Korean Restaurants as Good as Tickets and Visas to (South) Korea
The (massive) wave of Koreans who’ve settled in the Philippines brought with it awesome things, which a lot of Pinoys can’t live without anymore: K-pop, Koreanovelas, makeup, groceries and the most addicting of them all—Korean food. Indulge us for a bit, and reflect—how long can you go without bibimbap, japchae or samgyeopsal?
Breathe a sigh of relief. We’re lucky the local culinary scene is saturated with restaurants authentic enough to mend Koreans’ homesickness. So if you’re yearning for a South Korean trip mainly for the food—save the cost of a ticket and a visa for these restaurants instead. Just imagine how much Korean grub that’s equivalent to. Cha-ching!
8. SHP Bibimbap
2F Mervin Terraces Building, 980 Pablo Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila
0915 142 1506, 0905 372 0496 | Facebook
Open everyday from 9am to 10pm
Budget for two – P500
This adorable café serves as a de-stressing haven for the students around Taft. They have huge stuffed toys around that you’re welcome to hug. Hand in hand with your new fluffy bae, enjoy simple yet tasty ramen, rolls, rice meals, cakes, shakes and coffee. An order of bibimbap is obviously a must; choose from beef, chicken, spam, tuna and bulgogi.
7. Bulgogi Brothers
Bulgogi Brothers is a franchise from Korea that specializes in Korean barbecue, specifically bulgogi or marinated barbecued meat. If you’re looking to get your fix from a more refined place (in terms of ambiance, service and food), this place is where you want to go. For one, you won’t leave the place smelling like the food you just ate.
Their complimentary appetizers will leave a great first impression, too. Orders after—like the Bulgogi Bibimbap, Kimchi Jjigae and Bulgogi Brothers Special—will sustain that.
6. Mak Chang
1547 Adriatico Street, Opposite Robinsons Place, Ermita, Manila | (02) 394 8612, (02) 521 9540
Open everyday from 11am to 5am
1782 Adriatico Street, Malate, Manila | (02) 354 6294, 0905 316 9443
Open 24 hours
Budget for two – P1100
From refined, let’s go to gritty. Mak Chang is also well-known and loved for Korean barbecue, but their version uses charcoal. The use of charcoal is more authentic and lends more flavor to the meat. The ambiance and interiors of the place are nothing fancy, but you really won’t mind when you’re already devouring grilled meat and cold soju. The barbecue bestsellers are Beef Galbi and Samgyeopsal.
5. Ye Dang
Gold Park Complex, 88 Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City
(02) 246 9069 ext: 223 | Facebook
Open everyday from 11am to 2:30pm then 5:30pm to 10:30pm | Budget for two – P1000
Expect to rub elbows with Koreans getting their piece of home through food. It’s unfortunate Ye Dang only has one branch, all the way in Pasig, because their food is very, very close to the real deal. They offer (and do damn well) all the popular Korean dishes that your belly may be yearning for. Don’t miss out on their Japchae, Tteokbokki and grilled meats.