Hubby and I came by Square 2 at Novena because I wanted to check out the pet shop there for a cream colour Syrian hamster but to no avail. If any of you peeps happen to see a solid cream colour baby Syrian hamster at any pet shop in Singapore, please drop me a line, thank you very much. 🙂
Time for lunch. We initially planned to go to the food court for curry yong tau foo but this buffet poster outside Hansang Korean Family Restaurant caught our attention instead. I had dined at Hansang at least twice previously when I was working in the vicinity years ago and had a good impression of its authentic Korean cuisine so we decided to have lunch here instead. It was also our first time trying out a Korean non-BBQ style buffet.
‘Hansang’ literally means ‘a table full of food all the time’ in Korean which is really common in Korean cuisine because every meal is often accompanied by an array of banchan (side dishes). Perfect for me because I love variety.
We didn’t have a great start to the meal because the service staff who ushered us to our table was really unfriendly and impatient. She said in a grousy manner that “everything is there” (pointed to the buffet area) and “main courses (pointed to menu)…you can order this or this” and then walked away abruptly before we could even respond. It took us a while to catch the attention of someone even though the restaurant had hardly many customers and the same staff came round our table again. We requested for iced water (she didn’t inform us that iced water was chargeable at $0.30++ per person) and asked if the bibimbap was available as it was indicated as one of the main courses available for the buffet, she replied rudely (we even heard a loud ‘tsk’ from her) the same things she had told us earlier “everything is there…blah blah blah” when she could have said “the ingredients are at the buffet line so you can create your own bibimbap. Would you also like to order the ja jang myeon or rameon?”. While I understand that all of us have our bad hair days at times but seriously, such poor attitude and service from her is still uncalled-for.
The lunch buffet spread at Hansang wasn’t huge which was good because we could easily try everything that was there.
And these were the two main courses which we would have to order separately:
Some pictures that I took of the food on our table mysteriously disappeared from my phone so I didn’t have any images for the following.
Of all the banchan, I loved the white seaweed salad (so crunchy that they somewhat popped in the mouth and the dressing tasted like coleslaw’s), fried ginseng slices (a little chewy but no overpowering flavour of ginseng at all – tasted like fried potatoes) and kimchi (so refreshing and crunchy) best.
The seafood and kimchi pancakes were quite floury with hardly any ingredients in them (esp. the seafood one – had a few pieces but didn’t find any sight of seafood in them) but tasted quite nice when paired with the accompanying dipping sauce.
The grilled chicken salad was ordinary – just some dry-tasting grilled chicken on a bed of plain iceberg lettuce leaves – so not worth the stomach space so could jolly well skip that.
Jabchae was nicely marinated, worth a try.
The ginseng chicken soup was really comforting with a lot of chicken meat in it – it had an intense aroma of ginseng but not in an overwhelming way.
I totally loved those fried chicken. They had a light batter coating and didn’t taste oily at all. Even though they were left out for a while, they were still crispy and crunchy while the meat inside was moist and juicy.
The beef bulgogi fared better than the chicken because they were thinly sliced and were very tender – the marinate seemed to have penetrated the meat thoroughly – and overall it was sweet, savoury and very moreish.
The BBQ chicken and pork collar had a lovely smoky flavour. Some pieces of the pork had too much fat on them but the husband loved them and devoured the entire pieces, lol. I enjoyed the meats by wrapping them in lettuce leaves with the sliced garlic and bean paste provided – absolutely yum. It would be good if a separate bowl of fresh lettuce leaves was provided for wrapping purpose because I had used some of the lettuce that had turned soggy at the bottom of the same chaffing dish as the BBQ meats.
The kimbap was normal, nothing to shout about but we had seconds and probably thirds of the pork collar. Yes, it was that good.
Rice cake lovers would adore their ddukbokki because they were cooked to perfection with a springy bite and the sauce was really robust too.
The beef soup was flavoursome but I thought the broth didn’t taste natural – it was probably made from stock powder or cube. I had bought similar stock powder from Korea before and they tasted the same. This was still worth having because there were a lot of ingredients (such as tender beef slices) in it and tasted really hearty.
There were limited selections for the buffet but more than enough for me as they had most of what I liked anyway. Overall, I enjoyed the food but the husband thought it was only so-so and nothing spectacular. At $18.88++ per person, I wouldn’t say this was cheap because you can easily pay less for a Korean BBQ Buffet elsewhere and still get the same kind of hot dishes with even more variety. But if you aren’t into BBQ and prefer to just enjoy your meal in peace (restaurant isn’t packed at all during weekend lunch hour) in a less crowded part of town without having your hair and clothes smelling of smoke odour, then this is a place to consider. Our dining experience would have been perfect if not for the bad service. Well if you are less tolerant of (possibly a repeat of) appalling service and poor manners, you might be better off elsewhere.
Hansang Korean Family Restaurant
10 Sinaran Drive
#03-33, Square 2 (nearest MRT: Novena)
Tel: +65 6397 6752
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hansangkorean
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.00pm daily