6.070 TERNWPPD-9 PP-5 / TEKREM 23 : Jo Karubi

6.070

16 (Mon) March 2015

Jo Karubi

3.0

at Gyumon (The Pan-Pacific Manila)

-Malate, Manila-

with TL

TERNWPPD (Try Every Restaurant in New World Manila Bay HotelPan-Pacific Manila, and Diamond Hotel Philippines).

In search of higher quality fare than the joints on the streets of the neighborhood typically offer, I’m eating my way through the three 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment.  One meal per restaurant, 10 in all, not including lounges, bars, coffee shops: 3 in New World, 5 in Pan-Pacific, 2 in Diamond.  Bound to be expensive but maybe worth the hassle of going to Makati or Bonifacio.  However, I may fold the project if the on-going returns suggest that I’m wasting my time/money/energy/concern.

This is the 9th restaurant to be covered, the 5th from Pan-Pacific (done!).  1 of 10 remaining.

The following tiers (“Would I go back for more?”) are based on the overall dining experience, including all the dishes sampled, cost, ambiance, cleanliness, and any other factors that may apply, cumulative through multiple visits (if any).

Tier 1 (looking forward to it):

Tier 2 (sure, but not enthusiastically):

Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):

Tier 4 (to be avoided at all costs):

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Yakiniku is a type of Japanese cuisine–sort of.  Whereas the term means “grilled = yaki” + “meat = niku,” the meat is pre-cut into bite-sized pieces, sometimes marinated in a sweet soy-sesame marinade, then cooked DIY on a table-top grill–just like Korean BBQ.  Yakiniku restaurants also typically offer other Korean dishes, from sides to mains.  Beyond the Japanized names/spellings of various cuts/items, as well as inevitable variances in flavor, the food is unmistakably Korean.  Still, the genre has become so mainstream in Japan that it’s no longer regarded consciously as Korean, similar to how Koreans regularly localize and eat shabu shabu without considering its Japanese origins (see for example 1.197 Beef Shabu Shabu).

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Notice the Japanized names (e.g., “wakame soup” vs “miyeok guk”) and Japanized spellings (e.g., “bibimpa” vs “bibimbap”).
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Spellings aside, certain cuts are also distinctly un-Korean (e.g., reba (liver), gyu tan (tongue)), at least in a BBQ context.
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Perhaps the most obvious clue that the establishment is not genuinely Korean would be that the sides, including kimchi (not “kimuchi”??), are charged a la carte.

Ostensibly Japanese, Gyumon is in fact a Korean restaurant*.  Specializes in yakiniku.  Part of the group that owns/operates Asunaro two floors down.  In fact, the expansive Asunaro menu is available upon request, orders prepared in the kitchen below and delivered/served directly to the table above–best of both worlds.

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Gyumon Salad (3.0)–shredded cabbage in sesame dressing; the only freebie.
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Eringi Karubi (2.5)–feels strange to pay for these, which are always free and unlimited in a Korean place.
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Shin Bude Chige (1.5)–while the spam (SPAM?) and hotdogs were nice, the broth was bland, as Japanese renditions of Korean spicy soups tend to be (see for example 5.350 Kimuchi Yudofu Set), which is sometimes preferable, but certain hardcore dishes like budae jjigae (see most recently 6.037 Hetbahn, Supplemented) shouldn’t be compromised.

Overall, the dining experience was much to my liking.  For one thing, I’ve always appreciated the lighter hand that the Japanese demonstrate in the use of seasonings, so I enjoyed the delicate karubi marinade, both mushroom and beef.  The meat itself had a clean beef flavor; not as tender as the marbled appearance would suggest, but tender enough.  Combination gas+charcoal grill provided a nice charred touch.  Though I did miss the wide variety of vegetables that come with a traditional Korean BBQ spread, especially kimchi, I didn’t feel like paying for them, certainly not kimchi.  No big deal, as the meal wasn’t only about the BBQ.

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Jo Karubi (3.0)– the term “karubi,” derived from “galbi,” refers not to the ribs per se but to the sweet soy-sesame marinade traditionally used to season ribs; “jo” = “special,” connoting a better/pricier cut of meat.

The masochistically gluttonous “Try Every” series: (i) TERRP (…Restaurant in Robinsons Place) (see completed 5.247 TERRP 85 KFC : Original Recipe Fried Chicken…);  (ii) TEITY (..Item at Tao Yuan) (see most recently 6.055 The Penultimate); (iii) TERNWPPD (…Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond) (see most recently 6.059 New York-Style Strip Steak); (iv) TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) (see completed 5.339 Roasted Squid); (v) TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 6.056 Chung v Chung); (vi) TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) (see most recently 6.053 Chicharones).

*I will count Gyumon as the 22nd installment of TEKREM.

5 thoughts on “6.070 TERNWPPD-9 PP-5 / TEKREM 23 : Jo Karubi

  1. i agree with you that this restaurant is de facto a korean restaurant based on the menu they offer, though running in a japanese style. i wonder what TL thought about it (more curious about what MK would think of it).

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  2. TL really liked it, especially that sushi and other orders are possible (though we didn’t realize it until we were leaving).

    I will definitely take MK there and get some more inside insight on yakiniku (i’ve encountered japanese who refuse to acknowledge that it’s korean).

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