Tanjong Pagar is quickly becoming Korea Town in Singapore. With such a concentration of Korean restaurants in the neighbourhood, it would take some courage to open another one in the area.
The name Sura 수라 is inspired from the Korean word surasang 수라상, which refers to a meal served to a King during the Joseon dynasty, otherwise known as the royal meal. The most distinctive feature of a royal meal is the number of dishes involved, which ranges from rice and stew to grilled meats and raw seafood.
We booked a private room but were ushered to the main hall instead. Most of their food is served in bronzeware which historically has been used as tableware for the royal families of Korea and in Korean royal court cuisine.
Sura’s menu features traditional Korean BBQ style cooking as well as other traditional Korean dishes.
- 호박죽 | Hobakjuk | Sweet Pumpkin Porridge
- 반찬 | Banchan | Side Dishes
- 상추겉절이 | Sangchu-geotjeori | Korean Lettuce Salad
- 부침개 | Buchimgae | Korean Pancakes
- 잡채 | Japchae | Sweet Potato Noodle
- 도토리묵무침 | Dotorimuk Muchim | Acorn Jelly Salad
- 보쌈 | Bossam | Boiled Pork Wrap
- 수라소고기모둠한상 Sura Assorted Beef Specials
- 해물파전 | Haemulpajeon | Seafood And Green Onion Pancake
- 갈치조림 | Galchijorim | Braised Cutlassfish
- 아구맑은탕 | Agwimalgeuntang | Monkfish Soup
- 간장 게장 | Ganjang Gejang | Soy Sauce Marinated Crab
호박죽 | Hobakjuk | Sweet Pumpkin Porridge
Hobakjuk 호박죽 is made with pumpkin and glutinous rice. This beautifully golden-yellow and velvety porridge is usually served in autumn and winter to warm up the body and soul. It is usually top up with pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and/or jujubes, but in Sura it only came with a few pine nuts and bits of sesame.
반찬 | Banchan | Side Dishes
Sura is one of the few restaurants that serves up this many unique side dishes along with any set menu ordered. And the selection changes with the season.
상추겉절이 | Sangchu-geotjeori | Korean Lettuce Salad
Sangchu-geotjeori 상추겉절이 is an unfermented kimchi dish that is commonly eaten with Korean BBQ. The dressing is made from gochujang, sesame oil, cider vinegar and light soy sauce. It is a bright, spicy, lightly seasoned lettuce salad that meant to be made and eaten right away.
부침개 | Buchimgae | Korean Pancakes
Next up, a plate of cute little pancakes in two flavours, kimchijeon 김치전 and pajeon 파전. They are part of the Korean cuisine classified under buchimgae 부침개 or Korean pancakes.
잡채 | Japchae | Sweet Potato Noodle
Japchae 잡채, or sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables and meat, is one of Korea’s best-loved dishes.
도토리묵무침 | Dotorimuk Muchim | Acorn Jelly Salad
Dotorimuk 도토리묵, or acorn jelly, is uniquely Korean. It has a smooth and soft jello-like texture that just melts in your mouth and has a slight tannin aftertaste. while the spicy seasoning sauce adds a great punch to each mouthful. Dotorimuk Muchim 도토리묵무침 is a side dish that is made by mixing the acorn jelly with lettuce, onions, carrot, cucumber with a dressing made from gochugaru (chilli powder), sesame oil and soy sauce.
보쌈 | Bossam | Boiled Pork Wrap
I seldom see bossam 보쌈 served as a side dish, but they were generous enough to provided each one of a taste of the classic Korean dish. The pork belly has been boiled in a brine that included aromatics like bay leaves and others, and the soft pork is eaten with a special radish kimchi.
수라소고기모둠한상 Sura Assorted Beef Specials
The assorted beef special came with 5 types of beef, with enough portion to feed for persons.
- 등심 | deungsim | grilled sirloin
- 생갈비 | sogalbi | grilled beef ribs
- 갈비살 | sutbulgalbisal | grilled short rib
- 차돌박이 | chadolbaki | beef brisket
- 양념모둠주력 yangnyeom modum jumulluk | marinated assorted beef
Once a chef in Korea refuted me when I asked for lettuce and perilla leaves to wrap my KBBQ. He said that for Hanwoo (Korean bred cattle), they would eat them as is without any dips or wraps, maybe just with sprinkle of salt. So I chuckled when I saw this plate of ssam 쌈.
The grilled beef will be served on a beautiful stone plate with some dongchimi 동치미 or radish water kimchi. I expected the beef to be served on a cast iron warmer to keep the beef warm while we enjoyed them.
차돌박이 | chadolbaegi | beef brisket
Chadol baegi 차돌박이, a staple of Korean BBQ, is thinly shaved beef brisket. Unlike other Korean meat favourites that hit the grill, the brisket is never served marinated. Instead, it’s cooked quickly on the grill and then dipped in a sauce of sesame oil, salt and pepper. A bit overdone IMHO, but the charring was the delicious part.
등심 | deungsim | grilled sirloin
To the Korean butcher, the ribeye is usually split into saeusal 새우살 (“shrimp fillet” because it looked like a shrimp) and deungsim 등심 which is mistakenly translated to sirloin in most cases. The sirloin steak was grilled to medium rare and totally unseasoned. There were the standard dips given (salt-pepper-sesame oil dip, wasabi, cho ganjang, ssamjang), but I took one without anything (totally bland) and one with the salt-and-oil dip. You will need the oil dip to give some flavour.
생갈비 | sogalbi | grilled beef ribs
Sogalbi refers to the short ribs that are not sliced and served whole slab. Usually braised or used in a LA galbisal, we can taste the original texture of the short rib. The marbling wasn’t great for these beef, and the grilling made them rather chewy.
갈비살 | sutbulgalbisal | grilled short rib
The meat has been cut off bone, and butterflies into thinner slices. Usually served marinated in most KBBQ in Singapore, this is one of the few places that I had it as saeng-galbisal. Very chewy, not an excellent cut to grill at this thickness – needed to be thinner than this.
양념모둠주력 | yangnyeom modum jumulluk | marinated assorted beef
Yangnyeom means “seasoned” in Korean and I expected the quality of the beef not to take a dip even thought it was marinated. However the marinated beef was not of the top quality, you can taste the difference when you did not dip it in any sauce. And the cuts themselves were quite haphazard, like rejected corners of the main cuts. Even if it’s modum (“mixed”), the jumulluk (“beef cubes”) should still be from proper cuts of meat.
해물파전 | Haemulpajeon | Seafood And Green Onion Pancake
If I knew the set came with Korean pancakes, we wouldn’t have added this ala carte item. However the harmulpajeon (seafood scallion pancake) was very crispy and tasty. Came with the cho-ganjang (sour soy sauce), it was finished in no time even though we had so much to eat.
갈치조림 | Galchijorim | Braised Cutlassfish
Cutlassfish or beltfish is a fish that looks like a belt and comes with lots of bones but they can be managed if you know the direction of sliding the fish meat off the bones. Tender, delicate and fatty, it’s a very popular fish in Korea.
I loved the pan fried version, which my mom used to make when I was small. Since I missed the chance to try it in Beltfish Alley in Myeongdong, I want to make up the disappointment here. It was really delicious, but I find the beltfish used was too small.
아구맑은탕 | Agwimalgeuntang | Monkfish Soup
A combination of white monkfish offal and fillets, soy bean sprouts, and water dropworts (minari 미나리) creates the ultimate flavour. For this reason, monkfish soup is one of the top hangover soups in Korea. It is one of the rare clear stew (not made with doenjang) and has a clean flavour because of the radish and fish combination.
간장 게장 | Ganjang Gejang | Soy Sauce Marinated Crab
I have tried a lot of ganjang gejang 간장 게장 here in Singapore and in Korea. Of course, nothing beats the ones that I have tried in Korea. But this one was not one of best in Singapore. It was not marinated through and did not taste like the swimmer crabs were from Korea. The brine was not flavourful as well.
And for the final item on the dinner, a traditional Korean drink known as sikhye 식혜 was served.
They need to simplify their menu – it started with several set menus starting $68 per person, but you still have to choose the main courses in the set menus, doesn’t it defeat the purpose of a set menu? And the waiters could not properly explained the differences between the menus as well as the surasang menu – the Table D’Hote Course that they tried to market so hard. In the end we had to settle with an assortment of beef, which wasn’t fantastic
In the cutthroat completion in Tanjong Pagar, having a wonderful interior decor is only the entrance ticket. You need to serve good Korean food – there are at least 15 of them along this stretch and Peck Seah parallel to this. A few are top notch, most are rubbish, and this one is in the middle. So you still have at least 5 to contend with.
60 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088481
Tel : +65 6223 2289
Visited Apr 2023
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