Korean BBQ places have become popular for several years now here in the Philippines. Quite close to where I live I can already count at least 5 places, all just on one street!
Why do Filipinos love Korean BBQ?
There are many reasons to fall in love with Korean BBQ:
- the quantity – most Korean BBQ places offer unlimited servings of the main and side dishes
- the variety – choose from several types of raw meat to cook and many side dishes to eat!
- the speed of service – dishes are brought out quickly so hungry diners do not need to wait long for their food
- the experience – you cook your meat yourself at your table! While this is not a new concept, per se, it gives people who normally do not cook the opportunity to do so in a safe, judgment-free environment.
- the taste – if it tastes good, we’re interested!
- the price – if it won’t break the bank then we’re interested! 😀
Before I go further I feel the need to make a statement: I’m a home cook, I don’t pretend to be an expert in the kitchen. I am not a chef, I have not taken any course in culinary or baking. But I do know how I like food to look and taste and for my faves I look for a particular taste and, usually, I know how to prepare it as well. What this boils down to is I tend to really be critical when it comes to food – how they look, how they taste, and how they are served.
Just saying. 🙂
And now, without further ado …
What is samgyupsal?
According to Wikipedia, samgyupsal (or samgyeopsal as it is actually supposed to be spelled) is a Korean word referring to grilled pork belly. Despite that description, though, most Korean BBQ establishments serve more than just pork. Case in point is Samgyupsal King.
What is Samgyupsal King?
Samgyupsal King is one of many restaurants that have jumped into the Samgyupsal trend.
Just like their contemporaries in the business, they, too serve unlimited Korean BBQ. But what makes them different?
They serve pork, beef, and chicken
Not all Korean BBQ places do this. Some serve just pork and beef.
Unli meals are less expensive than some
Unli meals at Samgyupsal King range from P350 (for pork and chicken) to P399 (for pork, chicken, and beef). This makes sense as beef is quite expensive.
Other Korean BBQ places charge the same or even more. One place I went to charged P500, and that was just for pork and chicken. They made up for it, though, with the sides.
They have set meals at affordable prices
In general, Unli Korean BBQ places keep it simple … just unli meals. Samgyupsal King has four ala carte offerings to choose from: beef bulgogi, pork, bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, and grilled salmon – all accompanied by side dishes.
How’s the meat?
The meat is well prepared. Chef Raymond Que told us that they used prime meat and they are meticulous in their preparation.
The pork and beef are sliced thinly (sukiyaki cut) which makes them cook faster. Flavor-wise I thought they were flavored well. Of the pork cuts the one I enjoyed was the one that looked like bacon (I mean, who doesn’t love bacon, right? hehe)
If I had to complain it would probably be that there was a limited selection of meats as we were only presented with 6 options (that is for all pork, beef, and chicken combined) where other establishments offer as many as twelve or thirteen varieties combined.
Also, I like my spice so I was hoping that at least one of the beef cuts would be spicy. Maybe it was, but just wasn’t up to my spice level. 😀
As for the chicken, I am not a fan of white meat as it tends to become dry, especially when overcooked. My personal preference would have been chicken thigh fillet, and also cut thinly.
Are there many side dishes?
There were six side dishes … that’s it. Six. There were some staples I find in other Korean BBQ places I go to that they did not serve such as the steamed egg, fish cake, and candied peanuts. The radish I felt was not cooked enough in the vinegar before it was served but was adequately crispy.
The marble potatoes and (I heard) the kimchi were good. The kimchi, in particular, is their own recipe. The egg roll is essentially the Japanese tamago without the sugar.
And that is all of it.
Do they serve beverages?
No, they don’t. But I think, perhaps, this was a decision of the concessionaires at the food park so that patrons would get their beverages only from the bevarage concessionaires such as Fruitas.
Is there adequate seating?
This is, perhaps, where Samgyupsal King has a distinct advantage over other Korean BBQ places. Since they are located in Le Village Food Park they have more than enough seating which is shared with the other food establishments in the food park. The only real question, I suppose, would be if they have enough gas burners to service everyone.
I therefore conclude …
Overall I would say that Samgyupsal King is probably not yet the king of Samgyupsal in Metro Manila but what they serve is well thought of and well-seasoned. I especially admire their openness to suggestions of improvement which means that their meals can only get better and better!
One day soon I will surely bring my friends over to sample Samgyupsal King at Le Village Food Park. Someday, who knows, they may become the King they aspire to be.