Popular Korean food shop Jo Ju Bang opens their first physical outlet serving authentic home-cooked kimbap, jjimdak and dak dori tang

by Sheree Chua

To all those who love Korean cuisine, you may be one of the many who lined up for the Jo Ju Bang 조주방 pop-up at Novena Square in April this year.

If not, you’re no doubt a fan or have surely heard of the famous Singaporean-Korean couple @sgkr.singakorean on TikTok.

However, for those who need some background context, I’m here to help.

The couple behind @sgkr.singakorean, XL and Vivian (otherwise known as Chef Jo), skyrocketed to popularity not just for their funny and relatable videos but mainly for their authentic home-cooked Korean food sold via TikTok livestream.

Their food at the Novena Square pop-up sold out in under three hours — a true testament to their popularity. Naturally, the next exciting step was to open their very own brick-and-mortar store.

Jo Ju Bang
Photo by Confirm Good

Now, you no longer have to purchase from their TikTok shop or anticipate their pop-ups as you can find them permanently housed at Tanjong Pagar Plaza.

Jo Ju Bang
Photo by Confirm Good

While Jo Ju Bang 조주방 describes themselves as a Korean fast-food shop, don’t expect subpar ingredients to be used here. In fact, all the ingredients are fresh and imported directly from Korea, taking authenticity to another level.

Three dishes are served: Kimbap, Jjimdak and Dak Dori Tang.

Jo Ju Bang
Photo by Confirm Good

As they’re known for their kimbaps, this is a dish that you can’t miss out on. You can choose from four types of kimbaps: Traditional (S$9.90), Vegetable (S$8.90), Cheese (S$10.90) and Tuna ($10.90).

If you had to go for just one (or two because there’s no such thing as too much kimbap), opt for the Traditional and Tuna, as recommended by XL.

Photo by Confirm Good

The Traditional Kimbap is rolled with fish cake, smoked ham, crab meat, pickled radish, pickled burdock, cucumber, carrot and spinach. This was my favourite of the two as not only was it a visual feast with how vibrant the vegetables looked but also how well-textured it was .

The vegetables provide a nice crunch that compliments well with the firm yet fluffy vinegared rice, making the kimbap a cool and refreshing dish that’s light on the stomach.

Want something richer? Go for their Tuna Kimbap that’s additionally filled with tuna mayo and lettuce. The tuna is creamy and buttery but what’s most impressive is that it does not have a fishy taste.

Regardless, both kimbaps make for the perfect grab-and-go, especially if you’re looking for a quick lunch option for those working around the area.

Photo by Confirm Good

As for their Jjimdak, you can get four wings and drumettes for S$9.90 or six wings and drumettes for S$13.90.

The Jjimdak, a braised caramelised chicken dish made with ganjang (soy) sauce, is topped with potatoes, carrots and oyster mushrooms.

While the sauce was light and not too salty, I would’ve preferred for it to have a little more sweetness to it. Most traditional jjimdak would also have a subtle spice that sneaks up to you but not the one from Jo Ju Bang 조주방, which is a good thing for those with a low spice tolerance.

Photo by Confirm Good

Aside from the kimbap, another standout dish for me was the Dak Dori Tang, with four wings and drumettes going for S$9.90 and six wings and drumettes at S$13.90.

Their Dak Dori Tang, a traditional spicy chicken dish braised with Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru), had just the right amount of spiciness to make it warm and comforting. The chunky potatoes and carrots were thankfully not overcooked and further added to the heartiness of the dish.

Photo by Confirm Good

My only comment is that the rice cakes (tteokbokki) could’ve a chewier and bouncier texture.

All in all, I can see why Jo Ju Bang 조주방 has gained considerable attention for their food. There’s no doubt they serve good home-cooked food that would satisfy homesick Koreans in Singapore.

Photo by Confirm Good

There are a few things here and there that can be improved on, as might be expected from a newly opened shop. However, with Chef Jo’s years of experience in the kitchen, I’m sure any kinks will be quickly smoothed out.

Here’s a sweet deal: you can get free japchae just by following them on TikTok and Instagram pages.

Do note that Jo Ju Bang 조주방 is not halal-certified but there’s no pork and lard used.

Are you planning to come down to show your support?

Jo Ju Bang 조주방
Instagram | TikTok
📍1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #01-15, Singapore 082001
🕐 11am–7pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

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Photos by Sheree Chua

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