6.094 TEKREM 27 + 28 : Bang + Rang


9 (Thu) April 2015



at Dweiji Bang

-Malate, Manila-

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.

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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):

Tier 2 (okay, but not enthusiastically):

Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):

Tier 4 (to be avoided no matter what):

^ 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

Dwaeji Bang is a Korean restaurant.
“dwaeji bang = pork room”

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.

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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.

Banchan (1.0)–crappy; the salada may have been off.
Lettuce wraps (2.0)–limited to just one type, but reasonably fresh.
2 orders = 3 slices of pumpkin, which of course makes me wonder if 1 order = 1.5 slices; unseasoned green beans were awful.
This mix of scallion & lettuce would’ve been better served as a raw topping rather than grilled.
Spicy Pork (1.5)–bland + Bulgogi (1.5)–tasted funny + Gyeran Mari (1.5)–weird ketchupy dressing

10 (Fri) April 2015


Dubu Jjigae

at Arirang Hotel

-Malate, Manila-


Arirang is a Korean hotel.
Includes a restaurant.
Every time that I’ve been here–first, just passing by out of curiosity; second, recon in preparation of TEKREM; and this time, the only time that I’ve sat down for a meal–the place has been empty.

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.

Various forms of “yeongyang”–literally “healthy/nutritious,” the term is a euphemism for dog–including soup (tang), boiled meat (suyuk), hotpot (jeongol); thanks to TEKREM, I may have discovered the only restaurant in Malate that serves the stuff.

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).

Banchan (2.5)–not bad, especially the chonggak kimchi; roasted laver with soy dip is pretty hard core, definitely meant for Korean clientele.
A very respectable lunch.
Lots of pork, not at all porky.

The food was pretty good.

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