We recreated eating scenes from famous K-dramas at this Korean restaurant in Yishun

Food was yummy too.

| Melanie Lim | Sponsored | August 30, 2022, 05:30 PM

A good 16 years ago, the first Korean drama I had ever watched was Jewel in the Palace, back when I was in Primary 6.

This was in 2006, and Korean dramas had just begun to infiltrate the local scene.

As I entered my teenage years, Korean dramas continued to gain traction across Asia, with the likes of Boys over Flowers and Reply 1994 skyrocketing in popularity amongst the general populace.

Now that we’re in 2022, Korean dramas have evolved to become a mainstream genre of its own, with millions of fans not just in Asia, but worldwide as well.

Memorable pojangmacha (food tent) scenes

Being both a foodie and an avid Korean drama fan myself, something I fondly recall is watching pojangmacha (food tent) scenes from several famous Korean dramas over the years.

For the uninitiated, pojangmachas (or pochas for short) are street stalls in South Korea that serve a variety of Korean street food and alcoholic drinks in a tented spot.

Commonly associated with the working class, pochas have been used in many Korean dramas as a meeting place for characters to have supper and wax lyrical about anything and everything in their lives.

That’s why I had plenty of ideas on how to recreate iconic Korean drama pocha scenes at Pocha!, a Korean restaurant in Northpoint City mall.

Squid Game (2021)

Image via Netflix

Squid Game was Netflix’s most-watched series in 2021, attracting over 142 million member households and becoming the top-viewed programme in 94 countries.

The show revolves around a “contest” where 456 players, all of whom are knee-deep in debt, fight tooth and nail to play a series of deadly children’s games for a chance to win a 45.6 billion won (S$47.9 million) grand prize.

In the first episode of the show, the show’s main protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, is seen treating his daughter to tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes) at a pocha for her birthday because this is all he can afford.

Seong Gi-Hun and his daughter, image via Netflix

To recreate this scene, my colleagues Andrew and Michelle dressed up in the exact same attire as Seong and his daughter - Andrew with a jacket and blue cap, and Michelle with her hair tied up - and posed in front of a plate of tteokbokki.

Andrew and Michelle

While taking this photo, we even got a restaurant staff to cook tteokbokki in the background, just so it could mimic the actual scene in Squid Game.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018)

Image via IMDB

Next up was a scene from What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim.

The plot of this drama revolves around Lee Young Joon, a high maintenance, narcissistic vice-chairman of a major corporation who takes Kim Mi-so, his hard-working secretary, for granted.

When Kim decides to quit her job after nine years of working for Lee, Lee realises how much he depends on her and attempts to change her mind.

In doing so, chemistry blossoms between them and their relationship evolves.

We recreated a scene from episode 15, where Kim’s father takes Lee to a pocha and expresses his disappointment at Lee’s unromantic proposal to Kim.

Kim Mi-so’s father (left) and Lee Young Joon (right), image via tvN

Kim’s father orders Lee to propose to Kim again and not to skimp on the romance this time, warning him that he’ll be watching him carefully.

Most K-drama lovers will be familiar with the classic rich boy, poor girl romance story, and this scene perfectly captures the disparity in class and status between Kim’s family and Lee.

To recreate this scene, my colleagues Andrew and Joshua got dressed in a graphic tee and suit respectively, posing with a soju bottle on some signature dishes from the restaurant.

Andrew and Joshua

Gotta admit, it was pretty hard not to burst out laughing when we took this shot because Andrew and Joshua had to make eye contact and look serious the whole time.

Nevertheless, we were pretty pleased with the end product, and appreciated just how much the backdrop of Northpoint’s Pocha! outlet complemented the actual scene in the drama.

The Producers (2015)

Image via IMDB

Last of all was a scene from The Producers, a comedy-drama that revolves around the lives of employees from KBS network’s variety department.

In episode five of the series, music programme producer-director Tak Ye-jin makes a drunken confession to fellow producer-director Ra Joon-mo, her childhood best friend, at a pocha.

“You know what’s the hardest thing? When I liked someone, I always talked to you about it. But now that I like you… I have no one to talk about it to.”

Ra Joon-mo (left), Park Sang-hoon (centre) and Tak Ye-jin (right), image via KBS

Even the least romantic of us will find these lines swoon-worthy, especially since they come from a woman, when confessions are typically a male thing in K-dramas.

To recreate this scene, my colleagues dressed up in similar outfits as the titular characters and posed in a similar fashion as them, all whilst pretending to partake in a variety of signature dishes from the restaurant.

Andrew, Joshua and Michelle

The Food

By now, you might be wondering if the dishes my colleagues were posing with tasted good, because what’s the use of great looking food if they don’t taste good, right?

All in all, my colleagues and I were presented with a generous spread of eight different dishes to try out when we headed down to Pocha! on a Friday afternoon.

Here’s our review of them.

1) Kkochi Skewers

What would satay be like if it was a South Korean dish?

That's what Andrew imagined this plate of pork belly zigzag kkochi, beef belly zigzag kkochi and chicken ball kkochi to be like, but with more panache.

The meat was cooked tenderly and well complemented by the sauce, making it an easy to enjoy, crowd pleaser.

2) Hangari Bokkeumbab (Signature Fried Rice)

On the other hand, Michelle felt that the Hangari Bokkeumbab (one of the restaurant’s star dishes), really served up a unique, local spin on Korean food.

A hit with older aunties and uncles, it’s also suitable for those who may not take too well to the heaviness or spiciness of many other Korean dishes.

3) Spicy Minced Pork Broth Ramyeon

Another dish all three of my colleagues really enjoyed was the quintessentially Korean Spicy Minced Pork Broth Ramyeon, which was incredibly packed with flavour and all sorts of ingredients.

Despite rarely eating Korean food, Andrew felt that the dish was something he would crave for on a rainy, dreary day, and that’s saying a lot.

4) Jjajangmyeon

Michelle is a huge fan of savoury food in general, so all the dishes were up her alley.

However, the jjajangmyeon really won her over as it still tasted good even after we left it out in the open for a while (imagine how much more yummy it would be if it was piping hot!).

5) Krispy Boneless Chicken Chunks (Gochujang)

My favourite dish of the lot was definitely the Krispy Boneless Chicken Chunks because of the delicious gochujang sauce and little bits of stir-fried tteokbokki inside.

Crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside, these chunks of chicken reminded me of the fried chicken I used to eat the past two times I had gone to South Korea for a holiday.

It was also super convenient to just pop them into my mouth and eat them without bones.

6) Crispy Squid Rings Chunks (Soy Garlic)

The Soy Garlic Squid Rings were an interesting take on a staple of local zi char restaurants.

According to the restaurant owners, the Korean twist to this Krispy Chunk dish lies not just in the sauce used but in the fact that there are stir-fried tteokbokki bits inside too.

The flavours and texture of the squid's crispy batter blended together well and we agreed that if we came back to eat here, this would definitely be something we would order again.

7) Eomuk

After the relatively heavier flavours of the earlier dishes, the Eomuk was a good palate cleanser that helped to wash down all the oil and starchiness.

The fish cake skewers, especially, tasted extremely authentic and exactly like what one would find in an actual pocha in South Korea.

8) Tteokbokki

Finally, the Tteokbokki was Joshua’s favourite dish as it was chewy and chock full of spice and flavour.

The restaurant was also quite liberal with their servings of fish cake along with the tteokbokki, adding major points to the dish’s overall taste.

About Pocha!

Pocha! is Singapore’s first Korean food street dining brand that aims to faithfully recreate the best of Korean street dining in Singapore.

Their menu is an authentic cross section of the best and most iconic street food from South Korea, curated by a team that knows Korean food best.

Located at basement 1 of Northpoint City, head on down for an authentic pojangmacha experience with family and friends and enjoy a sumptuous feast with soju.

Who knows, you just might be able to recreate a few pocha scenes from your favourite Korean dramas here as well.

Address: 1 North Point Drive, #B1-181, Singapore 768019

Opening Hours: 11:30am to 9pm, daily

This sponsored article by Pocha! allowed this writer to live out her Korean drama fantasies.

Top images via Melanie Lim, tvN and KBS