My Dear Readers:
I'm so sorry! I was really not going to post this because I wanted it to be my little foodie secret! But since it would be completely unfair of me to deprive you of a really good thing, I'm going to tell you anyway.
I don't really talk much about my love for Korean food on this blog; as of late, I've been preoccupied with all things Japanese. That aside, if I were to rank my favorite Asian cuisines outside of the archipelago, Korean and Japanese food would be duking it out in a bloody street fight for first place.
That one scene from Fight Club comes to mind.
Anyway, my Korean food obsession is pretty intense. From Baguio to BF Homes, I've probably been to over ten Korean restaurants in a span of over ten years and I can still tell you which ones I like best. Lately, this place has been capturing my attention, and I think you should get on this bandwagon, too!
Last February 18, D and I decided to kill some time (AKA fill our bellies) before going to Art in the Park in Salcedo Village. We made the unanimous decision to go to one of our favorite Korean restos: Dong Won Garden just off Makati Avenue.
I'm not sure how cohesive all those ingredients are in the scheme of things, and how Donald Duck fits into the picture.
I rarely ever post photos of myself on this blog, so here is a gratuitous photo of D and myself for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, let's talk about the food.
(Clockwise: Spicy fish and potatoes, apple salad, kimchi, spiced clams, spiced tofu, white kimchi, radish kimchi, lettuce with spicy vinaigrette, sesame bean sprouts)
One of the things that make a good Korean restaurant is the amount of banchan they serve, and how often they give refills. Usually, this will range from about four (blah!) to nine (yeah!). As you can see, there's a lot to choose from in here, and luckily for us, we're regular customers here and the staff didn't hesitate to give us more when we asked for it.
We were in the mood for grilling that day, so we chose the thinly sliced beef, which set us back about (P350) (I forgot what it's called on the menu, only that I know it's the same beef cut as sukiyaki).
It came with a free bowl of steaming hot seafood soup! How about that?
Whenever D and I eat Korean food, there's something we order that is non-negotiable, and that is the Sam Gyeop Sal (P300). There's nothing like grilling these strips of tender pork belly to succulent perfection, and wrapping it up in lettuce/sesame leaves, adding the other ingredients and dipping it in salt and pepper sesame oil before shoving the whole thing into your mouth. Really. There is nothing like it. The Koreans were right on the money when they created this dish, and it dovetails nicely with the Filipino taste for all things involving fatty cuts of pork.
The Proper Way to Eat Sam Gyeop Sal:
- Take a lettuce/sesame leaf and put your meat of choice on top.
- Add raw or roasted garlic clove and/or sliced green chili.
- Add a dollop of fermented soybean paste.
- Wrap like lumpia, and dip into provided bowl of salt and pepper sesame oil.
- SHOVE THAT MOTHER INTO YOUR MOUTH. GRUNT IN ECSTATIC PLEASURE. REPEAT.
After that gustatory overload, the staff at Dong Won provided us with a free plate of watermelon! Standard practice at most Korean restaurants, but sometimes they give pineapple instead.
Oh, and did I mention that if you go there from 1-5, you get 20% discount on your whole meal if you pay in cash? D and I arrived at around 1:30. Score.
So now, the secret's out. I promise I won't hold back from you guys anymore.
I know that there are tons of great Korean restos all over the metro. Which are your favorites and where should I go next?
Dong Won is located at 53 Polaris St. cor. Jupiter St., Bel-Air
Makati City, Metro Manila.