Lose your singlehood in Korea’s best anti-romance tradition

Romance (and the lack of it) is a big thing in South Korea—rumor has it that, on a regular day, if two people go for KBBQ and the girl picks up the skewers to grill the meat before the guy does, she’s effectively just friendzoned him. So it only makes sense that the stakes are upped on the most romantic day of the year. Come Feb 14, if you aren’t happily attached and splitting a bingsu (one bowl, two spoons), there’s only one acceptable course of action: To drown your sorrows in a heaving bowl of jajangmyeon.

The black bean paste noodles are meant to represent the wounded hearts of the forever alone. But it’s Singapore and there’s no need to be so melancholic; singlehood is a choice and Korean noodles are tasty! Grab a pal and make a date at one of these jajangmyeon joints for an unforgettable V Day—you might just meet someone too.
 

Dong Fang Hong Korean Chinese Restaurant


Touting themselves as the best place for jajang noodles in Singapore, Dong Fang Hong in Telok Ayer specializes in a variety of Chinese-Korean dishes, though customers typically come for the jajangmyeon. Their noodles with black bean sauce and minced pork ($14) are springy and less sweet than most jajangmyeon. Also a must-try on the menu is the Sweet and Sour Pork ($28), which here comes without the tangy red sauce of our local kopitiam rendition.

Where: #01-01 Far East Square, 45 Pekin St. 6327-9036
 

Jinjja Chicken


Better known for its sauce-soaked fried chicken, this Halal-certified student-favorite along Bugis Village also serves up a mean jajangmyeon. A bowl of the black stuff goes for $7.50, but you can also try it together with their Seafood Jjamppong (essentially a spicy soup version of jajangmyeon) in the two-in-one dish Jjajangpong ($10.50). Last year, the restaurant held a “Black Week” Singles Meal promotion—with a bowl of jajangmyeon, four wings and a drink for just $9.90. Here’s hoping we see the same love again this year.

Where: 249 Victoria St. 6262-2550
 

Joo Mak Korean Restaurant


Unknown to many, the Bukit Timah stretch holds a bevy of cozy independent Korean establishments run by well-meaning ahjummas and serving authentic fare. Joo Mak is one such place, conveniently located at Beauty World. Patrons typically come for the seafood pancake ($15) and Korean BBQ, but their Black Bean Sauce Noodles ($12) are an underrated winner—with a thinner noodle and lighter sauce cooked with minced pork and onions. You know a Korean place is good when it’s packed with Korean diners.

Where: #04-01 Beauty World Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Rd. 6466-7871
 

Ming Jia Korean Food


Then there’s Ming Jia, just a stone’s throw away at Bukit Timah Plaza. A generous portion of the jajangmyeon comes at $12.90, with chewy noodles and a sweet and spicy sauce. If you start feeling jelak (Malay word translated as "bored", or in this context "sick of eating"), the spicy soups are a good option too.

Where: #B1-07, Bukit Timah Plaza, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit. 6469-5123
 

O.BBa Jjajang


This Tanjong Pagar institution is probably the first name to spring to mind when it comes to jajangmyeon in Singapore. A bowl of the homemade noodles drenched in fermented black soybean paste goes for $10 (lunch) and $12 (dinner), and comes topped with diced pork and shredded cucumber. The menu also includes Korean favorites like army stew and ginseng chicken soups.

Where: 77 Tanjong Pagar Rd. 6221-8254
 

Tae Woo Korean Restaurant


Hidden on Level 3 of Clarke Quay Central is this humble establishment in a cozy wood-furnished setting, where jajangmyeon is the star dish. The classic Blackbean Sauce Noodle ($12) is the cheapest thing on the menu, but Tae Woo also offers variations like the Seafood & Blackbean Sauce Noodle ($15) and even a Black Bean Sauce Rice "Jajangbab" ($15).

Where: #03-84, Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen St. 6224-8284