JINJJA Chicken – Affordable Korean Fare
From endless marathons of DOTS to fawning over the newest baby-faced K-Pop group, any rock you’ve been taking refuge under would have been swept up by the Hallyu (Korean) wave by now.
This signals good news for foodies, since this Korean fever’s brought their cuisine straight to our shores. But young Singaporeans now face the problem of delicious Korean Favourites like fried chicken being out of their budgets – one meal sets you back $20 bucks. And that also meant no money to upload a photogenic Korean dessert on Instagram.
Not anymore. You can now have your Bingsu and eat it too.
Meet JINJJA!! Chicken. Try saying that monotonously. Now that’s one heck of a name to live up to.
There’s any number of Korean food joints dotted around Singapore, but JINJJA is a serious triple threat. Offering unbeatable student deals, and serving up all of our favourite Korean staples alongside their finger lickin’ fried chicken, this fast casual restaurant is also halal certified! Here’s our take on JINJJA Chicken.
JINJJA Wings (6PCS $7.90) and JINJJA Drum Sticks (6PCS $8.90)
The ultimate Soy Garlic Drumstick
JINJJA Chicken’s repertoire constitutes three flavours: Soy Garlic, Yangnyeom (Korean thick spicy sauce) and a new Monster sauce for the spice-meisters.
Soy Garlic and Monster were our chicks of choice, both served fresh out the deep fryer. Coated in an addictive sweet-spicy glaze, I couldn’t fathom how our honeyed Soy Garlic JINJJA Drumsticks retained their crunch. One nibble into the most, crisp-skinned chicken and I was completely sold.
I may have just found the holy grail of all cheat day foods, so crave-worthy I wished I had a second stomach for more.
Good thing I had the Monster chicken wings second, because it very nearly destroyed my tastebuds. The intensely hued sauce should have been a red flag, but not wanting to back down from a challenge I devoured the wing to the bone. Korean chilli has a pleasant initial kick, but the heat WILL slowly creep up on you.
Thank God for the drink that comes with the student meal!
But while I was busy spewing fire, my colleague had finished the other 2 wings without breaking a sweat. How much you enjoy these wings is directly proportional to your spice tolerance – take the heat, and be rewarded with flavourful, succulent chicken, though the skin was not nearly as crisp as the Soy Garlic.
Tip: For maximum juicy tenderness, go straight for the drumsticks.
Jjamjja Myeon 2-in-1 ($10.90)
Seafood Jjampong (left) and Jjajang Myeon (right)
In a bid to incorporate elements of Korean street food culture into their menu, JINJJA also serves two kinds of myeon (noodles) – jjampong and jjajang myeon – alongside their usual offerings.
In other words, you can have a well-balanced meal even after gorging yourself silly on a fried chicken feast.
I’m a firm no rice no life kinda gal – fried chicken and burgers alone will never be a complete meal in my books. JINJJA’s myeon certainly fit the bill, and I dived spoon-first into their Seafood Jjamppong, served piping hot. Strands of springy, homemade al-dente noodles swimming in a full-bodied spicy broth, fresh cuttlefish and squid. Comfort food at its finest.
Seafood Jjamppong Rating: 8.5/10
Regrettably, the Jjajang Myeon paled in comparison to the robust, savoury jjampong. Though traditionally made with pork and lard, JINJJA took a risk and went with a local vegetarian version that tastes almost identical to the original. Having it right after the jjampong dulled the taste of the chunjang (black bean paste), but the slurp-worthy myeon was satisfying nonetheless.
Jjjajang Myeon Rating: 6/10
Chicken Burger ($7.90)
For those who prefer not to go against the grain, their Chicken Burger ($7.90) will be right up your alley. You just can’t go wrong with a chicken and melty cheese burger; the JINJJA burger was more McChicken than McSpicy in terms of crunch, succulent and simple.
JINJJA also gets two thumbs up for including a Tofu Burger ($6.90) so the plant-eaters aren’t left out – definitely next on my hit list!
Tofu Bibimsalad ($6.90)
A salad at a fried chicken joint? I can almost feel your look of disgust through the screen. But hear me out – you may regard salad as a waste of tummy space, but their version may just redeem this cold dish.
Styled after the ubiquitous bibimbap (Korean mixed rice), this Tofu Bibimsalad ($6.90) featured tofu, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots and japchae (Korean glass noodles) arranged on a bed of lettuce, generously drizzled with house vinaigrette. For just $6.90, you get a hearty salad bowl that’s a harmonious medley of textures and will keep you full sans carb loading.
Side salad? Not when eating clean tastes so good.
Tteokbokki Fries ($4.50)
Fried chicken without fries = Blasphemous! So as to not anger the fried food gods out there, we opted to pair our fried chicken with their Tteokbokki Fries ($4.50) – thin-cut french fries slathered with mouthwatering Korean hot sauce gochujang (red pepper paste), and a pair of tteokbokki (rice cakes) on top.
Total budget find – made to order, the tteokbokki sauce proved a worthy contender to ketchup, and the spuds were crisp yet fluffy within. I did come across a couple of bare fries, but nothing an extra dollop of sauce couldn’t fix.
The cylinder-shaped rice cakes were chewy with a nice bite, but atop the fries they looked like an afterthought.
Oreo Bingsu ($5.90)
These Korean shaved ice desserts are all the rage, but I’ve never felt compelled to hop on the bingsu bandwagon. Being complete newbies, we stuck to the classic Oreo Bingsu ($5.90) to start.
While the takeaway bingsu cup meant no pouring-condensed-milk money shot, the finely shaved ice and heap of Oreo crumbs was a match made in heaven. Kind of like a deconstructed ice-blended Oreo smoothie, though smoother, more milky ice shavings would really seal the deal.
Strawberry Cheesecake Bingsu ($6.90)
One bite of their Strawberry Cheesecake Bingsu ($6.90) had me crying out, ‘why didn’t you introduce this sooner?!’ The baby of their bingsu trio, this icy mountain was heaped with caramelised biscuit crumbs, bite-sized cheesecake pieces, jam and a smattering of tart berries so the dessert wasn’t one-dimensionally sweet.
A word of warning: while the flower-shaped cup looked pretty, trying to spoon out the sauce at the bottom of each cup was a recipe for disaster. Moment of silence for our fallen oreo and caramelised biscuit crumbs.
Sorry Colonel, it may be time you step down. JINJJA checks all the boxes: halal certification, vegetarian options, killer student deals, takeaway bingsus, and a menu that’s more than just Korean Fried Chicken.
Their fried chicken alone knocks just about every fried chicken I’ve ever had out the park, and it’s hardly a surprise JINJJA has a bevy of ardent fans (of which I’m now unabashedly part of) behind them.
Throw in their feisty chicken-headed-man mascot, and I declare we have a winner.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Address: 249 Victoria Street Singapore 188034
Sun to Thurs: 11am-10pm;
Fri to Sat: 11am-11.30pm
Find out more here.
This post was brought to you by JINJJA Chicken.