13 (Mon) April 2015
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
- (29) KP2 ! (6.097 Ganjang Gejang) / 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
29 down, 12 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).
Although I’ve generally sworn off ganjang gejang, I ordered it here because of the novelty in seeing such a specialty item in the Philippines. And given the delicate nature of the dish, which is why it’s so rare, even in Korea, I was kinda hoping for a spectacular disaster, which would’ve been fun to write about.
Well, sorry to say, the crab was just moderately crappy. Too salty, no crab flavor, but at least it wasn’t fishy.
However, the rice did become an issue. I hadn’t ordered any rice, but a bowl had c0me with the rest of the food, including a spread of sides and soup, so I’d eaten it, assuming everything to be a package deal–a safe assumption, as ganjang gejang is impossible to eat without rice, being so salty from the soy sauce. So, when the bill later showed an additional charge of 50 pesos (around $1.2) for the rice, I complained. Although I would’ve ordered rice anyway, I was offended by what seemed like a scam, if a minor one. The owner–one of those Korean women who snaps her chewing gum–defended the act by claiming : (a) that’s what they’ve always done and (b) nobody else has ever objected. Bullshit. I wished her luck getting rich by grifting customers for 50 pesos a pop. I would’ve just paid 400 and walked out, but I only had a 500 bill.