Korean Culture

Adventures in Koreatown

After having lived in New Malden for over two years, I’ve become a total Korean connoisseur and a little bit obsessive about everything 한국어. I started blogging about New Malden in 2014, specifically relating to the Korean establishments.

New Malden has changed a lot since then, with the arrival of Pizza Express and Nando’s, not to mention Foxton’s Estate Agents – a sure sign that the area is quickly moving upmarket.

It still holds the claim of being home to the largest Korean population outside of Korea. Here are my favourite places to eat and drink in and around the area of New Malden….

 

(left to right: Flat White and green tea cookie (The Place); Meeyoung at K-Mart; Blue House cocktail and Bazooka Joe cocktail at Sing Sing Bar & Karaoke)

The Place Cafe

They make the best flat white here. I rate their snacks and cakes highly too. A slice of carrot cake with your coffee will do you no harm at all.

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Yami

This place is so popular that they have to make extra room for customers at the back by the freezer compartments. It doesn’t really need my help as it’s already doing extremely well. Try the naengmyeon (cold chewy noodles with chilli sauce) or galbitang (rib of beef soup).

69 High St, New Malden KT3 4BT

Sing Sing Bar and Karaoke

Run by the exceptionally friendly and welcoming JC Choi, this is like a Korean dive bar. It’s as popular with local  students as it is with Koreans. Last year they introduced a bar menu which includes such classic ‘anju’ fare like ramen and dried squid.

Bingsoo

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There’s no ‘Bingsoo’ in this picture, I just thought it would be nice to show some Koreans at play

This is the newest place on my list (it opened in March 2016). It’s difficult to think of a better way to end a Korean meal than a bowl of shaved ice with green tea or coffee ice cream. Besides a slice of orange or pear given at the end of your meal, you will have trouble finding any dessert items in Korean restaurants. This bright, airy and spacious cafe looks great and is already a hit with Korean locals.

Note: if you want red beans, you must order Pat Bingsoo, rather than ordinary Bingsoo, which translates as shaved ice, and looks like a bowl of snow with a scoop of ice-cream on top.

39 High St, New Malden KT3 4BY

Kangnam

Named after the upmarket location made so famous by Psy, it opened last year, and in my opinion (admittedly not worth much) it is the best option for Korean food on the high street. Prices are cheap and they make you feel right at home. Halfway through a recent dinner the waitress removed the empty banchan dishes and refilled them without even being asked. This sort of thing makes eating in Korean restaurants such an enjoyable experience.

 

19 High St, New Malden KT3 4BY

Hyun’s bakery

Korean baking is a strange and wonderful experience. It’s certainly not as sweet as American doughnuts or even French patisserie. Try a very soft bun filled with red bean paste or custard.

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94 Burlington Rd, New Malden KT3 4NT

K-Mart

Every inch of this store is crammed full of every culinary item you could possibly need to make delicious Korean soups and rice dishes. Have a chat to the friendly staff and practice Korean with one of the women who work there.

71-73 High St, New Malden KT3 4BT

New Malden Korean Food Festival, The Fountain Pub

Once a year, during the second Saturday of July, the beer garden of this grotty local pub is transformed into a giant outdoor barbecue cooking every kind of meat imaginable. Alongside all the eating there are performances and a celebration of Korean music and culture.

BOB

Held on the second Saturday of July in the garden of the Fountain pub

 

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