Lunch @ Han Kook Gwan

September 4, 2014 in Korean

I am a fan of Korean variety shows! I always watch them during my spare time. And in the order of my preference, I watch… Dad, where are you going. Happy together S3. Running man. Roommate. We got married. Infinity challenge. The return of superman. And that’s a lot, I know! Haha.

So I was watching my Korean variety shows when one of the programs showcased Korean cold crabs and abalones. The sight of the cast enjoying the seasoned raw crabs got me really curious. And with that, I did a quick search on internet and managed to find a Korean restaurant that’s famous for these soya crabs!

Reservation was made for a Saturday afternoon. And to sit 7 people, the restaurant pulled together 2 tables with each table having its individual (sunken) grill. The restaurant was a little quiet at 1pm with around 3 groups of diner at any one time. And what I liked is that low partition are placed between tables for privacy. Not that we ladies needed it since we get pretty engrossed in our own (loud) conversations. Haha.

Instead of physical menus, Han Kook Gwan uses iPads! We had 2 iPads since we were effectively seated at 2 tables. However, 1 of the iPad was flat on battery. Hmm… Upgrading with technology is a good thing, but please do the necessary to reap its benefits. Like, making sure the battery is charged. (^^lll) But my girlfriends and I were a little too used to raising our hands when it comes to ordering. We forgot the intention of the iPad which is to allow customers to place orders electronically. Oops.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Haemul pajeon, $20 (above) – Seafood pancake with spring onion. This was not too bad, although the distribution of seafood was uneven. The pieces at the perimeter / edge did not have any seafood.

2) Kaljib samgyeopsai, $22 (above) – Pork belly. Because we had two tables joined together with us sitting more towards one end, the staff cooked the pork belly at the grill that’s further away from us. So it was good since it meant we probably smelled a little less, but it also meant we were further away from the BBQ-ing action. And although the staff (whom I actually think is the owner) was juggling between attending to other tables and answering phone calls, he managed to look after our pork belly well. We were also advised to eat while the pork belly slices were hot so that it tasted better. And these were okie although the pieces were cut way too small.

3) Ganjang gejang set, $53 comprised of:-

(A) Steamed egg (above) – Egg was light and fluffy. Yes, this was different from our Chinese steamed egg which is dense and smooth. However, the egg parts which were in direct contact with the hot stone bowl burnt easily. So one may want to finish this fast, or at least scoop the egg out fast.

(B) Soft bean curd soup (above) – For the soup, 3 options were given; kimchi soup, soft bean curd soup and bean paste soup. I felt the soup was a little diluted, but they were pretty generous with the bean curd.

(C) Soya crab (above) – Having watched my Koraan shows, I learnt that a lot of effort goes into preparing this dish. The raw crabs are fermented with soya sauce / salted for a few days before heated sauce is poured over the crabs. And the pouring of heated sauce is repeated for a few times once the sauce cooled. However, this dish can be a little scary for first timers, I must admit, even I was a little unsure despite my curiosity. And the meat was akin to our Japanese’s prawn sashimi, with a tint of sweetness. However, the roe and tomalley (white bits) had a really fishy taste. Not too sure if it was meant to taste like that or the crab which we were given was not fresh. And what we did not manage to try was to mix rice with the roe, tomalley and some sauce into the shell of the crab head since rice was not given in our set. Hmm…

4) Budae jeongol, $38 (small) (above) – Stew with sliced ham, sausages, stirred fried kimchi, tofu, mushroom, zucchini, vermicelli. Small is a good potion for 4 people. If not, there’s a large at $48 with an optional top up of $5 to add noodle. And this was not too bad, although they could have put at least 2 slices of those wonderful cheese instead of 1. Keke. A bowl of clear soup was also given, which we did not known what it was for till the owner came and poured it into our stew when our soup was almost drying up. Ahhh… Haha.

And with that, I say Han Kook Gwan is probably a restaurant to skip since there are many other options for Korean cuisine along Tanjong Pagar Road. Unless one is having a craving for Korean cold crab since I have not heard of any other Korean restaurants which serve this dish (yet).

And I did ponder if I should give Han Kook Gwan a second chance by heading back to try their soya crabs again to see taste if the roe was supposed to taste fishy. But I decided not to because after googling it up, I read that the roe is supposed to be sweet and yummy. I don’t think yummy food taste fishy.

And if crabs are meant to be Han Kook Gwan’s signature dish, I am disappointed they did not ensure only the freshest crabs were served at all times. Which is actually surprising cause based on the service provided, they seem to take pride of their food.

We were halfway through our stew, and the soup was boiling pretty fiercely. So my girlfriends and I decided to switch it off. However, the owner came and put it on a very low fire. He explained it’s to keep the soup warm and tasty.

26 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore
6224 2881, Website
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 06:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
Service: 6