I’m sure we all know at least one friend who is holidaying in Korea right now. I can’t help but feel envy, especially on days when my cravings for proper Korean street food arise.
In the meantime, why not hit up 88 Pocha in Holland Village, which is as close to the real deal as you can get?
Tucked away amidst the stretch of bars and restaurants along Lorong Mambong, the casual, warm, and cosy 50-seater eatery is designed to resemble a pojangmacha, with its red and blue plastic tables and chairs, disco lighting, and overall laidback atmosphere.
For the uninitiated, pojangmacha (or “pocha“) are street stalls in Korea typically operating out of tents, serving street food and alcoholic beverages till the wee hours of the night.
We visited on a rainy evening, eager to tuck into the eatery’s diverse selection of Korean street food offerings curated by a South Korean-born chef.
The menu is divided into five categories — A, B, C, D, and E — each with different prices, ranging from S$8.88 to S$28.88. And yes, just like the brand name, 88 Pocha, which takes inspiration from the 1988 Olympics Games held in Seoul, the price of every single menu item (including the customisable Party Sets) is rounded up to S$0.88.
But first, alcohol!
Aside from the usual soju, makgeolli, and beers, the eatery also has unique Suntory highball cocktail concoctions in flavours like Blue Lemonade (S$18.88), Strawberry (S$18.88), and Earl Grey (S$18.88), a subtle-tasting highball reminiscent of unsweetened iced lemon tea.
No street food kiosk or eatery is complete without the quintessential Tteokbokki (S$11.88, B), which we had to order. Although I couldn’t get enough of the spicy, mildly sweet sauce, the rice cakes were way too tough, probably due to them being undercooked.
But at least the Gimmari (S$8.88, A), or fried seaweed rolls, which you cannot go wrong with, were super addictive, especially when dipped in tteokbokki sauce.
Those who can never get enough of Korean ramyeon will adore the simple yet utterly comforting Truffle Jjajang Ramen (S$11.88, B), topped with a fried egg and sliced cucumber — the exact same dish popularised by MAMAMOO’s Hwasa on Korean reality show I Live Alone.
I for one can never resist the temptation to order Korean fried chicken whenever I see it on the menu. 88 Pocha’s rendition, in the form of their Half Fried Chicken (S$15.88), was decent, with crispy, succulent skin and fairly juicy meat, though I would’ve liked for the batter to be more flavourful.
Both my dining partner and I were particularly impressed by the cheesy Kimchi Pancake (S$15.88), which remained crisp and non-greasy throughout.
Given the gloomy weather, it was also a must to order the Oden Soup (Korean Fish Cake Soup, S$18.88, D), otherwise known as eomuk tang, thoughtfully served in a teapot atop a portable butane stove.
Fish cake skewers in a comforting, piping hot broth on a cold, rainy evening? Can’t say no to that!
Don’t bother with dessert — the Red Bean Bingsu (S$12.88) was literally just a bowl of shaved ice (not milk) topped with red bean paste, Froot Loops, canned fruits, rainbow sprinkles, and an ice cream bar.
All things considered, 88 Pocha is a fun and refreshing addition to the neighbourhood, which has certainly seen a surge in Korean restaurants and eateries in recent months. It’s also open till 12am daily, making it an ideal hangout spot for those looking to unwind after an extra long day.
Ready to get your fix of Korean street food this week?
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📍 26A Lor Mambong, Singapore 277685
🕒 11.30am–3pm, 5.30pm–12am (Daily)
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Photos by Christabel Tan