Take a tour with Rob Ruckus as he shows you some of his favourite sites in the heart of London’s Little Seoul.
I have been living in New Malden for over a year now and I never get bored of trying out the many local Korean businesses that line the high street. You can get to New Malden by train from London Waterloo in twenty minutes and all of the places listed below are within 5 minutes of the train station.
First stop is The Place coffee shop. They serve excellent Monmouth coffee here. Price £1.95 for an Americano. They also do home made cakes and cookies. My favourite is the Green Tea cake. When you pay for your coffee they give you a remote control device like a pager which beeps when your coffee’s ready so you don’t have to wait at the counter. I always find it very friendly and welcoming here.
The Place, New Malden High Street.
My favourite high street Korean restaurant. Go at lunch and you can order a filling meal for £5 with tea and complimentary bowls of appetisers called Banyan, which the waiters bring before your main dish comes out. The waiters are usually happy to refill the bowls at least once. Recommended: Bibimbap (steamed rice with a variety of vegetables in a stone pot) and the rib of beef soup. Most weekends the restaurant has a queue waiting outside for lunch and dinner.
Some of the food at Yami, including the beef soup, served in the traditional earthenware dolsot bowls; the complimentary dishes of banyan; and the Tteokkbokki (rice sticks and fishcakes in spicy tomato sauce).
Yami Restaurant, 69 High Street, New Malden.
Sing Sing – Young Star Karaoke Bar
I couldn’t leave out somewhere to go for the evening. There are two options for karaoke in New Malden; Sing Sing and Han over the road. I chose this place because it has a more authentic Korean atmosphere and a younger and livelier crowd. Its accessed through a narrow alley just passed the station. The front bar has a few seats and a pool table and doesn’t look very inviting. In the main room its a lot bigger and there are several private rooms for karaoke.
Buy a bottle of Soju, officially the world’s most popular spirit after Psy’s endorsement of the brand. The barman told me that Koreans drink it all the time as they don’t have a wine drinking culture. Its usually either 19% or 21% in volume but will get you drunk fast if you shoot it. Or you can pour it into your beer, as I did. Whatever, it’s a nice drink and feels very warming. Gan bei!
Sing Sing Karaoke Bar, 5A Coombe Rd New Malden KT3 4PX.
Next time, I will show you some places to buy groceries, eat barbecue and get your haircut.