) with meat options of:

(A) Shoulder-loin (low fat), $18 (above) – This is also available if one decides to go with the BBQ buffet. However, this was ordered (together with pork belly, item 2B) as a-la carte on my first trip to Don Dae Bak because my friend is a small eater. So I thought it’s better to save that few dollars and order a-la carte. You know… Like how each dish was $18 while buffet was $23.90 per head. And we had to order a minimum of 2 portions for the BBQ. o_O Ha.

(B) Pork belly, $18 (above) – Available for BBQ buffet too.

(C) Pork shoulder butt, $18 (above) – This cut of meat is not available for BBQ buffet. And this was ordered (together with marinated chicken, item 2D) on my second trip to Don Dae Bak. Skip this though. For such a fatty cut, I think one should stick to pork belly.

(D) Marinated chicken, $18 (above) – I wanted to order the chicken gizzard which was only available on the a-la carte menu. However, after taking our order, the staff came back to us 5 minutes later to inform that the gizzard was no longer available. And since my friend and I had no intention to go for the BBQ buffet, we ordered the chicken instead. And this was good. One could tell from the colour that the chicken was marinated for a long time.


(E) Egg, Complimentary (above) – And one gets to enjoy free flow of egg for both the a-la carte and buffet BBQ. The staff would come round with the kettle and pour the egg mixture into the sunken portion of the grill. And the result was fluffy egg omelette! But be careful not to leave the egg on the grill for too long else it would burn. Although we also realised the (natural) oil from the meat would overflow into the sunken portion of the grill. o_O So one may want to be careful of that. Cause even if the oil is natural… In moderation please!

3) Spicy seafood tofu soup, $12 (small) (above)

4) Cold noodle soup, $16 (full size) (above) – When I was in Korea, I noticed the Koreans would have a bowl of cold noodle at the end of their dinner of grilled meat. And thus, my friend and I decided to order this too. What’s stated on the menu is ‘half size’. But since this was ordered during our first visit when we were having a-la carte BBQ, the staff recommended the ‘full portion’. Yes, ‘half portion’ if one is doing BBQ buffet. Now, I’ve (also) been watching Korean food show ‘Baek Jong Won’s Top 3 Chef King’ and in episode 38, it’s said that we should eat the noodle without cutting it. So yes, although Don Dae Bak provides one with scissors, do consume this dish the right way by ‘cutting’ the noodle with one’s teeth. Yes, chew it off! The Korean food show even said the ratio of noodle in one’s mouth:hanging:in the bowl should be 1:1:1! Haha. I know, it sounds like a big mouthful. And good news for non-beef eaters like me is that the broth used at Don Dae Bak is not beef broth.


5) BBQ buffet dinner (90 min), $23.90 (above) – One could order almost all the different types of meat that’s offered on the a-la carte menu. There’s marinated beef, beef brisket, pork belly, spicy pork belly, shoulder loin, marinated shoulder loin, marinated chicken and spicy marinated chicken to choose from. And I wouold say this is very value-for-money. On my third visit, I came with a friend who could eat a little more. Ha. And my friend said the quality of the beef brisket is good. To the extend we actually wondered how Don Dae Bak manage to make any profit. o_O Ha. And of all the meat (excluding beef), I liked the marinated chicken and pork belly! And because the portion served for buffet tends to be smaller, one could refer to my pictures of a-la carte orders for the BBQ meat to ensure one is eating enough to get one’s money worth. Haha.

If one decides to go for the a-la carte BBQ, 1.5 hours is more than sufficient. However, the 1.5 hours was insufficient when I returned for the BBQ buffet with a friend. I felt like I was cooking non-stop instead of eating non-stop. o_O Haha. Which made me wonder how bigger groups manage to cook and feed themselves well, all within the time cap of 1.5 hours.

But nonetheless, I definitely recommend Don Dae Bak. When my craving for grilled meat hits me again, I am definitely coming here. That’s provided I don’t have any new place to explore too. o_O Haha.

But having said that, do be prepared to smell after one’s meal at Don Dae Bak. Getting here maybe a little tricky. It’s not exactly near to any MRT station. One may attempt walking from Outram Park MRT station. I came from Tanjong Pagar, and it took me almost 18 to 20 minutes on foot to reach Don Dae Bak.

35 Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore
6226 1727, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 17:30 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7