The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival

Kimchi is undeniably a staple in Korean cuisine because no meal is complete without it as it is one of the main side dish which identifies the uniqueness of Korean food among others. It was not love at first bite for me years ago when I got curious by how it tasted through the various Korean television dramas I have watched, but I have grown to love kimchi through the years. For me, eating my favorite gogi mandu (dumpling) and kimbap (seaweed rice roll) taste better with kimchi. Continue reading “The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival”

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ARA Korean Restaurant

Whenever my friends and I go to La Sema Korean Spa to spend the night there, we always have dinner at Ara Korean Restaurant. The location is convenient as it can easily be seen before you enter the parking lot.

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We always frequent small Korean restaurants, and this is one of the biggest I had been to aside from K-Pub BBQ Restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. The restaurant occupies the whole building; it has two floors and function rooms for private events.

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While we were waiting for our main dish, we were served side dishes consisting of soybean sprouts, boiled spinach, fried tofu with sauce, kimchi pancake, and kimchi. It is typical for Koreans to have side dishes with every meal. I have always enjoyed trying these as the set varies in each restaurant.

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Based on my experience, they change side dishes according to what is in season.  Here are the other side dishes we have tried on some nights that we had our dinner here:

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Of course, kimchi will always be a mainstay in Korean side dish. When I first tried kimchi a few years ago, I did not like it.  But I have grown to love this side dish and my tolerance for spicy food have greatly improved too.

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We ordered samgyeopsal (thick fatty slices of pork belly meat) which is a popular Korean dish that most foreigners have grown to love, and this is our favorite Korean dish too.  You can grill the meat with onion and garlic and dip it in soybean paste or in sesame seed oil mixed with salt and pepper. If you have higher tolerance for spicy food, you may include sliced green pepper and shredded onion when you wrap the meat with lettuce. For me, the meat tastes better with raw garlic.

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We also ordered kimchi stew, spicy stir fried squid, and spicy fried pork.

P1010922P1010485P1010913We were also given the following for free: Steamed egg as well as pineapple slices and cinnamon juice for dessert.

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Overall, food quality is average. I have yet to try their other dishes as we have always ordered our favorite dishes whenever we go here.  What I love about this restaurant is its location, which is not too busy area in Makati and it is spacious too so it can accommodate big groups. It has a nearby parking lot, Korean spa, and Korean grocery store. They also give freebies depending on the dish you ordered as well as free dessert consisting of pineapple slices and cinnamon juice after each meal. There was also a time when my classmates from Elementary Korean 1 together with our Korean teacher were given free tickets to a mini concert of classical music artists. The tickets were limited and not all of us were given but the gesture was greatly appreciated.

Address:  7232 Malugay St. Bel-Air Makati City, Philippines

Landmarks: It is 5 to 10-minute walk from The Columns, RCBC Building, Makati Post Office, FEU Makati. It is within the same area as the Makati Golf Club.

Phone Number:  (02) 817-1206

Restaurant Hours:  11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Sunday.

Budget: P300 to P600 per person/meal (in group)

K-Pub BBQ Restaurant

The trendiest, coolest, and biggest K-Pop themed Korean barbeque restaurant I had ever been to is K-Pub BBQ Restaurant.  The hot pink and honeycomb-like LED facade is such an eye candy, you will not be able to miss it, whether daytime or nighttime, once you pass by BGC Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  The Fort Bus Stop is just across it, so it is very accessible!

K-Pub Korean BBQ

K-Pub Korean BBQ

Upon entering, there is a stair on the left side that will lead you to the Green Room, which is the only Heineken Bar in the Philippines.

Heineken Bar

Straight ahead, once you pass through the purple drapery, you will see the stage and the giant video wall which is perfect for watching music videos of your favorite K-Pop group!

K-Pub Video Wall

There are also posters of famous K-Pop group and other K-Pop artists on the second floor such as TVXQ, Bigbang, 2NE1, CNBLUE, Super Junior, Shinee, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Jaejoong and many more.

TVXQ in KPub Bigbang in KPubK-Pub is often chosen as a venue for fan meet and pre-concert gathering. The first time I went here was during CNBLUE Happy Fiesta for the Blue Moon World tour last June 2013. We also went here after the concert because CNBLUE came here to eat too! Many K-Pop artists had been here and as a K-Pop fan, this place is heaven-sent!

CNBLUE in KPubHowever, this place is not just for K-Pop fans. K-Pub also hosts acoustic sessions during Wednesday and Thursday night as well as band sessions during Friday and Saturday night.  Among my favorite bands who perform here are Side A and Freestyle.

K-Pub not only offers meat-all-you-can ranging from P499 to P899, they also serve ala carte meals. These are what my friends and I usually order here: Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), bulgogi (grilled marinated beef sirloin), naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles), japchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles), seafood pajeon (seafood pancake), cheese gyeran-mari (rolled omelet with cheese) and bibimbap (mixed rice).

Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew)
Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew)
bulgogi (grilled marinated beef sirloin)
Bulgogi (grilled marinated beef sirloin)
naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles)
Naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles)
japchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles)
Japchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles)
seafood pajeon (seafood pancake)
Seafood pajeon (seafood pancake)
cheese gyeran-mari (rolled omelet with cheese)
Cheese gyeran-mari (rolled omelet with cheese)
Bibimbap (mixed rice)
Bibimbap (mixed rice)

One weekend night, my friends and I had our dinner here and we requested music videos of Bigbang and CNBLUE.  It felt like we had an exclusive mini concert! We even had our pictures taken with the big posters of our biases upstairs. The experience we had was the best! ^_^

Have you been to K-Pub? If you have never been here, include this in your itinerary once you are in Manila!

Location:  28th Street cor. 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig 

Operating Hours:  Monday to Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.  Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 am

Contact Numbers: +63.2.847.1961, +63.2.847.3098, +63.917.821.4930+63.2.847.1961, +63.2.847.3098, +63.917.821.4930

Website:  http://kpubbbq.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KPubBBQ

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KPub_BBQ

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/kpub_bbq

Subspace Coffee House

Some things do not always have to be big to be great. This holds true for Subspace, a Korean-themed coffee house.  It is small but the place is comfortable and intimate.  I love it!

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Every corner of this place is interesting and photo-worthy.  It is bursting with youthfulness and uniqueness.

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There are colorful pictures on the wall, figurines and books on the shelves, old typewriter and telephone on the counter, and chairs  placed on the ceiling.  Yes, chairs!!!

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They offer sandwiches, waffles, donuts, cakes, tea, milkshake, cheese foam, pasta, rice meals, etc. We ordered red velvet cake, Big Bang waffle (named after my favorite K-Pop band) and purple potato latte.

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They also have K-Pop merchandise for sale!

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The first time we went here, we were supposed to attend a K-Pop event in Megamall where former U-Kiss, Alexander, was the special guest. Later on, we found out he was not able to attend the event due to safety reasons.  Guess who visited Subspace while we were there? It was Alexander!!!  We were so lucky we had an unexpected fan girl moment during that time at Subspace, though I only have my phone so my pictures were blurry.

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We were able to visit Subspace Coffee House before they had the renovation in May. So the pictures posted here are the “before” photos. I have not been there for months but I am sure the renovated Subspace will look even better.

Subspace Coffee House not only offers a place where you can spend time with family and friends to have a meal or drink coffee or tea, you can also feel relaxed by its ambiance while you are alone and just reading your favorite book or magazine. For K-Pop fans like me, you may enjoy quality time with friends while K-Pop songs play on the background. They also sell K-Pop merchandise and host events.  If you are lucky,  another K-Pop star may drop by while you are there! What’s not to love about this place, right?!

Location:  Unit 103, GF Grand Emerald Tower, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center 1606 Pasig

Phone: (02) 655-7077

Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Email: subspacecoffee@gmail.com

Website: http://www.subspacecoffee.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/subspace.coffee

Instagram: subspacecoffee

Twitter: @TSubspace

Sariwon Korean Barbecue Restaurant

A lazy Sunday morning with my two close friends from Korean Cultural Center language class who I have not seen in months was spent in Sariwon Korean Restaurant at Bonifacio High Street Central in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Choosing Sariwon was unplanned, but we were pleasantly satisfied with our choice.

We were greeted warmly by the restaurant staff and we were guided to our table immediately. The interior of the restaurant was really pretty compared to other restaurants that we frequent. Even their menu book looks impressive with its leather cover.

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Sariwon Korean Barbecue Restaurant was awarded by Seoul Metropolitan Government as Best Korean Restaurant. It is known for its delicious and authentic Bulgogi and Galbi.  They also offer set menus.

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While we are waiting for our order, we were served the side dishes.  It always fascinates me how each restaurant have their own set of side dishes so I often take a picture of each of these.

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We ordered the following: Galbi (grilled marinated beef), Dolsot Bibimbap (mixed rice topped with egg and served in a stone pot) and Pajeon (Korean pancake made of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, green onions, and other ingredients which may include beef, pork, kimchi, shellfish, and other seafood.

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True to what they are known for, their meat is of high quality and it is marinated and seasoned very well so it is very delicious.  Their side dishes are also fresh and the kimchi is not so spicy. Trying a new restaurant was a good idea because of what we experienced in Sariwon.  Now, we always try to make it a point that whenever we see each other, we will try a new Korean restaurant.

For more information on Sariwon Korean Barbeque Restaurant, you may follow them through:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SariwonPhilippines
Twitter: @SariwonPH
Instagram: @sariwonph

Opening Hours:

Bonifacio High Street Central  (02) 621-3205 / 0915-9009272
Monday to Thursday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Greenhills Promenade  (02) 650-3075, 0916-2377070, 0932-8551543
Monday to Sunday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Matgalne Korean Restaurant (맛깔네 집)

I have been to Matgalne Korean Restaurant in Poblacion, Makati a number of times before and I have brought different sets of friends here who loves Korean food too. This place is best for those who love samgyeopsal (pork belly) because they offer unlimited serving of pork belly and beef brisket.

Pork Belly
Pork Belly
Beef Brisket
Beef Brisket

They also offer unlimited access to buffet for lunch and dinner for P399 only.

Matgalne Unlimited Buffet
Matgalne Unlimited Buffet

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We tried hobak jeon (zucchini cake), fish jeon, onion rings, vegetable salad, kimchi, tofu, matang (glazed sweet potato), chapchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles), kimbap, egg roll, ojingeo bokkeum (spicy stir-fried squid), fried sausage, and stir-fried fish cake (eomuk japchae).

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Kimbap – Rice rolled in dried laver seaweed with various fillings like ham, cucumber, crabstick and  carrots
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Stir-Fried Sausage
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Eomuk Japchae (Stir-Fried Fish Cake)
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Kimchi
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Chapchae – Stir Fried Sweet Potato Noodles
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Gaji Namul – Steamed and Seasoned Eggplant
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Ojingeo Bokkeum – Spicy Stir-Fried Squid
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Gaeran Mari – Rolled Egg Omelette
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Matang – Fried Sweet Potato Coated with Sugar and Sesame Seeds
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Kongnamul Muchim – Seasoned Soybean Sprouts

 You can also make your own salad.

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 For our first round, we had three plates filled up. Because it was past 8:00 pm when we arrived there to have our really late dinner, we were soooo hungry that we were able to eat the contents of these three plates in  10 to 15 minutes. This was our plate for the second round while we were waiting for the pork belly to be cooked.

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The pork belly took longer to get cooked compared to the beef brisket because the latter is thinly sliced.  My friends preferred the pork belly but I prefer the beef brisket because it is soft and easier to chew, meaning I can eat more! ^_^ The meat may look loaded with fats but when you use the grill plate to cook this, you do not need oil to fry the meat.  The meat is cooked with its own fat and the excess fat drips down on one side of the grill plate, so you can eat guilt-free. The meat tastes better with raw or cooked garlic when wrapped with lettuce together with other side dishes.

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Even though we came here really hungry, the three of us were only able to consume two sets each of beef brisket and pork belly because my friends and I got so excited trying each meal and side dishes since it is unlimited. My favorites are the spicy stir-fried squid, stir-fried fish cake and beef brisket with garlic wrapped in lettuce.

If you are craving for Korean food or curious about Korean food, you must try this restaurant. It is affordable and their meals taste good too. It was worth the price we paid for.  Just looking at the pictures I have taken, I have the urge to go back there though it has only been a week since we went there! Diet mode for now he he…

Address:  4768 Kalayaan Avenue corner Mariano Street Barangay Poblacion, Makati City

Contact Number: (02) 890-2949

Website:  https://www.facebook.com/matgalne

Payment Option: Cash only.

Operating Hours:  11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday.  *Lunch buffet starts from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm while dinner buffet starts from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm.

Parking Space:  Good for two cars in front and you may also park at the side of the restaurant.

How To Go There:  1) You may ride MRT and alight at Buendia Station (also known as Gil Puyat Station). 2) Walk towards the gas station and in front of McDonalds or KFC, there are jeepneys which can take you to Makati Avenue. 3) Walk towards the right side and you will pass by 7-11, Mang Inasal, Hotel Inwangsan, North Park Noodle House, City Garden Hotel and St. Giles Hotel.  4) From St. Giles Hotel, cross the street then turn right and you will see the orange building where the restaurant is located.

If you are already in Ayala, you may ride the Makati Loop Jeepney at Park Square or in front of Landmark Department Store until you reach Makati Avenue corner Buendia and follow step 3 and step 4 above.