I would never bother to write or feature a restaurant that I hated. It would be a waste of both my time and the readers’. I’m sure those who come to read my posts are people looking for a good place to eat. So, to honor my readers who live in the North, mainly Quezon City, I will write about an old love. Presenting, the restaurant that made me fall in love with Korean food.
The Seoul Restaurant sits beside a language school for Koreans inside Brgy. Holy Spirit, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. Now here’s one thing you need to know about Koreans; their diet is precious to them.
Unlike most Filipinos who can survive without eating Adobo or Menudo for years, the Koreans are very ritualistic with their food. They cannot eat without Kimchi or their familiar spices.
To the uninitiated, Kimchi is a condiment/ side dish that is staple to every Korean meal. It is made from vegetables fermented using Korean chili paste, making it pungent and very spicy. I hated it when I first tasted it, but now I always have a jar of it in my fridge.
And I always say, if it’s good enough for the Koreans, it’s good enough for me. Korean students eat at this restaurant every breakfast, lunch and dinner. They do have tables for people who don’t want to sit on the floor. However, I decided to dine in this room because it enhances the authenticity of the dining experience. It surely doesn’t get any more Korean than this.
Before the meal, diners are provided hot towels to clean their hands or freshen up. No need to go to the water closet. If you do not ask for the regular spoon and fork, you will be provided with the standard aluminum chopsticks (not the palo-china type) and a large spoon for soupy dishes. Koreans normally eat with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon on the other. They are not bashful during meals as you can really hear them slurp, chew and munch the food. Westerners think this is being rude, but the slurping sound is their way of showing appreciation that the food was good. It is their way of honoring the cook/ chef.
Whatever dish you order, it will always go with two kinds of Kimchi and two kinds of Korean radish. The yellow one in this picture is sweet. Their Kimchi is not so pungent as compared to one I buy from the supermarket. It is a little sweet, very spicy and crunchy to the bite, plus a tinge of sourness to balance the flavor. The Kimbap, as seen above is the Korean version of the Japanese Futomaki or sushi. Like it’s Japanese counterpart, the Korean Kimbap is white rice rolled in seaweed wrap and is also sliced into small rounds. However, unlike it’s Japanese counterpart, the Korean Kimbap’s rice is NOT dipped in sweet vinegar but is just plain rice with sausages, a little fruit (sometimes pineapple is used) and flavored with sesame oil. The Kimbap is not served with any sauce and is the favorite snack of many Korean children because of it’s hearty taste, without sour or spice. I personally prefer this to the Japanese maki-zushi. One order of Kimbap is only P100.00 (US$2.23). All the side dishes are given for free and can be refilled upon request.
The Koreans make good noodle dishes. They use buckwheat noodles that are firm and are never soggy even when reheated. Sorry but I forgot the name of this dish. It is only P220.00 (US$4.89) and is good for two hungry people or three polite people.
Noreen and I easily downed this one. The Kimchi is always a welcome condiment to any Korean dish.
Now comes my super favorite, the Chapchae, which is a Korean stir-fry noodle dish. Chapchae is made from cellophane noodles or dangmyeon, which is flavored with sesame oil and stir-fried in beef and vegetables. The dangmyeon is larger than sotanghon or vermicelli and is a tad tougher to the bite. Chapchae is generally sweet and is not too salty, which is why I love it. Chapchae or Japchae can be ordered as a side dish or as main dish on a bed of rice.
One order, which is good for two costs P240.00 (US$5.33)
You may visit them at Brgy Holy Spirit, Quezon City or call them at 430-5502. I live in Makati and this is such a wonderful excuse to travel to Quezon City. The service is impeccable and it sure beats any Korean restaurant in the Makati area. They have free parking too!