For my birthday last year (yes it has been almost a year since I visited this place), my friend and I decided to have an early dinner at Manna Restaurant at Telok Ayer, on my request. It sounded odd to her, because when we met up I had just returned from a one-week trip not long ago to Kimchi Land, and yet I was not sick of Korean food.
Manna has been at Telok Ayer for as long as I could remember, since the days when I worked at the nearby office building, and recalled hearing about Korean celebrities having their meals there when they visited Singapore. But I’d think if I were a foreigner to Singapore, there are so many more different varieties of food to savour and try rather than stick to the safe choices of what could be obtained back home. Well, that’s just me I guess, since there are often times I would stick to extremely safe choices like sandwiches and fish & chips.
Manna, like any self-respecting Korean restaurant (this I added myself), serves up a decent array of appetisers/side dishes, that by the end of the meal, I concluded, could easily fill us up even without any mains ordered. I cannot remember if these are charged to the bill, or perhaps they are already factored into the cost, but anyhow they are refillable on request, and they are really yummy! I love spicy food, even if eating spicy stuff means I will start to perspire and tear, but nonetheless spicyness gives food that much more flavour and zest.
My friend’s order of the Ginseng Chicken Soup (sam-gye-tang), something that is almost synonymous with Korean food. It’s supposed to a very nutritional soup, with the boiled chicken with ginseng and other herbs, and it’s stuffed full with rice that makes the rice replete with the flavour of the soup by the time it’s served.
I decided on the spicy tofu soup (soon-do-bu-chi-gae), since I did not have a chance to have it whilst in Seoul (somehow we didn’t have that many meals to eat that many different things) and thought I’d get my fix, especially when I love soup and added with spicyness and tofu, together with rice, it makes the perfect concoction. I like to dunk the rice into the soup for it to absorb the spicyness so that the rice becomes a little bit softer but I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be eaten though. My only grouse is that eating such nice hot and spicy soup in our weather makes for only one result – lots of tissue required.
We thought to order a kimchi pancake (kim-chi-jeon) because I really do love the korean kimchi pancake and still have not had enough of it from Seoul. It’s crispy and infused with the arresting flavour of spicy kimchi yet not too much that you can’t feel your tastebuds thereafter; the only thing is that it being fried, it could feel a bit oily. So my advice is that, either eat this with rice to quell the queasiness, if it helps at all, or just skip this order and eat your fill of kimchi pancake from the side dishes served. We only realised after placing our orders and getting the sides, so the next time if I visit Manna, I will just have pancake on the side.
Manna is located at: 101, Telok Ayer Street (Tel: 6227 7425)