I wish to chase my frustrations away so instead of writing a negative review, I’ll just stick to this list. Lists make me happy!!!
Korean cuisine is a relatively young culinary experience for me. I admit that I am rather addicted to Woorijib because I feel at home there with their affordable rates and generous servings. This list would have been a lot longer if I was disciplined enough but I end up eating at worry every time. It’s hard because it’s nearby. Anyway I promised myself I’ll go out and and sample others because surely they’d also have something different or something better to offer. I’ll try to make this a quick one.
- Kaya – Food chains are always expected to have commercialized taste but this one is very close but of course side dishes will always be in smaller servings. However, if you don’t like any of those sides then it’s good news for you. Apart from their bbq I tried their japchae, pajeon, kimchi chigae and jjampong. They also play it safe so nothing ridiculously spicy or too exotic on their menu.
- Ye Dang near Metro Walk – This is one of the most popular ones I think because of its location and its approach (Jewel in the Palace tarps). They are quite reliable and their food is pretty much safe. Nothing is too weird or too spicy that you’d actually curse the place. Of course it’s expected that Korean food has a lot of heat red and all but you know what I mean. They’d give you free fruits in season after your meal. They are not as expensive as worry but ambiance-wise they are a notch or two higher.
- Woorijib at Kalayaan Ave. I’ll try not to be biased but they’re the best. haha. It’s nothing fancy. A lot of people complain about air conditioning and surely you’d have to wait if you were a bit late but it is the cheapest with the most generous helpings of barbecue, side dishes and lettuce/sesame leaf wraps. They require a minimum of 2 bbq orders which is fine unless you’re eating alone. Bbq orders come with 6-7 plates of side dishes and a bowl of dwen jang. Most of the time they give free hot or cold coffee after meals but sometimes there’s just too many customers! Read about my Woorijib here.
- Dae Wang at Kalayaan Ave. Generous servings of side dishes and ample serving of bbq meats but not as much as worry. They serve a nice lettuce salad but I find their kimchi too sour and for me kimchi is the most important. Side dishes are free for Korean restos so it shouldn’t really matter but sometimes if it’s too dry or too sweet or not perfect it also has an effect on the overall appeal of the meal.
- Go-Go Korean at Kalayaan Ave. Best Dwen Jang because of the perfect heat and flavor. I actually don’t understand why servings of this soup is so expensive when it’s made of miso, chilis and clam but anyway if you’re willing to shell out more for your soup this one is swabe. Sorry no other way of putting it. Their side dishes aren’t as good as my favorites but otherwise if you just want to satisfy your cravings then it’d be quite okay.
- Seoul Barbecue at Libis I’m not sure if it is also a food chain because they also grill bbq in the kitchen. It’s a little bit cramped so if you fancy staying longer after eating, it gets a bit awkward. They also have Korean ice cream there so after your delightful Korean fare you can enjoy some sweets too. It’s, of course a little bit more expensive because of the location and the setup but not bad.
- Kogi Bulgogi – One we ate at was at Eastwood so you can pretty much imagine how they repackaged the whole she-bang. Instead of a grill, you will be served with a plate of pork or beef, mounds of rice and lettuce leaves for your samgyupsal or kalbisal. This means simpler but it also means less meat and more rice. Small servings of side dishes are expected but you can pretty much request for more if there is a need. They have dishes that local/stand alone Korean restos don’t have such as salmon, prawn and etc.
- Korean BBQ at Pearl Drive – As this is near the old studio of Polecats we were also residents here. Their kimchi is one of the best I’ve tried and they offer dishes that are relatively cheaper compared to other Korean restos. However they do not have very consistent schedules. Sometimes you’ll drop by and they’d turn you down because they don’t have the grills or meat or whatever. Weird, I know.
- Kimchi Restaurant at Sagada – few side dishes, yes but nonetheless lovely if you happen to have a craving while you are in the mountains. haha. They have kimchi, sprouts, barbecue and ssamjang so you’re good to go. Lovely ambiance too with the wall decor, artsy wooden furniture, sculptures and posters. They serve alcohol, play groovy music and close very late. and I heard they sell more than just Korean food. haha!
- Bulgogi Garden at Kalayaan Ave – A newly opened Korean resto a few doors down from my worry. I think it is a big threat to worry primarily because it’s new and shiny but otherwise they are pretty much commercial. smaller servings of side dishes are expected and so far I haven’t noticed anything that sets them apart from the rest. they have that free sweet drink/dessert at the end of a meal but it tasted like cough medicine. hahaha.
- Silla at Tomas Morato Rotonda they have a ridiculously small serving of samgyupsal and oh so boring side dishes and they’re lucky that I did not go on a full blown ranting spree of their overpriced Korean food that is not any good.
- Song Do at El Pueblo – Their bbq orders come with generous servings of side dishes plus soup (but not dwen jang) just a clear one. Their ssamjang (the dip for barbecues) has that wonderful smoked flavor that made me finish my dip for the first time in my Kimchi-eating life. Their kimchi is another contender alongside Woorijib, Ye Dang and the one at Pearl Drive. They have the space, the atmosphere and the setup for a grand feast or a quiet evening to the point that it’s already intimidating (they will sound a gong upon your arrival, scary!). They also have a very wide selection of dishes on their menu with prime beef cuts and fresh seafood so I bet it’s the place to be if you want to splurge and experiment on Korean fare. I look forward to trying those!
I’ll consider this 10 because I won’t include Silla (because I was so disappointed) and Kimchi restaurant (because it is in Sagada). My target is 20 for 2012 so please do recommend other Korean food joints. Uh oh… someone started counting…Cheers!