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Cheap & Good

Spicy kimchi jjigae from Three Meals A Day that hits the spot

The cool, rainy weather last weekend had me hankering after something hot, spicy and soupy.

A hotpot would have been ideal, but it is not traditional for my family to have steamboat to ring in Chinese New Year.

And what with all the Chinese food I had been eating over the past two weeks in the lead-up to the Year of the Monkey, I knew I wanted anything but Chinese cuisine.

I thought hard.

A tom yum soup? Favourite neighbourhood Thai restaurant - closed. A spicy bouillabaisse? Too tired to cook.

  • THREE MEALS A DAY

  • 12 Chun Tin Road, tel: 6463-2346, open: noon to 3.30pm, 6 to 11pm (Tuesday to Sunday), closed on Monday. Last order for dinner at 10pm

    Rating: 3.5 stars

Oh, yes, a kimchi jjigae would do the trick.

I head to Three Meals A Day - a Korean family restaurant in Chun Tin Road, a stone's throw from the newly opened Beauty World MRT station - to quell my craving.

The restaurant bears the same name as a popular South Korean reality television cooking show.

It was full when I arrived for lunch at 1pm last Wednesday and I had to wait about 15 minutes for a table.

There was a table of Korean office workers as well as a few tables of Korean women. The restaurant seats about 40 people. Later on, Korean mums came in with their kids. Gee, the food must be pretty authentic if Koreans are flocking here.

Prices are also very affordable, considering the air-conditioned and clean environment.

Noodles start at $8, while a jjigae or stew - which has the consistency of robust soup - starts at $10. Bibimbap starts at $12 a serving.

The kimchi jjigae with pork ($12) comes out bubbling. It immediately hits the spot.

It is piping hot and is just the right amount of spicy, sour and sweet for me. The jjigae is flavourful and yet has a clean finish on the palate. It isn't too cloying either.

I slurp it contentedly. It comes with a bowl of rice and you can expect an array of banchan or Korean side dishes with your meal too.

The seafood pancake with chives ($16) is another must. The pancake, which has plenty of filling, is not too chewy. I also like that the batter is light and the edges are crisp.

The beef bulgogi ($13), though tender and well-marinated, is too sweet for me, but I still polish it off.

If the weather is hot, beat the heat with a bowl of mul naengmyeon ($16) or noodles with beef and vegetables in an icy cold broth, or bibim naengmyeon ($16), cold noodles in a spicy sauce.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Jjigae hits the spot'. Print Edition | Subscribe