Sagye Review: Traditional Korean Stone Pot Rice In Tanjong Pagar |
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Sagye Review: Traditional Korean Stone Pot Rice With Beef Short Rib And Scallop In Tanjong Pagar

15th January 2024

Sagye in Tanjong Pagar has traditional Korean stone pot rice

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If you’re an active social media user, you may have come across a couple of videos showcasing some sort of rice served in a steaming pot in recent weeks. Known as sotbab AKA pot rice, this traditional Korean dish seems to be the latest craze in Singapore. Growing up in a Korean household, sotbab wasn’t something I ate regularly, but it was a dish my parents and I enjoyed occasionally. I’ve never had this in Singapore, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at Sagye, a sotbab speciality restaurant in Tanjong Pagar that opened in November 2023. 

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Food at Sagye

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Sagye translates to “four seasons”, and their name is reflected in their lunch menu: Chicken ($17.80++), Pork ($21.80++), and Beef Short Rib ($32.80++) sotbab are permanent items, while the others change with every passing season. There were winter specials during our visit, including Abalone ($38.80++), Scallop ($28.80++), and Octopus ($23.80++). Do note that Sagye sells sotbab only during lunch as they operate primarily as a Korean BBQ restaurant during dinner time.

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We started on a good note with the Beef Short Rib: you get a bed of rice topped with grilled beef short rib, spring onions, roasted sesame, and a raw egg yolk on top. Every sotbab is served as a set meal comprising a soup or stew of the day, and four different banchan AKA side dishes. When placing your order, let the staff know your preferred choice of rice! There are Japanese rice, Five Grain Rice, and Japanese Rice with Sweet Potatoes and Ginkgo Nuts for you to choose from. 

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It took about ten minutes for our food to be served as the pot rice had to be steamed in a mini pressure cooker upon order. Once your food is served, the first thing you want to do is get the special soy sauce meant for the beef sotbab, and pour it all over the rice. In case you were wondering, we got the rice with sweet potatoes and ginkgo nuts option for the Beef Short Rib sotbab.

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Here’s how to enjoy this dish: after you give it a good mix, scoop everything into the empty bowl. Now here’s another tip: leave some burnt rice at the bottom of the pot to enjoy a warm bowl of nurungji AKA scorched rice.

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Towards the end of your meal, let the staff know that you want some hot barley tea in the pot. Trust me when I say this is the best part of every sotbab experience! Oh, and don’t forget to close the lid and wait for a few minutes before digging in. In terms of flavour, just think of it as a slightly nutty and smoky version of Teochew porridge. This warm bowl of nurungji is the perfect finale to your meal as it’s great for washing down all the heavy flavours of the toppings.

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Back to the Beef Short Rib—my colleague and I really enjoyed this meat as the beef was thick, juicy, and chewy. I’m not a fan of gamey or fatty beef, so judging by how fast I cleared all the meat, it was easy to tell that their beef was of pretty good quality. Also, I appreciated that the sweet-salty beef marinade and beef soy sauce added more dimension to the sotbab! 

FYI, you might want to give the ginkgo nuts a miss, as we found them rather bitter. But for a nice textural contrast, I recommend having it with a generous scoop of rice topped with a piece of beef.

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Moving on to the Scallop sotbab, we were served a warm bed of five-grain rice topped with a vibrant variety of ingredients: grilled scallops, fish roe, mentaiko, fresh clams, roasted sesame, and chopped spring onions. 

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Alas, this didn’t hit the spot. Despite mixing all the ingredients with the special seafood soy sauce, I found the dish to be lacking in flavour. Perhaps the clams and scallops weren’t as well-marinated as the beef short ribs, but also, it would have been better if there were other toppings to complement the fresh seafood. Also, we found that while there were specific sauces for each sotbab, there weren’t any distinct flavour differences as they were all soy-based. That aside, it’s worth mentioning that the generous amount of seafood made up for the minor inadequacy.

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We were told that the complimentary banchan and soup change from time to time, but for the latter, they typically serve up either seaweed soup or kimchi stew. Since the hot barley tea in nurungji was already a form of soup, I would have preferred if the free seaweed soup was replaced with something else, say, Korean steamed eggs. 

Ambience at Sagye

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Sagye is relatively compact in size, and can house about 44 customers at once. Since there aren’t any long tables here, I recommend dropping by as a pair or in a group of no more than four. If it helps, the restaurant is a quick three-minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station!

The verdict

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Though their lunch sets aren’t the cheapest, Sagye is a decent restaurant to visit for something different from your usual jjajangmyeon and K-BBQ. If you work in the CBD, or happen to be around the area for a corporate lunch with some clients, Sagye is one for the books. 

For more solid Korean food recommendations in Singapore, read our SODENG Korean Restaurant review for a unique K-BBQ duck experience in Telok Ayer. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, you can consider dining at D’RIM Korean Steak House to impress your date with premium K-BBQ and perilla buckwheat noodles in Orchard.

Address: 95 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088516
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 12am
Tel: 9115 6735
Sagye is not a halal-certified eatery. 

D’RIM Korean Steak House Review: Premium K-BBQ, Perilla Soba Noodles And More In Orchard

Photos were taken by Raelynn Ng.
This was a media tasting at Sagye.

Sagye Review: Traditional Korean Stone Pot Rice With Beef Short Rib And Scallop In Tanjong Pagar
  • 7/10
    Sagye Review: Traditional Korean Stone Pot Rice With Beef Short Rib And Scallop In Tanjong Pagar - 7/10


– Beef Short Rib sotbab was delicious
– Near the MRT Station

– On the pricey end
– Scallop sotbab was lacking in flavour

Recommended dishes: Beef Short Rib ($32.80++)

Address: 95 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088516

Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 12am

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