Star Vista near Buona Vista MRT
What a rare post on Korean food from myself! But Chi Bing, where we had our team lunch one fine afternoon, actually blew me away quite a little. Went in without any expectations, only keeping in mind that I will see loads of red sauce and sweet tasting stir fry (e.g. bulgogi) and some overly priced bingsu, I walked out filled with utter satisfaction as everything on the menu (at least what we have ordered) tasted hearty, unpretentious and more importantly, priced very reasonably. A smiley service throughout rendered by the polite Koreans (our ajuma cooking for us in the picture above) and with the familiar DOTS soundtrack playing in the background, our experience was further accentuated by the Korean crowd around us! A testament indeed to its authenticity.
Mango Smoothie 망고 스무디 and Green tea mint Choco frappe 민트초코 프라페 – I think what makes them really appealing, is the Korean worded label that the cup is wrapped in. Small gimmick, but would definitely catch the attention of some! Tasting more like chocolate mint ice cream, the green tea flavour has to be stronger as it could easily be overwhelmed by the mint. $6.70 each.
The free flow of pan chan that you could get from the counter.
Did a little bit of mathematics and realised that the set would be much more worthy than the ala carte as each set includes one main stir fry (2-3 pax) together with a complementary choice of topping, steamed egg and a bing su. Set B 치빙세트 B we got, that is the seafood stir fry which was filled with loads of small octopus, mussels, some chicken, prawns and the chewy toppoki. Evenly coated in the thick chilli sauce, every element in this platter was heavy tasting; definitely a hearty mix for the Koreans and I reckon it is better than Yoogane which has created a big buzz when it was first launched. $41.90.
An extra topping was ordered for $3.90. Fried rice that came in a mass tin, what a good way to plate this old, traditional dish which I guess was meant for the masses in the past when Korea wasn’t as wealthy as she is today.
The complementary steamed egg – So fluffy within, made even more appealing with that bubbling froth on top, this pot of lightly buttered steamed egg is definitely comforting to the soul. $4.90 if the set isn’t ordered.
Tofu Stew 순두부찌개 – Generous servings of huge, smooth tofu served in the spicy broth. The tofu was good but the broth was somehow not my favourite as it was lacking in sweetness. $9.90.
Ginseng Chicken Soup Sam gyetang 삼계탕 – A huge pot of comforting ginseng chicken soup. Not exactly thick and rich, the soup though, felt adequately flavoured and permeated throughout with the chicken essence. A delicious healthy bowl which we could indulge in without having to worry of any artificial flavourings. And man, those bones literally melt in your mouth that there was nothing left at the end. $19.90.
Huge Seafood pancake 해물파전 – Cooked in a pan, this large and thick pancake tasted doughy and perhaps needed more flavour to it. The dip at the side though, saved the dish by rendering it a savoury slant. We would prefer the pancake to be less charred. $21.90.
Time for desserts and Bingsu they were. Not expecting such good quality ones at all as I have been dismayed terribly at my virgin experience at Nunsongyee. I actually felt that Bingsu is quite a piece of terribly priced dessert. Not saying that it is cheap here, this small Yoghurt Bingsu 요거트 빙수 has the exact coveted creaminess and every flake melted to give a llao llao or milk and honey experience. $8.90.
Drizzle over this Injeolmi Bingsu 인절미 빙수 with that condensed milk by the side, it further accentuates the nutty body that the smooth pulverised nuts rendered. What sets this greatly apart from Nunsongyee is the evenly flavoured shaved ice that most importantly tasted sweet even when not coated with the condensed milk. $9.90.
Our final bingsu for the day that came down hard on our taste buds. Mango and cheesecake Bingsu 망고치즈 빙수 – Topped with a creamy ball of vanilla ice cream, made even heavier and milkier with that thick cheesecake, this will suit greatly the super sweet toothed. $12.90.
Chi Bing has definitely surprised me in many ways. A very large menu for such a humble restaurant that I believe only has a small kitchen, they are still yet able to uphold the consistency of almost every dish we ordered. This, we felt is worth saluting at. Dan-Gyeol. 단결!
Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.8/5