My Must-Eats with the Korean oppa from SG, Eric Youn

By Sarah Chua October 30, 2023
My Must-Eats with the Korean oppa from SG, Eric Youn
Eric Youn, who goes by the term Korean Oppa in SG on socials, and his recommended Korean barbecue spot in Seoul. Photos: Eric Youn

My Must-Eats is a HungryGoWhere series featuring Singapore’s public figures and their favourite food haunts. This week, we speak to Eric Youn, the Korean Oppa from SG, as he’s known on social media, on his must-eats in Singapore.

I first chanced upon a reel by Eric Youn (@esyfilms), who calls himself ‘Korean Oppa from SG’ when I was looking for new Korean food places to dine at in Singapore. 

You’re probably used to seeing Korean oppas (a term used by females to address older males) from Korea, but what exactly was a Korean Oppa from SG? I knew I had to find out. 

Youn, 35, who was born in Seoul, tells us that he didn’t exactly start off with the moniker. The native Korean moved to Singapore right before the pandemic in 2020 for a job opportunity — he currently works as a senior technical account executive. 

He then started to gain a following for his food-related content recommending places to eat whenever he went back to Korea. In particular, his review of a honeycomb spot in Gangnam, Seoul went viral on TikTok. 

Youn wanted to create a catchier and more memorable introductory term as he made more videos. He decided to go for Korean Oppa from SG, surmising that “(the term) oppa has a caring side”, and he adopted the ‘from SG’ bit as most of his audience then was from Singapore.

On his time here, Youn tells us over email: “Coming to Singapore has been an eye-opener to how many different cultures can exist and live together harmoniously. This is important to me because it paves the way for my interest in food. I’m spoiled for choice with the many different types of food available here.”

In fact, Youn doesn’t subscribe to the common notion that “Singapore is very small and can be quite monotonous”, adding that “if you really look, there is so much to see and do”.

We speak to him to find out just what attracts this Korean oppa to Singapore and our local food scene

Eric Youn Esyfilms
Gimmari. Photo:

1. What dish reminds you of your childhood — and where did you get it?

When I was in middle school, I loved having gimmari (deep-fried fritters made from glass noodles wrapped in seaweed) from a Korean street food stall with my schoolmates. I remember the aunty would coat it with a delicious sweet and spicy sauce. 

Another dish I remember eating as a child is hotteok (sweet pancakes) from a stall near the church I went to in Seoul. The ahjussi (old Korean uncle) who makes the hotteok there was still around when I visited one to two years ago — it’s the best hotteok ever! It’s not the usual wet and oily kind, but it’s dry and crispy. My family and I would always get that when we visited even if the wait was long. 

Eric Youn Esyfilms
Youn grew up in Uijeongbu, Seoul, which is the birthplace of the Korean dish army stew. Photos: Eric Youn

2. What’s your go-to eatery in Singapore? Why?

I usually go somewhere that is filling, economical and fast. I really like Stuff’d. It’s one of the best bang-for-your-buck places in Singapore, and it’s super simple to eat without making a lot of mess. My go-tos are the daily bowl or the kebab.

When I’m in my office in the CBD, I usually have my lunch at a salad place called Omnivore. Despite it’s location, it’s very affordable and has a wide variety of options and toppings to choose from. Plus it’s the nearest salad spot to my office! My favourite item to get there is the basic salad set with roasted duck, salad, beansprouts, corn, chickpeas, and furikake, with sesame sauce. 

If I’m feeling something Korean, I’ll usually go to a Korean barbecue place in Tanjong Pagar, though this really depends on what I’m craving at the moment. 

Sodeng Korean Restaurant
Grilled meats at Sodeng Korean Restaurant. Photo: Chong Hui Hui/HungryGoWhere

Different K-restaurants are good at certain foods. For example, for Korean noodles, I usually go to Noodle Star K; for gopchang (innards) I go to Singkoba; and my favourite Korean barbecue this year has been Sodeng. So depending on my mood, I’ll head to these places if I’m craving these dishes. 


3. When you travel, what’s one Singapore dish you always miss?

Hainanese chicken rice. I always make sure that I have a plate of it the day after I return. 

what to eat in singapore chicken rice
Katong Mei Wei Boneless Chicken Rice. Photo: @peachypassports/Instagram

The simplicity of it just makes it super yummy, and the rice is just ‘chef’s kiss’ savoury. My friend (@thepantryboy on Instagram) once made chicken rice from scratch for me, and from that, I realised that it may seem like a simple dish but the cooking process is very complex. To get that consistent flavour takes a lot of effort, and it made me appreciate it more. 

4. What dish or cuisine do you want to try, but have not?

This is a hard question, but I want to try authentic Greek food in Greece. In particular, I want to dine in Santorini, looking at the skies, with the white and blue houses in the background, watching the sunset, and feasting while seeing the blue ocean. Am I too idealistic?


5. What’s the last thing you ate that impressed you — and where did you have it? 

The last thing I ate that really opened my eyes was a Korean barbecue place in Gangnam, Seoul called Shinbujasikdang. The restaurant is known for its 3cm-thick pork belly cuts. I didn’t bring a measuring stick, but I can tell you it was definitely thick! 

Esyfilms Eric Youn
Thick pork belly cuts at Shinbujasikdang in Gangnam, Seoul. Photo: Eric Youn

Apparently, the pork is also wet-aged so the texture is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. If you wrap it with myeong-inamul (wild garlic leaf), you won’t stop eating it. I usually eat meat with Naengmyeon (cold noodles), which are very complementary items. 


For more eats in town, check out our review of Magg by Royz Et Vous, which serves atas maggi mee, and the new food openings in October 2023

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals. 

You can also book a ride to the food places recommended by Eric. 

Sarah Chua-HungryGoWhere

Sarah Chua


Sarah is constantly seeking out new coffee spots and cocktail bars around the world, and should probably drink more water while at it.

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