9 (Thu) April 2015
at Dweiji Bang
with KD, MG, CT
TEKREM (Try Every Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate). So long as I’m currently living in Ermita/Malate, a pair of neighborhoods that together constitute central Manila’s closest thing to a Koreatown, and while GMTD was never intended to be a Korean food blog but kinda is, I may as well attempt to eat at all the Korean eateries in the area, including those serving Korean-Chinese fare, and review them here. Currently 41 known establishments. Though doubting the discovery of any gems–in fact, I anticipate that most of the places will be similarly mediocre–the project should be interesting, if only in giving me a reason to get out and explore more of my environment.
The following tiers (“Would I go back for more?”) relate to 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 return visit):
- (14) Jinsiang ! (6.016 Nakji Jjajmbbong) / 3.5
- (13) Jeonju ! (6.010 Jeonju Bibimbap) / 3.0
- (21) Chung Ki Wa ! (6.056 Cabbage Hangover Soup) / 3.0
- (22) Gyumon (6.069 Jo Karubi) / 3.0
- (25) Café Chosun ! (6.079 Chosun Set) / 3.25
Tier 2 (okay, but not enthusiastically):
- (11) Myung Ga ! (5.346 Deep-Fried Okdom) / 2.5
- (2) Royal ! (5.123 Knee for Ki) / 3.5
- (24) Hwangso Ga ! (6.074 Buffet) / 3.0
- (28) Arirang Hotel ! (6.093 Dubu Jjigae) / 2.5
- (15) Jung ! (6.029 Steamed Egg) / 3.25
- (20) Jang Chung Dong (6.056 Ojingeo Bokum) / 2.5
- (9) Sinsun Seollong Tang (5.328 Seollong Tang) / 2.0
- (18) Seokchon (6.050 Chamcha Myun) / 2.5
- (19) Kim’s Jjamppong Food ! (6.050 Jjam Ja Myun) / 2.5
- (7) Bonchon (5.242 Soy Garlic Chicken) / 3.25
Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):
- (6) Korean Palace (5.205 Haemul Pa Jeon) / 1.75
- (8) Hanchon Seolloong Tang^ (5.251 Modeum Suyuk) / 3.0
- (5) Bug Gyoung (5.189 Gganpung Gi) / 1.25
- (12) Sinsun (6.003 Yukgyejang) / 2.0
- (26) Korean Village (6.084 Mushrooms) / 2.5
- (27) Dwaeji Bang (6.093 Samgyeopsal) / 2.5
- (23) Hwangso Makchang ! (6.074 Makchang) / 1.5
- (3) Neoguri^ (5.141 Pa Dak) / 3.25
- (16) Jong Lo (6.034 Sundubu Jjigae) / 2.25
- (17) Ulkeun (6.035 Ulkeun Chicken Gizzaed) / 1.0
Tier 4 (to be avoided no matter what):
- (1) Maru^ (5.030 Ggot Deung Sim…) / 1.0
- (4) Kim N’ Chi (5.163 Bibimbab) / 1.0
- (10) Go! Kizip (5.343 Cham Pong Myun) / 1.0
^ no longer in business
! an emerging theme, not-so-surprising, is that the restaurants with on-site Korean management tend to demonstrate closer authenticity, though not necessarily higher quality
Back in the day, kitchens in traditional Korean houses were often equipped with cast iron cauldrons. Called “gamasot” in Korean. Wood-fired from below. At least one, the more the better. Of varying sizes : such as a big one for boiling soup, a smaller one for steaming rice. Starting in the late 1960s, as Korea underwent rapid urbanization/modernization–apartment buildings, gas stoves, mass-produced/cheaper/easier-to-maintain cookware–the gamasot become largely obsolete. Nowadays found at the occasional restaurant making soups the old-fashioned way (see for example 3.353 Jeonju Gom Tang). My uncle built a set-up at his cabin, but with an aluminum pot (see 3.226 Gamja Tang). At certain BBQ restaurants, the grills are fabricated to emulate the lids–come to think of it, the advent of Korean BBQ as we now know it happened around the same time that the gamasot were being abandoned, so the original lids may have been used at the time, though the lids alone are manufactured these days specifically for grilling purposes–which works because the seasoned iron provides an ideal cooking surface with evenly distributed heat, while the sloped shape allows for fat to run off. In any case, it’s more about nostalgia than function.
Kinda fun to grill meat on a gamasot in Malate and tell my dining companions about it, but the gimmick wore off quickly–indeed, the lid was taken away after the initial order of samgyeopsal. The other items came precooked, probably because they were marinated and would’ve required extra clean-up–a lazy excuse to deprive customers of the full experience. Whatever.
10 (Fri) April 2015
at Arirang Hotel
This post covers two restaurants, different dates–the 4th post to feature a meal that hasn’t yet occurred on the blog’s official timeline–one for dinner, the other for lunch. I will do this whenever possible to accelerate the completion of TEKREM.
The two restaurants have nothing in common, except that parts of their names rhyme.
27 and 28 down, 13 to go.
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 completed 6.081 Lobster, Baby.); (iv) TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) (see completed 5.339 Roasted Squid); (v) TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 6.079 Chosun Set); (vi) TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) (see most recently 6.070 Chicken and Pork Adobo).
The food was pretty good.