The restaurant is modelled after a Korean pojangmacha, the ubiquitous K-drama street food tent serving no-frills nosh like tteokbokki, odeng and gimbap. While we don’t see much of a resemblance to the gritty open-air tent (it looks more like a typical K-BBQ restaurant), the setting here is comfier with air-con and pojangmacha - style metal tables.
Opened by three childhood friends
Daejim is opened by pals Gabriel Kok, 35, Joseph Oh, 32, and Xavier Ng, 27. Gabriel and Joseph were childhood neighbours in Boon Lay who later opened a handphone shop and interior design studio together. The trio also frequented Korean restaurants in Tanjong Pagar, where they made friends with the Korean owners of eateries like Joseon royalty cuisine specialist Sura and Korean sashimi restaurant Badaro.
Incidentally, Sura and Badaro’s owners are siblings, and have provided advice to Gabriel and his friends on setting up their K-BBQ restaurant. Badaro also supplies fresh seafood like abalones to Daejim.
Before opening his own F&B business, Gabriel was a professional chef at sushi temple Shinji by Kanesaka for four years. “If I continued working in a restaurant, I couldn’t start my own business,” he explains of his decision to leave.
The restaurant offers seven types of BBQ sets that feed two to four pax. Prices start from $72 for a Salt & Soy Chicken + Pork Belly Set , and top off at $158 for a Premium Beef Set with wagyu ribeye, wagyu karubi short plate and finger rib.
Seafood Set, $118 (feeds two to four pax)
There’s also a Seafood Set which comes with oysters, scallops, abalones, a whole squid and grilled mackerel.
Each set includes free-flow banchan and sides such as steamed egg, a soup (choose from options like kimchi or spicy tofu stew), three cream cheese croquettes and a cheese fondue dip. For smaller eaters, the meat and seafood can be ordered as a la carte portions.
“If we see there’s a lot of meat left over on the customers’ tables, we will refresh their palate with a [complimentary] salad that has chilli powder and vinegar,” says Gabriel.
If you don’t fancy grilling your own food, you can get Daejim’s staff to do it for you at the smokeless grill.
Soy- Marinated Raw Crab, $40
The restaurant also serves ganjang-gejang, raw crabs marinated in soy sauce.
Honeycomb Makgeolli, $38 (serves two pax)
There is also honeycomb makgeolli, served with chunks of honeycomb, to wash all that BBQ food down.
Soju Cocktails, $18 each
And soju-based cocktails, all priced at $18 and includes flavours like Blood Orange Squash and Soju de Coco.
Address and opening hours
Address: 4 Craig Rd, S089664
Opening hours: Open daily 12pm-3pm; 5pm-2am
Photos: Kelvin Chia