Hwangs: Student-friendly Korean Food

Ask any NUS student and they are sure to know about Hwangs. Their main outlet is located in University Town, just near the entrance of Utown itself.

Hwang’s has several smaller stalls located around school in the various canteens, like the Business Canteen and Engineering Canteen.

In my first semester at NUS, I ate at Hwang’s a lot. Korean food ranks quite highly on my list, coming in a close second to Japanese food.

I usually stick to the hotplates, as I think that’s what they are best at!

Let’s begin with my personal favourite, the Chicken Hotplate:

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The chicken hotplate is ever-so-slightly spicy, and is filled generously with boneless chicken slices and a few slivers of cabbage and onions. Served with kimchi, anchovies, miso soup and steaming rice, there’s always more than enough chicken to go round. I love how the chicken is slightly spicy, yet a wee bit sweet at the same time.

Saba + Chicken Hotplate

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Another regular order for me would be the Saba fish and Chicken hotplate. You get the best of both worlds with the crispy juicy saba fish to add on to the flavourful marinated chicken. Yum in my tum. Try not to order two sets of this when you’re with your friend though… or one of you will end up with the smaller piece of fish or a smaller portion of chicken, when they split the order between the two of you.

Bibimbap

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On the days that I feel like getting some veggies in, I go for the Bibimbap. This is a far cry from the hotplates, and it’s only average at best. I’ve tasted much better, but sometimes a simple meal is all you want. I recommend their Hotstone Bibimbap instead, it’s much better and is served piping hot in a stone bowl, compared to the cold veggies in this bowl.

Bulgogi Beef Hotplate
I don’t have a photo of this unfortunately, but I’ve tried it 1-2 times so far! The beef is on the dry side compared to the chicken, but the marinade is nice. It’s not spicy at all, and is more on the sweet side. A bit like Korea’s take on teriyaki sauce. This dish is my sister’s choice 🙂

Ginseng Chicken
Again, I don’t have a photo, but this is probably the cheapest Ginseng Chicken you’ll find in Singapore at less than $10. Well, you pay for what you get, so don’t expect the real deal stuffed with ginseng and flavourful glutinous rice in a small chicken. You get half a chicken with some glutinous rice, and soup that definitely can’t compare to the real Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup. It’s a close proxy when you want some warm chicken soup to tide you over without busting your budget, but it’s nothing compared to the legit Ginseng Chicken Soups you get in restaurants. (I hear Seoul Garden Hotpot does a pretty decent rendition)

Kimbap

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I tried this a few times for a snack, and it reminds me of the maki I used to make with my family when I was younger. It’s chockfull of cheap, no-frills ingredients like imitation crabmeat, luncheon meat, cucumber, carrots, egg and pickles, but it tastes good.

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There’s a hint of sesame oil which they probably brushed on the rice to add to the fragrance. Definitely a good snack or side dish to try when you’re at Hwang’s! You’ll see the rolls wrapped up in a small corner near the side where they scoop kimchi and miso soup. They usually sell out after 1-2pm so go down early. The kimbap is only available at the main outlet in Utown though.

Stewed Mackerel

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I’ve never heard of this dish before, so I decided to try it on one of my first visits to Hwang’s. It was all right, nothing spectacular. The mackerel is stewed in a spicy sauce, and served with a generous serving of radishes and chopped onions. The stew itself wasn’t particularly flavourful, it just added some spice. I recommend their hotplates over this.

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Hwang’s offers tasty Korean food at student-friendly prices, and it’s definitely worth a try. No doubt there are hits and misses, but their hotplates are generally a safe bet. Some people swear by their Pork Belly Hotplate! Their standard is just a level above the kind of generic korean food you find in food courts, for the same price or less! Want to get an even better deal? Buy from their smaller stalls located in the canteens, the food is $1.50 cheaper (hehe, bargain hunter here). Pity that the menu for the smaller stalls is limited though.

Rating: 7/10

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