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Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I’ve been eating in Sandaya for almost a decade now. It’s the family’s go-to spot for a great Yakiniku dinner. We’re creatures of habit and when we like a restaurant, we go very frequently and end up ordering the same thing. Sandaya’s always been a staple for us and for the longest time I thought I already wrote about it but when I did a quick search today I discovered I haven’t yet. This was so weird to me it’s like a bunch of aliens hacked my blog and deleted it or something I could’ve sworn I’d written about it before.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Anyway. We just get about 5 orders of CAB Angus Beef Boneless Short Ribs (Php 350 each), a cup of rice each and a side order of kimchi and we’re done.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
We were too excited about the kimchi so this was taken in the midst of the meal.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I think other than the fact they serve really good beef, their dipping sauce sets them apart. There’s this red paste type sauce (I think its gochujang) and then there’s this light soy sauce based sauce that you mix together. I ask the waitresses for minced garlic to mix in with my sauce for the ultimate one-two punch combo for bad breath. So I mix 2 parts red sauce with 1 part brown sauce and grab a chopstick’s grip worth of chilli and there’s my sauce.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
When I eat in restaurants where I have to cook my own food, I like to pace myself and eat slowly. It’d suck to get full fast and get sick so you might as well soak up the family time and conversation.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Sandaya’s charcoal grills fire up quickly so cooking is fun and convenient. They give you tongs too so you don’t need to touch the raw meat with the same chopsticks you feed yourself with.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
After you grill it to perfection, you fish it out of the grill, dip it in the sauce and take a big bite with some rice.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I like it with the fat burnt crisp around the edges. It’s also nice that they don’t slice their beef too thin so it’s still nice and juicy when you bite into it. Other restaurants slice their meat so thin that it shrinks so much when you end up cooking it.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I highly recommend this place. If you’re feeling carnivorous and want to be satisfied, make that reservation ASAP and you won’t regret it. I have yet to find a yakiniku restaurant in Metro Manila that can top Sandaya. What’s the best yakiniku restaurant you’ve ever tried?

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
The best thing about Sandaya? Your clothes don’t smell like food after eating there. I kid you not.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Ralph’s is right under it so you can do an alcoholic grocery run after.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Drive slow when you’re on Pasay Road aka Arnaiz Avenue and watch out for the red sign. Or Ralphs! Or The Love Garden! You’re there!

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
This must be the place! Climb the stairs to the 2nd floor and enter this dark door.
Sandaya Yakiniku
Right on top of Ralph’s and The Love Garden
2nd Flr. Colbella Bldg.
910 Pasay Road
Makati City
Phone: 8932039

Operating Hours:
Mon – Fri 17:00–23:00
Sat – Sun 11:00–23:00

I wrapped a commercial project today and it felt great! Had the final edit today with both client and agency and it all went smooth sailing. Yep, there aren’t really any holidays in my line of work. I’m babbling here cause I’m excited for it and it’ll be out on Monday so watch out for it since I’ll be flooding my online space.

Not too related but when I got home from a relatively long day (for a holiday) of work, my mom asked if I wanted to join her for a trip to Megamall. All things considered, I thought the timing was great and there’d be no traffic getting there and I was right.

Ooma - Megamall

Ooma Japanese Rice Bar is the second collaboration of Chef Bruce Ricketts with The Moment Group. I sure as hell am glad this place exists because as much as I’d like to practical budget restrictions don’t permit a weekly Mecha Uma visit. Ooma though is the kind of place I’ll find myself in every single time I am in Megamall. So yay.

I couldn’t find a phone number online so they listed us as the 28th diners when we got there around 7:30PM. The place was packed, the seats outside were full and it seemed that everyone was willing to wait. Mom and I did some shopping in the area and went back to claim our seats around 50 minutes later. Good thing I had a merienda worthy of a children’s party at the office so I wasn’t the least bit hungry. We were finally seated at 9PM and I took charge of ordering pretty much everything I was curious about so here it goes.

Ooma - Megamall
I ordered the Corn and Oyster Kakiage (Php 155) cause of all the hype surrounding it. Not much of a corn person (I try not to eat it – ever since I caught The World According to Monsanto) but I absolutely love oysters so I thought this would be a fine balance. I thought wrong. Fried and served with kimchi mayo and nori salt, corn was the majority shareholder of the dish with the teensy oyster as an afterthought. The oyster was really small, somewhat dry and I could barely taste it. The kimchi mayo was really good though but what would save this dish would be some fat juicy oysters.

Ooma - Megamall
Next up was the Spicy Tuna Maki (Php 245). This is something I order whenever I get the chance to. There’s a particular standard I look for when it comes to spicy tuna and Ooma’s was good – tightly packed, generous toppings, a gentle burn from the gojuchang aioli but what I missed were the tempura crumbs. The roll needed a bit more crunch to help it out but otherwise it’s something I’d probably order again after sampling the rest of the rolls.

Ooma - Megamall
The Hamachi and Kani Aburi Maki (P345) was on the sweet side with torched hamachi and teriyaki sauce. It was okay too but it tasted familiar. I think I’ll sample the other rolls before going back to ordering this one.

Ooma - Megamall
The highlight of my night was the Uni Udon (Php 495). My mom and I shared one and we both agreed that we’d get our own orders next time we headed back. The dish consisted of thick and creamy udon noodles fresh uni, shrimp, onion, fresh mushrooms, nori crumbs, scallion and a generous helping of uni cream sauce. So good, it’s not bland the typical cream-based dishes, the nori, uni and combination of everything else helped bring a tasty seafood tang to the plate.

Ooma - Megamall
The Hangar Steak (Php 495) was actually generous for the price. Prepared via sous vide the hangar steak was sliced thinly, served on a bed of sweet potato mash with truffle oil, ponzu butter and baby potato crisps. This would’ve been perfect if the potato crisps weren’t old and makunat by the time it got to us. First bite had the most distinct truffle flavor which was quite nice, meat was mostly tender – sometimes chewy but bearably so. There was a lot going on with this dish (the truffle, the sweet potato, the tartness of the pickle dressing, the bold flavor of the steak) but I liked it.

Ooma - Megamall
Here’s a shot of my lovely mama who was my date tonight. We enjoyed feasting together. Lol yup, what you saw was completely devoured by just two people. Hooray for us!

Ooma - Megamall
Just another shot of the Prom Queen – mixed in with all the sauce and elements tied together. If you only had money to eat one thing here, I suggest you let it be this.

Ooma - Megamall
Just for posterity and general internet logging, here’s my face: pre-food. So yeah, hungry and excited and feeling everything a normal person would feel after waiting the same length as a Holywood blockbuster to get a table for 2 at this restaurant.

Overall, Ooma’s definitely worth the trip to Megamall – near, far, wherever you are. Food’s good and I’d like to think you get what you pay for. Most of the items are unique to Ooma and that’s what’ll make people keep going back and wanting more. I have yet to try the dessert. I wasn’t a fan of the long queue and the long wait but hey timing is everything. If you find yourself with time to spare, preferably a weekday in the middle of the afternoon then go eat there. I’ll be back there too when there aren’t any people to compete with for seats.

Ooma Japanese Rice Bar
3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall
Edsa cor. Julia Vargas Ave.,
Ortigas, Mandaluyong City,
Metro Manila
10AM to 10PM
Ooma Full Menu

Universe Gastrolounge
I haven’t been too present in the blogosphere but once in a while, I get to sneak out of work and try new places with fellow blog-folk. When Aldous invited me to join and sample the dishes Universe Gastrolounge, I just had to be there.

Universe Gastrolounge
I learned that Universe was Opus re-branded, owned and managed by the same group. Never went to Opus so I have absolutely no point of reference BUT I did know that Chef Aracama handled food so I had great expectations. (This is because of the time I had a shoot at Republiq and they fed us Korean Steak Tacos which were awesome. So I asked the waiter who the chef was and he said Aracama and I was loyal forever.)

Universe Gastrolounge
When I stepped in I thought Universe looked pretty cool. It had a comfortable lounge vibe with exposed brick walls, those neon scripty lights and a huge chalk wall. We were about 6 bloggers there so it was an intimate event with a whole lot of food. I didn’t get to try everything and since there was just so much but so I’ll write about the stuff I particularly enjoyed in more detail.

Universe Gastrolounge
I don’t particularly enjoy white bread but I liked the Black Bikini. It’s a grilled sandwich with prosciutto, truffle jam and cheese. This is something I’d want to recreate at home.

Universe Gastrolounge
We were served other sandwiches too like the Patty Melt and the Monte Cristo Benedict. But since my bread quota was up, I just had the potato chips and garlic aioli.

Universe Gastrolounge

Universe Gastrolounge
For starters, we also had Chicken Cobb Salad, Mixed Mushroom Dip and Patatas Bravas.

Universe Gastrolounge
I was surprised to find that they served sushi! First non-Japanese place I tried that dished out sushi.

Universe Gastrolounge

Universe Gastrolounge
Featuring the Electric Eel, Futo Wacky and the Crunchy Caterpillar.

Universe Gastrolounge
When it comes to pizza, I feel that the ones with the fewest ingredients work best. The Italian Sausage pizza they served was topped with just crumbly Italian sausage and roasted garlic – all soft and paste-y.

Universe Gastrolounge
If you’re into more American flavors, the BBQ Chicken pizza was alright as well.

Universe Gastrolounge

Universe Gastrolounge
We had the BLT (Bacon, Linguine & Truffle) Pasta as well as the Linguine Vongole. I don’t know why but I honestly don’t enjoy linguine noodles so I thought that the pasta was just OK.

Universe Gastrolounge
For mains, I thought the best thing they had was the Café Rep’s Crispy Bagnet Pork Belly which was served on a bed of kimchi rice with lechon sauce. I could eat kimchi rice with anything but honestly, the bagnet was a winner. Easily the best dish on the menu.

Universe Gastrolounge
Hesitant to try the Meatloaf and Gravy at first, my curiosity got the best of me. It wasn’t half bad. Paired with the mashed potatoes and gravy, it felt like eating a block shaped burger steak.

Universe Gastrolounge
The Boneless Beef Riblets tasted exactly like the chicken on the BBQ Chicken Pizza so like I said, if you’re really into the American BBQ taste – go for it.

Universe Gastrolounge
Dessert was a favorite for everyone, I think. The Trailer Park Monte Cristo is a deep fried, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This doesn’t look like much but it was so good I had to stop myself from devouring the entire plate.

Universe Gastrolounge
They served us the Banana Foster Sundae as well which I didn’t get to try cause I was already guilty for having the Monte Cristo. Looked good though!

Universe Gastrolounge
If I found myself back at Universe or in the midst of friends who just want to go out and party, I’d take comfort sitting out and eating. They don’t call it a Gastrolounge for nothing.

TAMBAI
I love BBQ. The simplicity of cooking raw meat over fire and eating off a stick just appeals to me and it’s precisely why I think Tambai is pure genius – the perfect marriage between yakitori and Pinoy barbecue. It was my first time there tonight and I’m definitely going back.

TAMBAI
First thing’s first, I spent about Php 700 without even noticing and that’s a lot for a meal I ate on the street. I eat a lot though so sue me. The menu is as straightforward as it gets. There’s the regular yakitori and its jumbo brother, the laki-tori. Meat prices range from Php 20-40 for the smaller sticks and Php 120-180 for the bigger ones.

TAMBAI
Ventured out with my grade school buddies Gia and Mikee (she took all the photos here) to catch up. It was everyone’s first time which was great cause we all got to experience it together.

TAMBAI
Thought a cold beer would go well with the sticks so I had a bottle of Brew Kettle (Php 45) which is reputed to be the Filipino Hoegarden. I found this to be true. Someone once told me they sold bottles of this in 7-11. They’re not on display so you need to ask for them specifically. Under the table kinda thing.

The first thing I tried when I got there was the US Beef Isaw Yakitori (Php 40). I don’t really like isaw so this was kind of a daring move on my end. Taste-wise it was good but I really couldn’t get over the texture so I had a bite and moved on.

TAMBAI
Since I got back from Korea, I’ve been obsessed with kimchi rice so I order this every chance I get. Tambai’s Kimchi Rice (Php 50) is too good for words. It just hits the spot and that’s all I can say.

TAMBAI
It’s also best paired with the US Beef Short Rib Lakitori (Php 180). When I go back, this is all I’m ordering. This and the kimchi rice. The meat’s tender and well seasoned and it just made me love beef more than I already did. One wasn’t enough so I had two and I don’t regret it one bit.

TAMBAI
I got two more lakitori sticks – the US Chicken Leg (Php 120) and the US Pork (Php 120). Yakitori’s typically chicken so I enjoyed this, being on the more traditional side with the teriyaki glaze. The pork was bland and on the tough side so it’s not something I’d recommend.

It was a random Thursday night when I visited but the place was packed. Head over early or just prepare to eat standing up. Have the US Beef Short Rib paired with the Kimchi Rice and tell me what you think.

Tambai
5779 Felipe Street,
Poblacion, Makati
(Across El Chupacabra, right next to H&J)

Paras Birthday

For Tita Ginger and Tito Dading’s joint birthday celebration, they opted to treat us to a fine home-cooked lunch. Tita Ginger is my mom’s sister and also one of the finest cooks I know. She understands food on a highly technical level and I notice that what she makes is forever evolving. When she calls to tell me she has mastered prime rib, I know we’re all in for a spectacular meal.

Paras Birthday

I got to lunch a bit late so I barely reached the Chili Con Carne for starters. Luckily, my ultimate favorite – Spicy Tuna Sashimi – was there and there was a lot of it to go around. Tita Ginger’s version of this strays a bit from Sugi’s but is just as tasty. It doesn’t have the usual tempura crumbs; the little wonton bowls they come in give its needed crunch.

Paras Birthday

The Green Salad with Candied Walnuts, Fried Onion and Raspberry Vinaigrette looked really good and was. But I didn’t touch it because I was saving precious stomach real estate for steak, spinach au gratin and cake.

Paras Birthday

More sides! Mashed potato, corn on the cob and creamed corn were present. There was also pasta with sundried tomatoes and black bean garlic sauce topped with green onions and Parmeggiano Reggiano.

Paras Birthday

The star of the show was the Prime Rib Au Jus. Lovingly cooked to perfection, I enjoy my steak pink and a wee bit bloody served with the roast’s drippings. Tita Ginger’s steak could rival any restaurant’s and it’s definitely the kind of prime rib you’d be happy to pay for.

Paras Birthday

The crust was nice and tasty – salt, cracked black pepper and garlic perfectly coating the sides of the steak. The beef itself was tender, beautifully marbled and flavorful. I enjoyed eating this so much, savoring every bite.

Paras Birthday

I realize looking back at my photographs from the weekend that I have zero photos of the Spinach Au Gratin. It was so mind-blowingly awesome I just ate it all and forgot I had a camera in the first place. I don’t know about anyone else but I think the perfect siding to a juicy Prime Rib steak is creamed spinach. I told my tita this and even if she hadn’t ever made creamed spinach she said she’d give it a go and came up with this. It was so good. I just don’t know how else to describe it. One of my titos even said he could eat the spinach as is, with rice. If that isn’t convincing enough, I don’t know what is.

Paras Birthday

When we were all full and busy digesting it was time for dessert. There were freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, pomelo slices (the healthy choice) and of course, Tito Dading’s favorite, the San Marcos Cake (Php 700).

Paras Birthday

So funny I forgot I had the San Marcos cake two years ago, Tita Ginger even showed me an old blog entry to prove I did. I had two slices that day just cause it was deceptively light even with the creamy icing.

I really appreciate our family gatherings when someone cooks, we get together and just share a meal at home. I prefer it to eating out just cause everything tastes better and there’s no pressure to rush to leave. Plus, eating at home means you can go back for seconds and maybe even have leftovers for the day after.

Señor Pollo QC
Lets start with the aftermath. I ordered half a roasted chicken, two spicy rice sides, one patatas bravas and lechon asado. I obviously enjoyed this meal as did Kathy.

COLOR GRADING
I was in the Timog area that day because we were color grading the music video I did for Ang Bandang Shirley’s Nakauwi Na. It was the first time I was at Quantum and the whole idea of being in Timog excited me cause it meant I could finally go and try Señor Pollo. Here’s a quick flash photography portrait of what the color grading set-up looks like. The entire act takes a lot of hard work and it’s pretty tedious since you can pretty much manipulate colors in any part of the frame. Imagine, Photoshop in video form.

Señor Pollo QC
I was there since 3PM in the afternoon. We were working straight until the evening until we decided it was time to go look for food at around 10PM. Since I was reading up on Senor Pollo all day, I knew we were safe cause it’d be open til 1AM. Finding the place wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, when you’re on Tomas Morato heading straight for the Timog side, Scout Rallos and the F7 building would be on your left. F7 is a nice building with interesting dining choices like Purple Oven and Uncle Moes. The best thing about it? Valet parking. I didn’t avail of this service since there was a lot of space.

Señor Pollo QC
ON TO THE CHICKEN! Kathy and I decided on sharing a Half Order of Roasted Chicken + 2 sides (Php 299). For sides, we picked the Spicy Rice and Patatas Bravas. The chicken itself is served with chimichurri sauce and garlic sauce. We ordered an extra order of Spicy Rice since it was awesome and later found that it was the last batch of rice in the restaurant. Score!

Señor Pollo QC
Oh man, this was heaven. I mean, just look at it. Took my first bite and I was hooked. The chicken was tender and roasted perfectly, that fire roasted flavor was spot-on: hint of sourness from the chimichurri, the creamy garlic sauce and the chicken combined with the spicy rice.

Señor Pollo QC
So. After trying this and liking it so much, I thought I wanted something more. Just a chicken quarter wasn’t enough so I settled on ordering Lechon Asado (Php 200) as well. This was good too but the chicken was way better. I thought the pork was too fatty.

Señor Pollo QC
Aaron and Gen followed shortly and enjoyed their meal as well. Too bad there was no spicy rice left when they arrived.

Señor Pollo QC
We were all happy campers. It was everyone’s first time at Senor Pollo that night.

Señor Pollo QC
Here’s a shot of the menu for reference. Compared to the old reviews I used to read, they seemed to have increased their prices. I can’t complain since they seem to be doing well for themselves. I remember leaving a bit before midnight only to find that they’d already run out of chicken to serve.

Señor Pollo QC
The waiting staff is great too. Knowledgable, polite and just pleasant overall. I drink a lot of water and I really liked how they were sensitive to that cause despite the fact the place was packed, my glass was always full. Can’t wait to be back! Hopefully I find myself in the area soon.

Señor Pollo
F7 Building, Scout Rallos Street,
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
0917-833-1033
Open til 1AM

Kimpura GB5

Every Sunday, I have lunch out with my mom’s side and last weekend we ate at one of my teppanyaki favorites, Kimpura. I just love Japanese food in general so take me anywhere good and I’ll be happy. I won’t be posting prices here because I have no idea how much the meal we had was thanks to my generous grandma.

Kimpura GB5
For starters, we had unagi rolls – grilled eel, teriyaki sauce and sushi rice. Very basic dish done right. I liked that they were generous with the unagi but would’ve prefered if this had a slice of avocado somewhere in there as well. I also realized while eating this that I don’t enjoy sushi when the rolls are too big to stuff in my mouth,

Kimpura GB5
If you want to be on the safe side, get Greg to be your chef! He’s the expert at toasting steak fat to those little crispy bits you won’t beat yourself up for eating. It was also nice of him to ask if we wanted MSG in our food. We declined.

Kimpura GB5
We had tempura, steak, oysters and fried rice.

Kimpura GB5
I do not have anything bad to say about fried rice. Ever. Don’t shoot me though when I say that I honestly kind of missed the MSG on this thing and generally, I thought it needed more black pepper.

Kimpura GB5
Buttery oysters with green bellpeppers and onions. Mmm… There were small pieces here and there, I wish they just served big oysters. Bigger oysters would’ve just made every bite better.

Kimpura GB5
Observe the mountain of fat and oil on the right hand side. Mmm…

Kimpura GB5
I’ve been eating organic grass-fed beef for almost two years now and I can honestly taste the difference, especially when served thicker cuts like steak. Grass-fed beef just has so much more flavor, it’s richer and just better quality in general. When I’m served corn/grain fed meat whether it’s from the US or local, I can tell. This steak was cooked well, medium, the garlicky buttery teppanyaki taste was there but the meat was just OK. It was tender, yes but I was missing its flavor. If you’re interested to know the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef, click this.

Kimpura GB5
At the end of every meal here there’s the promise free dessert. We were given a choice of fruit or ice cream. Since we were all feeling pa-healthy, we opted for fruit. Thankfully the pineapples were sweeet.

Kimpura’s probably the best restaurant I know to go to eat teppanyaki cooked right in front of you just because it’s the only one I know (apart from Inagiku, but that’s cheating cause it’s in a hotel). In the future, I hope they start offering grass-fed beef to improve their steak. Where is the best teppanyaki restaurant in Manila anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kimpura
4/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St
Legazpi Village, Makati
(02) 621-6791 to 93
*with branches in Greenhills and Trinoma

Just before recently, the last time I had a meal at Wildflour was probably a good two years ago. I’ve been back twice in the last week and what can I say? The place still has it. It’s packed, has an interesting menu and serves good food. I can’t ask for more.

Excuse the photos on this, just shot with my Samsung S3 which I feel has deteriorated in terms of photo quality. Suddenly everything’s so grainy and photos are only passably nice on Instagram. But anyway, whatever! Here’s what I had for lunch last Monday.

20140821_123748
Baby Mixed Green Salad (Php 330) – Mango vinaigrette, candied walnuts, feta cheese, lettuce. Balanced and good if you’re fond of salad on the sweet side with a hint of salty. Thought the mango vinaigrette was sweet enough so I bailed on the walnuts and mango bits and tried to get more cheese in every forkful.

d06f049a4d6cff6134c19e7584504974e5fc8180400b57bdaa304af39a605c56
When I get the chance to, I almost always order the Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Gruyere Tarte Flambee(Php 495). For a while, this was pretty inconsistent in the early stages of Wildflour. I remember being served an extra oily, crumbly batch a few years back. Thankfully, the guys at the Fort branch have mastered the art of the tarte flamee and do this dish justice. What I love about this is that the toppings are generous and that the crust is perfectly crisp.

20140821_124956
My brother ordered The Reuben and I was fortunate enough to sneak a bite. Biting into this sandwich made me miss New York a lot. Now that I’m here though this’ll have to do. My brother was pretty satisfied and from the bite I had, the meat had just the right amount of flavor.


Don’t be fooled by the name. Wildflour’s Rustichella Squid Ink Spaghetti (Php 450) is actually a tomato-based seafood pasta with squid ink noodles. I’m a sucker for squid ink pasta so when this is on the menu, I’m very likely to order this. Thought the sauce would be squid ink so I was surprised to see red. Although this wasn’t what I expected, this was far from disappointing. It proved to be a memorable dish, pasta was perfectly al dente and the black noodles added a rich squid flavor to the tomato sauce.

There goes my capsule review!

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery
G/F Net Lima Bldg., 4th Ave cor 26th St
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(02) 856-7600
M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 8:00am – 11pm
Sundays: 8AM-4PM

There was a time I kept seeing photos from Sunshine Kitchen come up on my Facebook feed. Always photos of friends, cross-posting via instagram. Only one thought filled my mind everytime I’d see them, WHERE IS THIS PLACE? When can I get my hands on that beautiful Pizza al Nero?

Sunshine Kitchen

Next thing I knew, I found out the place was just at the Fort so when Carina and I didn’t know where to grab dinner we just headed straight there. It was almost 10PM but a quick online search told me they were open til late.

Sunshine Kitchen
Of course, we ordered the 6-Hour Slow Roasted Porchetta (Php 480) to share. We decided we’d save getting pizza for another time cause we weren’t as hungry as we thought. Getting this was a no brainer, it’s basically an Italian lechon recipe and tough to get wrong. Problem was, I feel like we headed over at the wrong time. The meat was tender and tasty but the skin was hard and chewy. Far away from the experience I expected, peeling the skin off with my fingers and biting into it to find a resounding crunch. Maybe it was cooked at lunch, reheated in the oven and served to us at 10PM? I’ll never know but somehow I felt that this couldn’t have been right. The rice pilaf and green beans on the side were generous and good as well, keeping the Pinoy appetite in mind.

Sunshine Kitchen
Served with freshly baked rolls, the Creamy Crab and Shrimp Dip with Artichoke (P 380) was brought to us piping hot. I’m really particular about the temperature of my food so I enjoyed this. The serving was generous, there was a lot of crab meat, shrimp and artichoke in this and the bread was good. This falls into the category of baby food in my book though cause it’s pretty safe-tasting, comfort food too for someone who likes thick, cream based stuff.

I still keep reading rave reviews about this place and that’s enough to get me back in there. I’d probably go back at lunch just to get a decent serving of Porchetta. I’m getting curious about the stuff of dreams every other review I read on the internet talks about, the melt in your mouth tender meat paired with skin so crisp. I’d also like to give their squid ink pizza and Cabanatuan longanisa a shot. Til next time, I guess!

Sunshine Kitchen
2nd Floor, Fort Pointe Building,
The Fort Strip,
5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio,
Taguig
Phone: 0929-813-9775

When I’m craving good Korean food, only one place comes to mind and it’s always Korea Garden. I’ve been there so many times through the years and it’s weird just thinking that I never got around to writing about it til now. It’s been around as long as I remember and they just have one big branch in Jupiter St, Makati.

Korea Garden w Isa
Just last week I was there twice; on Sunday for dinner with my family and again with Isa and Carina for a big free lunch thanks to Isa’s mom. If my memory serves me right, Isa’s grandma moved to Manila in the midst of war for love. She is also Korean and an amazing cook which explains why Korea Garden exists and why it’s been around for so long.

On to the food! Since I ate there twice in a week, I’d like to include the dishes I had for both occasions. When I was with my family, we ordered the staples, things we usually order when we’re there. But at lunch with Isa and Carina, Isa’s mom ordered more interesting dishes for us, things that probably don’t come to mind first-hand when you think of Korean food; a bulk of them I actually encountered for the first time.

Korea Garden w Isa
Always the main event. The Korean Beef Stew (Php 370) here is unrivaled and I don’t think I’ve tasted anything better than theirs. Time and time again my mom has tried recreating the dish at home, it’s always good but it’s just not the same. Korea Garden’s beef stew just tastes like it’s been boiled for hours with meat so tender, it just falls off the bone. The broth is bold and boasts a spicy after taste. It’s also best appreciated with a steaming cup of white rice.

Korea Garden Sandy
Another staple for us is the Chicken Kui/Spicy Chicken (Php 330) which we all attacked before I could sneak a photo in. It’s marinated in this sort of chili paste before getting grilled. It’s simple but it’s the kind of taste you look for every once in a while. They use chicken thigh fillets for this which is a plus because I love dark meat.

Korea Garden Sandy
I’ve always preferred Kalbi Cui (Php 430) to bulgogi just because I think short ribs just taste better. It’s kind of sweet, marinated with a soy sauce base and grilled. It’s tender and something I have to order every time I’m there.

Korea Garden Sandy
Chapchae (Php 310) is Korea’s version of pancit. Safe to order for the kids considering how subtle the tastes in this dish hour. It’s made with sweet potato noodles which are bouncy and have a slippier texture, mixed in with some veggies and beef.

Next up, we have dishes from the time I went with Isa and Carina. Not mainstream like the first batch, most of the food I tried with them that day, I just tried for the first time. I enjoy getting exposed to new food especially when I find that they’re really good.

Korea Garden w Isa
Here’s something I ended up loving but wouldn’t have had the guts to order myself. Yuk Hue is basically Korean steak tartare. I hadn’t ever tried steak tartare, never thought of it or had the chance to order it but hey, this was surprisingly really, really good. You mix it all together well before having a bite. The ground beef is already perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper, sesame oil and leeks before you mash in the jicamas and egg yolk. It was refreshing because of how cold the meat was but boasted such genuine flavors. Something I’ll most likely order the next time I’m there.

Korea Garden w Isa
We were served an assortment of pancake dishes as well. Admittedly, I’m not really a pancake person but I gave these guys a shot. Above is a photo of the Pajeon which had seafood and a lot of green onions.

Korea Garden w Isa
We also tried the Bintaetok, a mung bean pancake. I really couldn’t tell the difference between either but they were both alright. Again, not a pancake person!

Korea Garden w Isa
This gorgeous spread is called Gujeolpan and it reminded me so much of peking duck for the sheer fact of needing to enclose meat and veggies in a wrap. Once a dish for Korean nobles (I tell ya, it’s presentation), how you eat this is basically cram everything or whatever you want in a wrap and dip it in a sweet soy sauce before biting. Patient people or people who like sandwiches and wraps will enjoy this.

Korea Garden w Isa
We also had this Samgyupsal with Beef Tenderloin which was just alright. I find that the Pork Belly version is much tastier and easier to eat cause the pork’s easier to bite off. For those who have never eaten this and want to, I’ll save you from the awkwardness of not knowing how to properly eat this. First, take a lettuce leaf, put a piece of meat in it along with some raw garlic, then slather on the ssamjang and take a bite.

Korea Garden w Isa
Look at this! It’s got tuna sashimi. I learned that this cold noodle dish is called Hwe Naeng Myeun made with a really spicy thick, chili sauce, vermicelli noodles, tuna sashimi and veggies. I felt so refreshed eating this but it’s the kind of spicy not everybody can handle.

Korea Garden w Isa
Carina loves spicy food as much as I do but this, she couldn’t eat. I enjoyed this a lot, it had different textures and was tons spicy I couldn’t eat it without sipping water after a couple of bites. Really good though.

Korea Garden w Isa
Dates for the day!

Wow, that was a lot of food. Bottom line is, Korea Garden’s where I go when I need a good Korean fix. Been eating here for years and the food’s always consistent and I know this because I only always order the same things. For those of you who haven’t ever eaten here, where do you go to get good Korean food? I’m curious.

Korea Garden
128 Jupiter St.
Bel-Air, Makati
(02) 895-5443
Operating hours:
M, T, W, Th, F, Sa, Su: 11:30AM – 2:30PM
M, T, W, Th, F, Sa, Su: 5:00PM – 10:00PM