Recreating the same vibe that a traditional Korean pojangmacha offers is a tall task. And while several establishments in Singapore have tried to do so (to limited success), newly opened Daejim offers the same promise but done in a whole other way.
Rather than creating a setting that mimics the charming street tent aesthetic that pojangmachas are known for, Daejim focuses instead on the food and drinks, as well as service and hospitality, ensuring that diners get a quality experience every time.
Although Daejim, derived from the word Dwaeji in Korean, actually means pork, the thing that impresses us the most here are the seafood. Unlike most venues, items like abalone, octopus, scallops, squid, and oysters are air-flown directly from Korea, retaining that ocean fresh quality about them.
You’ll want to order the Ganjang Gejang (S$40), or soy-marinated raw crab, first. This trending dish is a great appetiser and is an umami bomb with each slurp. Though a common item, their Kimchi Jjigae (S$18) is outstanding too, setting a new standard for how hearty and wholesome this Korean staple can be.
The highlights on the menu are undoubtedly the BBQ sets (S$72-S$158) that are good for two to four persons to share. As mentioned, we’re most impressed by their seafood (especially the massive live abalone), and staff here are well-trained to grill and serve the items in bite-sized portions. Some of the items are grilled with cheese or butter too, adding to the decadence.
As for meats, the marinated pork finger rib and the marinated beef short rib are standouts for having their flavours well soaked through, while the pig pork jowl and wagyu karubi are great when paired with the dipping sauces and side dishes.
Speaking of which, whatever you order, it’s nice that there’s a full serving of banchan too. These complimentary side dishes, a common practice in Korean restaurants, are delectable morsels great for snacking on. We especially love their homemade kimchi, which leans towards spicy rather than sour.
To wash it all down, beer, soju and makgeolli like any you would find in a pojangmacha are available. But trust us and go for the Honeycomb Makgeolli (S$38) that is served in a pot and drunk from small bowls with a whole honeycomb set inside. Enough for two to share, it’s a great way to get the drinks flowing.
Those wanting to try something more unique can go for the soju cocktails (S$18 each), or we’d recommend going classic somaek (a mixture of beer and soju) for a more spirited evening. The Somaek Set (S$38) comprising a bottle of Jinro Chamisul and two bottles of Terra beer will do the trick.
There’s a lot more we’d love to try at Daejim, and we’re only scratching the surface here. Their wide variety of Army Stews is something we have our eyes on once we have worked up our appetites again.
Daejim is located at 4 Craig Road.
[Read more: What is soju and why people love it]