What: By the same folks that brought us hits like Chir Chir, Massizim and Kogane Yama, comes another Korean food brand: jjamppong specialty concept Nipong Naepong, also Singapore's first ever, at JEM shopping centre.
What to expect: The name translates to “your ppong, my ppong”, and is fitting for their intriguing menu of fusion jjamppong (Chinese-Korean seafood noodles)—a dangerous area to play in, but they managed to pull it off well—and a selection of playful tortilla-based pizzas.
Highlights: If like me, you like your Korean flavours and spice, go straight for the classic Cha Ppong ($15.80).
The specially imported, house-made jjolmyeon (wheat noodles) are chewy yet smooth, and arrives drenched in a punchy broth. Already quite fiery at Level 1, with a traditional Korean chilli pepper-type heat—that seems to attack all areas of the mouth—is balanced with tangy and mild sweet notes, and an almost wok hei-esque, smokiness from fried cabbage.
The Tae Ppong ($15.80), also Nipong Naepong’s only stir-fried option, and the Vongole Ppong ($16.80) are both deeply smoky, and robust though in different ways.
The former, a Phad Thai-inspired ppong, boasts a flavoursome pepperiness, whilst the Korean take on the classic Italian clam pasta dish is a notch lighter and fragrant with hints of dried chilli.
There are, of course, also non-spicy jjolmyeon options available.
The Keu Ppong ($17.80, spicy version available as well) is essentially a take on Alfredo pasta, and the Ro Ppong ($17.80) is presented with a pretty ‘Roje’ (Korean for Rose) sauce of cream and tomato sauce, made creamier with shredded mozzarella cheese.
What’s unique about the ‘soft' pizzas here, with baked tortilla wraps as the base, is that you’re actually recommended to roll up the slices. And from what I tasted, it works.
The Ninae Pizza ($18.80) is a wonderful curl of honey, fresh baby spinach and dollop of cream cheese, with bite of cherry tomato to give a refreshing, juicy squirt.
With buttery yet fluffy, housemade whipped cream and fragrant sweet potato puree, the Ni Pizza ($16.80) works as a fun starter, dessert, or even both.
This was an invited media tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.
Address:#01-16 JEM, 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549
Tel: +65 6262 4078
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-11pm