For quite some time now samgyup has been the binge-eating go-to for many Filipinos in the metro. With so many such restaurants (sometimes a stone’s throw away from each other) it has become a challenge for foodies everywhere to find the perfect samgyup restaurant. I, myself, have tried more than a handful from north to south and it always interests me to discover what new thing or “uniqueness” each place has to offer.
Finding the place
Earlier this week I was invited to try out this fairly new place at Fisher Mall. I was told it was on the fourth floor which I thought was unusual. The fourth floor is the cinema level and there weren’t any restaurants there before (to my knowledge). You see, I live quite near to Fisher Mall and I find myself there at least once a week and yet I never noticed a restaurant (and a full meal restaurant at that!) on the fourth floor.
I later realized why … it was a part of the mall I rarely (if at all) go to because it goes beyond the VIP Cinema. The few times I’ve been to that part of the fourth floor is when I took the east escalator going up, but I didn’t bother to look across to that direction. So, finding Samgyup King is like finding hidden treasure.
What makes Samgyup King different?
Once you enter you will be surprised at how wide and spacious and deep it is. I certainly was! I am used to going to samgyup places where you are sitting so close to the people at the next table that you are bumping into each other every time you move. But not here, this is a breath of fresh air for claustrophobics like me.
By now everyone knows how samgyup works … you sit at a table with a round hot plate grill in the middle and you are served a multitude of side dishes for you to consume and raw meat that you will then cook yourself. But before we talk about the grill and the food, let us first talk about the service.
From the get-go, this already makes them different. No more waiting for the waiter to bring you the meat or side dishes you want. Just stand up, go to the side table and kitchen counter and just get what you want or need there. Do you need meat? Sauce? Side dishes? The only thing you will need to ask the waiter is the ramen, the milk tea, and the bill. 🙂
Are you counting your steps? If so, then your fitness tracker will be very happy. Every time you need something you will have to stand up and walk to the back of the restaurant then back to your table. Since you can only carry so many things at a time, this translates to several trips! In other words, you exercise while having lunch. 😀
Every person is entitled to ONE milk tea order. Each milk tea order is served with black pearls in a tall glass with LED lights at the bottom (which are supposed to be turned on). You can choose from Hokkaido, Okinawa, Thai, or Taro Milk Tea, whichever is available at the time of your visit.
On any given day they only prepare two variants and when I was last there only the Thai and Taro Milk Teas were available. Luckily for me, what I wanted was the Thai Milk Tea, so it all worked out. Next time I hope they serve Okinawa or Hokkaido as I want to try those, too.
Samgyup King offers side dishes just like the other places, but they offer some unique twists, too.
- Pickled radish and carrots – think atchara but bigger thin slices, not strings
- Marble potatoes
- Kimchi – according to Chef Raymond they make this fresh every day, but they don’t serve it until two days later to allow it to ferment.
- Egg rolls – sweetened scrambled eggs that are cooked thinly and rolled
- Rice – served in a giant rice cooker at the buffet table. Go ahead and have your fill!
- Ramen – think of it as a slightly spicy noodle soup. This was not at the buffet table, so you have to ask the waiter to serve it to you.
- Chicken wings – this is one of the most sought-after side dishes. It is absolutely delicious! And you have 4 different sauces to choose from, too. Some people have even professed that they are ok with just eating this
- Mojos – when I was there, I was able to try two flavors: cheese and sour cream and onion. I prefer sour cream and onion. 🙂
Food for cooking
Other places give seven varieties, eleven varieties, etc. In contrast, Samgyup King provides just five varieties of meat for grilling:
- Chicken bulgogi
- Pork bulgogi
- Beef bulgogi
- Salt and pepper pork
- Salt and pepper beef
Bulgogi is a sweet soy sauce so whatever meat is marinated in this would be sweet. Usually, the meat is sliced very thinly (sukiyaki cut) to make it easier to cook. The salt and pepper beef is cut just as thinly but is lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, as the name suggests.
The salt and pepper pork is thick-cut meat in comparison. Think of a pork steak that is lightly seasoned. To cook this properly you will need to cut up the meat when it is half-done.
I know, at first, it seems like this is not much. But wait, there’s more!
This is one of the features that make Samgyup King different … their skewered dishes. I was really looking forward to this.
My family loves to order these freshly grilled barbeque style meats from the corner of our street whenever we don’t feel like cooking. These are what they are offering for rotisserie grilling:
- Pork barbeque
- Spicy pork barbeque
- Chicken barbeque
- Chicken wing barbeque
- Gizzard barbeque
- Pig intestine
- Chicken intestine
- Pork skin
- Pig ears
- Garlic longganiza
- Hamonado longganiza
- Sweet corn
My favorites of the bunch? The pork intestine and the pork skin. 😀 I ate a LOT of those 😀
Time to cook!
At Samgyup King each table has a long rectangular open metal grill at its center with grooves along its side. This grill is filled with high-grade charcoal brisket for you to cook with. On one side the staff will place a flat rectangular hot plate for pan grilling. This is where we cook the meat samgyup style!
The Rotisserie or Rotating Grill
Remember those grooves I mentioned earlier? Those are for the special skewers they use for the rotisserie grill. Each skewer has a flower-like disk towards one end with spokes. The skewers are placed with the spoked disk aligned with the moving chain track located just beyond the grooves. This is what makes the skewers turn to make cooking the meat evenly. Just make sure to space the skewers so that they can turn easily as they cook. Crowding the skewers just means only one side will get cooked (and burn).
That being said, there really is no reason for you not to cook the skewers on the flat grill if you wanted to, it just won’t cook as evenly. What we did last time was we cooked it on the rotisserie first then when it was almost done, we removed them from the skewers and put them on the flat grill to make them a little crispy.
Do they have dessert?
The dessert is not indicated on the menu because it isn’t part of the cost of the buffet. However, a variety of ice cream is available at the freezer at the back for P20 to P25 pesos.
Is it expensive?
The regular price is P599 with an introductory price of P499. When the owner, Sir Willy, was asked about how long the introductory price will be implemented he candidly said he doesn’t know yet as they are playing it by ear.
Here’s some good news for those who are looking for additional discounts. Samgyup King is on Metrodeal! Get your vouchers on Metrodeal and instead of paying P499 you will only pay P399. What a deal!
It is important to note that they do honor senior citizen/PWD discounts. However, while they apply the 20% discount, they do not remove the 12% VAT anymore that is the norm for senior citizen/PWD discounts because, they said, their price is already discounted.
If you are a senior citizen or PWD I would recommend that you just buy a voucher in Metrodeal instead of using your SC/PWD discount because the Metrodeal offer is still cheaper by P20. I know many seniors who might find using an app like Metrodeal challenging so either ask your kids or grandkids to get the voucher for you if you want to save the P20 per senior citizen/PWD ID holder.
I reviewed them in 2018 and if I compare their offerings and service then and now, they have definitely improved a lot! If you would like to try this place out, here are some tips I would like to offer:
- Weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) are toxic, meaning the waiting list is long and the waiting time could take long, too. If you must go there on a weekend for lunch, try to be there when the mall opens at 11am so that you have a better opportunity of eating immediately/sooner. 3pm is also a good time as the lunch crowd has left (or are leaving).
- Weekdays (Monday to Thursday) are good days to visit.
- If you are a big group, then it is a good idea to make a reservation
- A minimum of two people per table is required to eat here.
- For extra savings, purchase vouchers from Metrodeal.
- Samgyup cooking is faster than rotisserie grill cooking. This is because the meats prepared for the flat grill are sliced quite thinly that they would definitely cook faster. Rotisserie grill cooking takes longer because the meat slices and the skewers hover over the heat source rather than direct contact. Just have patience, though. I promise it is worth the wait.
- If you are really hungry and the cooking is taking some time, then grab some chicken wings and mojos. They are ready to eat and available on the buffet table.
- DO NOT EAT THE MEAT RAW. If you get sick, the management is not answerable for your stupidity.
- When cooking, please make use of the hood provided over each table. This will lessen the smoke and food smells from clinging to your clothes and skin.
Bring your family, bring your friends, bring your co-workers! Come to a place that offers more than just samgyup. Go to Samgyup King.
Samgyup King is located on the 4th Floor of Fisher Mall on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, with branches opening soon at Cubao and Novaliches.