6.070 Jo Karubi

Cycle 6 – Item 70

16 (Mon) March 2015

Jo Karubi


at Gyumon Yakiniku Restaurant

(The Pan-Pacific Manila)

-Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with TL

Try Every Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond Hotels (9 of 10) (see also TERNWPPD)

Eating my way through the restaurants in the 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment in Manila: New World (3), Pan-Pacific (5), Diamond (2).  In contrast to the crappy food in the neighborhood, hotels ought to do better, at least in terms of quality.


Try Every Korean Restaurant in Ermita and Malate (22) (see all posts TEKREM)

Surveying the Korean eateries, including those serving Korean-Chinese fare, located in the neighborhoods of Ermita and Malate, nearby work and home.  Minimum of 1 dish per place.  Currently 45 establishments.  Though anticipating that most of the places will be mediocre, I look forward to exploring more of my environment.

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.

Notice the Japanized names (e.g., “wakame soup” vs “miyeok guk”) and Japanized spellings (e.g., “bibimpa” vs “bibimbap”).
Spellings aside, certain cuts are also distinctly un-Korean (e.g., reba (liver), gyu tan (tongue)), at least in a BBQ context.
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.

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, for example, shabu shabu without considering its Japanese origins.

Gyumon Salad (3.0): shredded cabbage in sesame dressing; the only freebie.
Eringi Karubi (2.5)L feels strange to pay for these, which are always free and unlimited in a Korean place.
Shin Bude Chige (1.5): while the SPAM(?) and hotdogs were nice, the broth was bland, as Japanese renditions of Korean spicy soups tend to be, which is sometimes preferable, but certain hardcore dishes like budae jjigae 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.

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.



5 thoughts on “6.070 Jo Karubi

  1. Ten restaurants now? Did a new one open at some point? (your intro still lists nine, by the way.)

  2. 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).

  3. 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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