The Hungarian Mangalitsa pork in the Joo Bossam is flavourful and the kimchi and cabbage provide a strong dose of acidity to cut the heaviness of the fatty pork. Photo: Joo Bar
Joo is one of a handful of modern Korean bar-restaurants here.
While ostensibly a makgeolli bar – makgeolli is a popular alcoholic beverage in Korea made from fermented grain – it also offers a full menu of food that is a mix of Korean and Western cooking.
Try the Warm Kimchi With Tofu And Spam ($16). It consists of a spicy stir-fry of kimchi, onion, scallion and pork belly served with slices of firm tofu and luncheon meat. You sandwich the kimchi between a slice each of tofu and Spam. Eaten together, the bland tofu smoothens out the strong flavours of the fermented cabbage without robbing it of its character. The Spam, on the other hand, adds a savoury goodness that enriches the flavours.
The Seafood Gochujang Risotto from Joo Bar. Photo: Joo Bar
The Seafood Gochujang Risotto ($24) could do with a bigger dollop of the spicy paste, although the gooey rice, studded with shrimp, mussels, clams and squid, is tasty enough.
The most Korean dish here is the Joo Bossam ($28). It stays very close to the traditional recipe, where slices of boiled pork belly are served with a variety of condiments, such as kimchi, pickled radish and spicy sauces, and eaten together wrapped in a Napa cabbage leaf.
It is delicious, especially the Hungarian Mangalitsa pork, which has so much more flavour than the meat usually sold here. It is rather fat, so the kimchi and cabbage provide a strong dose of acidity to cut the heaviness.
Pork lovers can also try the Grilled Mangalitsa Belly ($25), where slices of the marinated grilled meat are served with a spicy chive salad.
WHERE: Joo Bar, 5 Tan Quee Lan Street,tel: 8138-1628
OPEN: 5.30pm to midnight daily