Alden Boon

The Boneless Kitchen: Meatless Korean Dishes That Are an Utter Delight

28/05/2018

Meatless Korean dining at first sounded to me like an asinine idea, one that panders to the whims of snobby organic-food eaters. But one trip to The Boneless Kitchen, Tai Seng, and all visions of Korean barbeque, thick fat slabs of pork belly sizzling on hot grill; and budae jjigae, sausages, chicken and luncheon meat seething in a hot pot, were expunged from memory.

The Boneless Kitchen’s menu offers an array of Korean classics, all of course with a vegan spin. I have never liked French fries deluged with ingredients — side note: I did not enjoy poutine when I was in Canada — but the Kimchi Bulgogi Fries (S$10.90) were addictive. The fermented cabbage and marinated mushrooms punched up the shoestring fries with a savoury note. Another standout was the Odeng Bokkeum (S$8.90). Upon biting into the palimpsestic fish cake, my fellow diner Raven and I became culinary gumshoes, putting heads together to decipher the vegetarian substitute, whose texture and bite resembled the real thing. Our best guess was fried tofu. Less memorable though by no means subpar were the Kimchi Mandu (S$5.90): The creamy kimchi filling was insulated by pastry skin nicely seared to an unctuous brown colour.

The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng
The Boneless Kitchen Korean Vegetarian Dining Singapore Tai Seng

The Soondubu Jjigae (SS12.90), comprising soft tofu, wobbly egg tofu, enoki mushroom, shiitake mushroom, fishcake, kimchi and egg, arrived in a dolsot with trivet that was scalding to the touch. It packed a lot of heat, so that I kept reaching for my glass of yuja chilsung cider, yet at the same time it was so moreish that I, someone who is not adept at handling spicy food, was poised between comfort as well as sanity, and self-inflicted, tongue-incinerating pain. I chose the latter: The stew was just too good to let Raven have the lion’s share. Reminiscent of zhajiangmian (minced pork noodles), the Jajangmyeon (S$10.90) tasted better than it looked, the noodles smothered in a potently-salty fermented black soybean paste. Supplanting the pork were potato, radish and shreds of Japanese cucumber. I did find myself yearning for the meat, or something seasoned to go with the noodles.

Service at The Boneless Kitchen was prompt, then again we had dinner at four in the afternoon, and on a Sunday, Tai Seng was almost a ghost town. The Boneless Kitchen offers such palatable meals with uncompromising flavours that I think eating here should not just be a last-ditch effort to diet before a milestone event, but a periodic affair.

nedla does not receive any compensation for its food reviews; all visits made are incognito.

The Boneless Kitchen

Address: 1 Irving Place, Commerze @ Irving #01-31, 369546

Opening Hours: Closed on Mondays

Tuesdays to Sundays 12pm to 9pm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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