Categories
Food Shopping

Singarea Asian Market Now in Salmiya

Singarea, the popular Asian supermarket has officially opened their new location in Salmiya. This is their third location in Kuwait, the other two being in Shuwaikh and Mahboula.

The new location is around the lake in Boulevard Park, right next to the restaurant Izmir. When I dropped by they were still unpacking some boxes but the space was looking good although didn’t seem as big as their Shuwaikh location, neither did it have as many freezers and fridges will all those food items.

Their Salmiya branch is open daily from 10AM to 10PM and if you want to pass by and check it out, here is the location on Google Maps. Just a note, at the time of this post there was no signage outside but just head to Izmir and it’s the building right next to it.

Categories
Food

Singarea Asian Supermarket has Moved

singarea1

Singarea, the Asian supermarket which was located in Dajeej has now moved to a newer and larger location in Shuwaikh. I ran into the owner by chance while I was there yesterday and he gave me a little tour of the place. They were still moving in with workers putting up a sign outside and shop staff busy stacking the shelves inside.

singarea2

According to the owner they moved to Shuwaikh because the traffic and parking situation in Dajeej was unbearable. They were originally supposed to move to this location last year but due to licensing issues they weren’t able to until now. Their new location is larger and they will soon be setting up a fresh fish section (with fish imported from Japan) as well as their own in house bakery.

singarea3

For those of you who’ve never been to Singarea before, they sell a lot of Asian products that aren’t available anywhere else. A lot of sushi and Asian restaurants buy their supplies from them. There also used to be a very cute Korean restaurant over the old supermarket but that closed down a few years ago. According to the owner there are sadly no plans to reopen the restaurant at the moment.

singarea4

If you’re interested in passing by the new Singarea location, search for “Singarea Asian Supermarket” on Google Maps or just use this [Link]. Their phone number is 24912564.

Categories
Food

Singarea Korean Restaurant has Shutdown!

I went to have dinner tonight at the Singarea Korean Restaurant and to my surprise I found it closed (even though it wasn’t a Tuesday). So I asked the Korean supermarket downstairs what happened and she told me they shutdown. There was a language barrier so I couldn’t understand why but I’m really upset. It’s such a unique place and it’s sad to see it go.

Categories
Food Kuwait Reviews

Singarea Korean Supermarket & Restaurant

I have no idea how to begin this post honestly. In fact, in the back of my mind right now I’m going “don’t post about this place” over and over because I loved it so much and I don’t want to share it with anyone. But it’s because I loved it so much I really HAVE to post about it. Singarea is a small Korean Supermarket with a small cozy restaurant on the upper floor. It’s located in one of those plazas (plaza is actually too nice a word here) in dajeej surrounded by stores that sell cheap furniture and lights. By the looks of the place outside I was expecting it to be pretty dodgy on the inside but wow was I wrong.

When I first walked into the supermarket I was surprised at how clean and organized it was. Majority of their products are imported so there were many interesting things I hadn’t seen before. After I was done taking pictures and wandering around the aisles aimlessly I decided to go upstairs and check out the restaurant.

The plan was to snap a few shots, check out their menu and leave but once I saw how the restaurant looked like there was no way I could leave without having lunch. It just felt like I was no longer in Kuwait. The wooden roof, the dark tables combined with the green chairs and the decorative partitions all combined gave the interior a very calm cozy and foreign feeling. I decided to sit in a corner where I knew I’d have a good view of the interior and enough light to take my food shots. There was only one other table occupied by three asian business men so it was peacefully quiet. The waitress was extremely helpful and friendly. She gave me the menu and asked me if it was my first time there which I replied to yes. She started to help me out with the menu explaining how they had Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine. My eyes quickly started checking out the things I knew like sweet and sour chicken but I resisted going with what I was comfortable with and instead asked the waitress to help me choose my dishes. Since I was in a Korean restaurant I wanted to try Korean dishes and asked her to recommend me some options. In the end I decided to go with the following (descriptions taken from the menu):

Starter
Deuk Bokki: Stewed rice cake with spicy Gochujang. Especially youngster’s favorite.
KD2.000

Main Course
Beef Bulgogi: Most favored Korean barbecue. Savory and succulent.
KD3.500

Dessert
Frappe: Fruits, sweet red bean paste and one of three flavors, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry syrup over shaved ice.
KD1.000

Drink
Red Vinegar Drink: Naturally brewed red vinegar from red Ginseng, pomegranate, Ume helps changing body into alkaline.
KD0.750

I forgot to mention that as soon as I sat down I was served corn tea (Oksusu cha) at room temperature. Never had that before and didn’t know you could make tea from corn. It tasted better than regular tea at room temperature.

My starter arrived a short while later and using my chopsticks I started to eat. The rice cakes were a bit spicy but full of flavor. I didn’t like the dish that much but I did appreciate all the flavors in it. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Korean food, I figured their flavors would be a bit safe like Thai food but it turned out to be more exciting like Chinese food which actually makes sense since they’re neighboring countries.The red vinegar drink was very refreshing and although I was expecting it to taste like vinegar it didn’t. It tasted more like a cocktail you’d have pool side and is a great summer drink. Because the rice cakes were spicy sipping the red vinegar helped cool things down. My second dish the Beef Bulgogi was ridiculously good and I mean I wiped the plate clean kinda good. It was sweet and the beef was very tender and oh I’m so going back just to have this dish again. Finally the desert arrived and although I’m not a fan of most fruits especially blueberry, I still wanted to try the dish just because I wanted to experience a Korean dessert. I expectedly didn’t like it but that was no surprise.

They have a huge menu and although I’m really tempted to order the Beef Bulgogi again on my next visit I’m going to try and not do that and instead try something else new. I generally eat the same thing all the time so it was very exciting to experience some new flavors. I really loved the place, the food, the ambiance, the service the whole experience was like nothing else in Kuwait. I can’t believe this place has been open for over 2 years and I just decided to pass by now.

Finding Singarea is a bit difficult but I’ve highlighted it on this [Map] If you can get to Sears then it’s easy. If Sears is on your left side, drive straight until you have the option to go straight or turn right and get onto the 6th Ring Road. From that point drive straight around 30 meters and you’ll find the plaza on the left. Singarea is inside that plaza. I recommend you park the car outside and walk in since during the daytime it’s incredible chaotic inside there. It’s a great place I highly recommend it.

Update: The supermarket has changed location. Check this post for details [Link]

Categories
Food

Yamama Asian Supermarket Now in Salmiya

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a small Asian supermarket that opened up in Salmiya and now a second one opened. Yamama which previously had a location in Shuwaikh just opened up in Salmiya. Yamama like Singarea is actually an importer of products so they tend to supply other shops.

What’s cool about this location is they have a small bar area with boiling water, microwave and a hot plate. That way you can say buy your noodles and eat them there. I’d imagine that would be popular with people in the neighborhood.

If you want to check it out they’re open from 9AM to 11PM and they’re located on the same street at Marina Mall. Google Maps

Categories
Information

Haeng Bok – New Korean Supermarket

A new Korean supermarket opened up last week next to my place in Salmiya call Haeng Bok. It’s a pretty tiny place and it opened in the same place where the clothing store Rima used to be located for nearly 50 years.

Because of the size of the supermarket they only sell Asian products, so you’re not going to find Pepsi for example or any item you can find at your local Coop. That makes it easier to shop but I’m not sure if they have anything you haven’t already seen in Singarea. Because the store is smaller, it just feels more curated than Singarea.

For me this place is convenient because it’s a 2 minute walk from my place so I can drop in pick up noodles or chips easily. Not sure I’d recommend you drive all the way to old Salmiya and spend an hour looking for parking just to shop there, I think it opened just to cater to the neighborhood. If you want to pass by, here is the location on Google Maps. At the moment they’re open from 4PM to 12AM.

Categories
Food

KI:WA, A New Premium Korean Restaurant

Those of you who remember when the Korean supermarket Singarea was in Dajeej might remember they had a very cool Korean restaurant upstairs. That restaurant closed in 2012 and since then Singarea has moved out of Dajeej and opened several stores around Kuwait including their most recent one at Boulevard in Salmiya. When I first visited that location, I noticed they had an area in the back for a small restaurant and I got excited since I used to be a fan of the one in Dajeej. Yesterday morning the owner of Singarea got in touch with me and invited me to pass by for a tasting.

The whole invitation thing happened quickly and last minute since I’m traveling this weekend and we were trying to make it work before I left. I even struggled to find a friend to come a long but luckily I did because there was a lot of food to try. Since I was a fan of the previous Singarea restaurant, I didn’t really ask any questions about the place, I just headed there not knowing what to expect but figured it would be the run of the mill Korean restaurant.

But, when I got there and sat down, a few things caught my attention. The first were the expensive Devialet Phantom II speakers hung around the restaurant, then I noticed the heavy brass side plates on the table with handmade lacquered chopsticks. I didn’t think of it much until they brought out the first dish and my friend was like Mark, I think this is fine dining.

They didn’t have a menu because it was still being worked on so they brought out dishes for us based on their recommendation. The first dish was a custard egg with seafood, something I’ve never had before and the presentation looked pretty fancy. Right away they captured my interest and I was now really intrigued about the place. One by one the dishes started coming out, we got a grapefruit yuza salad next, then a seafood pajeon, tteokbokki (the best rice cakes I’ve had), both a beef and seafood Albap served bento box style, and more. It was a lot of food and a lot of different and exciting flavors to try. The seafood pajeon (the pancake like dish) is now probably my favorite Korean dish ever, it was so good and bursting with so many different flavors, it’s the dish thats going to keep me going back. But really everything we tried was visually interesting and delicious except for probably the galbi steak dish which I felt needed some sauce on the side to dip into.

Once we were done I sat with Penny the owner of Singarea, a young trendy looking guy with long hair and cool kicks. His father opened Singarea in Kuwait over 40 years ago and now he’s taken it over. He explained to me his concept of wanting to serve premium Korean dishes but without the high prices usually associated with it. He’s starting off small (the restaurant has only 6 tables) but has the ability to expand later. They hadn’t finalized the prices or menu yet when I visited, but they’re aiming for an average paycheck of around 8-10KD per person.

KI:WA (or just Kiwa) is aiming to open next week on June 1st. It’s located at the back of the Singarea store in Boulevard next to the lake, and they’ll be open for both lunch and dinner. You can stay posted on the restaurant and the opening by checking @singareamarket or @kiwa.q8

Update: So turns out the galbi steak dish came with a pepper cream sauce but I didn’t see it since it was hidden from my sight behind the dish 😅

Categories
Food Shopping

New Asian Supermarket – Yamama

Yamama is a new Asian supermarket that recently opened up and I dropped by yesterday to check it out. Although it lacks a variety of products, it was a pretty nice space and well organized. They don’t really have a lot of products but because it’s so close to two other Asian Supermarkets, Singarea and Ginza, you could essentially hop from one to another in one visit.

If you’re interested in checking it out, here is their location on Google Maps.

Categories
Food Shopping

Haiso Asian Market

This place isn’t new but I only found out about it recently from TikTok (via @ruqiaalmurshed) and since it was a few minutes drive from my place, I decided to check it out. The store is located a few buildings down from Promenade Mall in Hawalli and can easily be missed if you aren’t paying attention.

Like Singarea, Haiso is an Asian market where you can find all sorts of Korean and Japanese food products. The store is small, but every single item there is imported and not items you’d usually find at your regular supermarket. They have all sorts of dry and canned goods but the store also has lots of frozen items as well as a large selection of Asian drinks. Check out this video I found if you want to see more items on their shelves.

I actually think Haiso belongs to the Ginza Market owners who are major importers of Asian food products in Kuwait. Both Ginza and Haiso are located in high traffic areas so just visit the one that’s more convenient for you since both places basically carry the exact same items. Here is their location on Google Maps.

Categories
Food

Get your live oysters here!

Singarea, the popular Asian supermarket now carries live French oysters! They say they’re the first in Kuwait to carry live oysters but that can’t be true right? First or not first it doesn’t really matter though, if you want live oysters I don’t know of any other place you can get them. If you’ve never been or heard of Singarea then click [Here]

Categories
Food Pantry Tips

Pantry Tips: Kimchi Love

At PantryBee we like to think that we know a thing or two about food, sourcing it, cooking it, and more importantly eating it. Mark has given us this platform to share some of our favorite food things, be it restaurant recommendations, general know how, our favorite recipes, books and more. For our first post we thought to start with a cuisine we love. If you’ve seen any of our past Korean dishes on site you’d know that we are hardcore Kimchi lovers at the PantryBee kitchen. Kimchi is a traditional Korean staple made with seasoned fermented vegetables and salt that Koreans have with pretty much every meal. The word “kimchi” evolved from the Korean word ‘shimchae’ which means ‘salting of vegetables’.

Kimchi is one of our favorite superfoods out there. Because of fermentation it’s rich in gut healthy bacteria, vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as being low calorie, high fiber, and jam-packed with antioxidants. Though it takes a long time, making kimchi is pretty straightforward and simple and we really recommend everyone give it a go once.

Kimchi can be prepared in a multitude of ways, with different spice levels and using a variety of vegetables. The most classic version is made with cabbage and is super easy to recreate at home. The recipe below is a classic and highly recommended for your first go. If you don’t feel like making your own head over to Singarea to get your fix as they usually have a couple of varieties to choose from.

Easy Kimchi – Yields 3 cups
1 large head Chinese/Napa cabbage approx 500grams (available at lulu, sultan, and Saveco)
1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp gochujang (this is a korean red chili pepper paste available at Singarea)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp red chili flakes
Cold water
1 inch piece of ginger finely minced
3 spring onions cut into 2 inch pieces
1 daikon radish cut into matchsticks

Directions
1- Cut cabbage lengthwise into quarters removing the core then chop into bite sized pieces.

2- In a bowl add cold water and soak cabbage throughly before draining and transferring to another bowl. sprinkle well with salt turning every 30 mins for 1.5 hrs to make sure cabbage is salted evenly.

3- After 1.5 hrs Rinse well with water making sure to get between the leaves we recommend rinsing at least 3 times .then drain and set aside

4- Mix together the vinegar, gochujang, garlic, ginger in a bowl.

5- Add the cabbage in handfuls to the bowl, squeezing them of any excess water before adding them to the mixture. Add the spring onion and daikon and mix well.

6- Pack into a jar with a tight cover and let sit at room temperature for 2 days then chill in fridge for 4 days before serving.

Post by Hind
CoFounder of PantryBee where home cooking is made easy.

Categories
Food Information

Chinese Food House and Ginza Market

ginza

A reader emailed me a few days ago letting me know they had found another Korean supermarket in Kuwait. According to the reader they were trying to find danmuji so they went to Singarea Supermarket and couldn’t find it there. So they asked their favorite Korean restaurant if they knew where they could get it from and they were told about another Korean supermarket in Shuwaikh called Ginza Market. So I passed by over the weekend to check it out. The store is small and seems to be catered more to restaurants than consumers since I was offered a list of all their items to keep with me in case I needed to order anything. But as a consumer you can also pick up whatever you want from their shelves. They’re open from 8AM to 8PM and their phone number is 22205091. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

chinesefoodhouse

While looking for Ginza Market I also ended up finding a Chinese Supermarket called Chinese Food House. It’s located in the same building block as Ginza and the store specializes in food products imported directly from China. I couldn’t figure out what they had since everything was written in Chinese but I did find some odd items like century eggs and salt baked chicken feet. They’re open from 8AM to 5PM and their phone number is 97533702. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

Both those stores have very friendly and helpful staff so don’t be afraid to ask them newbie questions.

Update: Ginza Supermarket has moved and the Google Maps link above has been updated.

Categories
Dining Guide Food Personal Reviews

Koryokwan Korean Restaurant

korean

Koryokwan is a Korean restaurant that’s been around since the early 80s. They’re considered to be one of the best and even provide the catering for Korean embassy events which is how I found out about them. This past saturday when I passed by the Korean embassy for their lunar new year’s they had the catering from Koryokwan (The Korean embassy in Kuwait by the way has to be the most beautiful embassy I’ve ever been to anywhere). So anyway, I didn’t end up eating at the embassy that day but I did pass by Koryokwan a few days ago to try them out.

Koryokwan is located on the ground floor of the very old Carlton Hotel in Kuwait City. It’s a 3-star hotel that was refurbished awhile back but the building still looks really old from the outside. The interior of Koryokwan on the other hand is just beautiful, one of those places where once you enter you feel like you’re no longer in Kuwait. I actually had the same feeling when I first visited the now defunct Singarea Korean restaurant in Dajeej. I used to love that place and it’s why I ended up mostly being disappointed with Koryokwan. Lets begin with the interior of Koryokwan, even though it looked amazing they had regular English radio music playing and CNN on TV. If this was Singarea for example they would have had either Korean music playing or some strange Korean soap opera on TV. I also found the prices of the dishes expensive. The soups started at around KD4.5 and the main courses at around KD6 and up. That’s 5-star hotel prices which is expected when you’re at a 5-star hotel and getting 5-star service like at Peacock or a restaurant at the Sheraton but this wasn’t the case here. Service was similar to a casual dine in restaurant and it wasn’t that great. Our order for example arrived in this order: Main course followed by our rice 5 minutes later and then followed by our soup. I went there specifically for one dish, the fried chicken with chili sauce and I liked it but you can’t really judge the food on just one dish.

The place is definitely worth trying out but mostly for the experience of trying something new. If you’re interested in passing by they’re open from 10AM to 3PM and then again from 5PM to 10:30PM. They’re located in the Carlton Hotel [Map] and their phone number is 22452759 or 99608277.