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My job involves eating, tasting new foods and trying new dishes. So you might find it surprising that up until recently I’d never tried Korean food, other than Kimchii that is. Dining out as a vegetarian can have its limitations and partly thanks to my stay in China (15 years ago), I’ve often been wary of Asian food (be it Chinese, Japanese or Korean) as more often than not, oyster sauce, fish oil or the like have magically found their way into my supposedly vegetarian plates, even those specially ordered as vegetarian in restaurants.
But that’s a problem you won’t face at Daehwa Korean Vegetarian. I’d been wanting to try Korean food since one of my team mates tried The Boneless Kitchen and could not stop raving about it. So when Boneless’ sister restaurant Daehwa popped up at 1 Fusionopolis, I knew I had to head there.
After my meal at Daehwa, I can now vouch for the fact that vegetarian Korean dining is not only possible, but also fabulous. Like its sister TBK, Daehwa too makes delicious Korean inspired vegetarian food with only the highest quality ingredients!
Daehwa means big fire, to burn brightly. The founders of Daehwa believe that our food choices have a direct and powerful impact on the health of individuals, communities and the environment, so they want to create a market for plant-based diet with environmentally beneficial ingredients and to make the restaurant and its food a part of the climate solution. They hope to see people enjoy vegetarian cuisine and in turn encourage others to eat vegetarian.
We also love these guys because of their sustainable practices. At Daehwa Korean Vegetarian, they support a diverse workplace and they employ people with special needs too. Other sustainable practices includes recycling paper/plastics, using biodegradable bags and utensils for take aways, reducing food waste etc.
Moving on to the food! For the uninitiated (like me), Korean food is mainly rice, sides (including Kimchi) and soup/stew.
We sipped on Yujacha (Citron Tea) & Yuja Soda (Citron Tea with Soda) while looking at the menu and trying to choose our dishes for the day. Both the drinks are extremely refreshing and worth a try.
We started off with the Rabboki (S$11) and Kimchi Jeon (S$8). The name Rabboki comes from Ramen and Toppoki, the later being spicy stir fried rice cakes that are a popular street food in Korea. At Daehwa, they serve Robboki, a combination of Ramen and 2 kinds of Toppoki in a sweet and spicy sauce, topped with “fishcakes” and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I quite enjoyed the dish, especially the texture of the chewy rice cakes. Kimchi Jeon is a Kimchi pancake, spicy, savoury and highly recommended.
For mains, we tried 2 of the stews and Bibimbap. Jjamppong, a mix of noodles, vegetables, beansprouts and mushrooms in a savoury and slightly spicy red soup base. Soondubu Jjigae (S$14) comes to the table sizzling. It is spicier, flavoured with fermented Kimchi, and loaded with melt-in-the-mouth tofu and mushrooms. Of the two, my favourite would have to be Jjamppong.
Of course, any Korean meal would be incomplete without Bibimbap. Probably one of the best known and beloved Korean dishes, Bibimbap is essentially a bowl of rice topped with vegetables. Daehwa’s version came topped with sautéed seasoned and fresh vegetables like cabbage, bean sprouts, zucchini, alfalafa, mushrooms and protein tofu bombs. The dish comes with a spicy sauce, part of the experience involves mixing the sauce in with the rice and veggies. The sauce really completes the dish, while my husband preferred the dish with a dash of the chilli sauce, I loved mine loaded with the sauce.
The meal was so hearty that we had no space left for dessert. On the bright side, this is just another reason to go back!
Daehwa: 1 Fusionopolis Place, Galaxis Building, #01-35 Singapore 138522. P: +65-62548446. Website.
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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of EatRoamLive, Pooja’s enthusiasm for food and travelling is palpable from the variety and intensity with which she writes. A traveller at heart and a big-time foodie who is vegan, EatRoamLive was incepted with her desire to create a resource aimed at making dining out fun, and not restrictive, for veg(etari)ans. Not just (solely) veg(etari)an restaurants, she marks out places that serve sumptuous food with enough meat-free options. A hands-on mum to 3 young kids, the former architect and interior designer has her hands full juggling her love for writing, travelling and home.