|Grilled beef with bean paste and sesame oil with salt and pepper|
My friend and I were bored one day and decided on a whim to grab some Korean food in the Ortigas area. We wandered around for a bit and found ourselves in a tiny building where various Korean enterprises were crammed together.
We ended up at Chambyuru, a small restaurant that was more like a living room than an actual Korean restaurant. It was lunchtime, yet the place was quite bare. There was a loud group of Korean men at another table enjoying their steaming pot of jigae (spicy Korean stew) and throughout our meal, lots of other Koreans streamed in and out of the store.
One of my favorite parts about eating in a Korean restaurant is the complementary banchan, or small side dishes that are meant to be eaten with rice, like kimchi (pickled vegetables, usually cabbage) and various other vegetables and meats. Chambyuru certainly did not disappoint, serving 8 different banchan, ranging from kimchi to stir-fried fish cake and spicy eggplants (which were both great).
We were also given a steamed egg dish that was incredibly soft and fluffy, although slightly too spicy.
For our actual order, we had the most basic requirement of Korean meals (at least, where I'm concerned): grilled meat. We ordered thin slices of beef which the waitress cooked up beside our table. Other restaurants would let the customers grill their own meat (and we had our own grill on our table), but since I'm terrible at it, I just enjoyed myself without bothering with all that smoke and grease.
The meat was extremely good, especially wrapped in some vegetables with some rice, bean paste, and seasoned spring onions, the way it was meant to be eaten.
Next was odeng (fish cake) soup, which was delicious but extremely spicy for our non-Korean tastebuds. I can totally see how this would be appreciated in cold Korean weather though, seeing as it warmed us right up.
We also ordered some handmade dumplings, filled with egg, vegetables, and thin rice noodles. According to the waitress, these were freshly made by the owner of the restaurant, and just as she said, they were indeed delicious. As one of the purely non-spicy food on the table, these quickly disappeared, being a quick relief to our burning tongues as we ate the odeng soup.
Chambyuru Korean Restaurant
Amber Square, Escriva Drive, Ortigas