So... it's been a while (ahem, understatement of the year) but for my first post in a little over 6 months, I'd like to review another Korean restaurant, Yedang Korean BBQ! I suppose the Korean BBQ craze has died down already, which doesn't mean that it's no longer popular, but rather that it's become so common that it's now a mainstream cuisine in the Philippines. Which is of course, a wonderful thing, because that means Korean BBQ is here to stay! :)
(To explain the title of this post, Hallyu or "Korean Wave" is a term used in Korea to describe the sudden popularity of Korean culture internationally, whether it be Korean food, music, dramas, etc.)
Yedang is located in one of the more densely Korean-populated areas of Metro Manila, Ortigas. It's a popular Korean restaurant, and it's seriously packed! We went there around lunchtime on a weekend, and it was full. Unlike other Korean restos that aren't as well-known, which are usually filled with Korean nationals, Yedang had a mix of both locals and foreigners, a fact that only attests to its popularity. The restaurant is also wide and spacious, making it great for large groups.
(I actually visited Yedang about a year or so ago (this post is super delayed) so I have no idea what it's like now, but I certainly hope they're still around.)
|(I apologize for the slightly creepy photos. Had to blur out faces for privacy purposes, you see. I mean, how would you feel if I suddenly posted your photos on this blog when you don't even know who I am?)|
Ah of course, the banchan. We were served seven different types, with some garlic baby potatoes, stir-fried greens (may have been spinach?), kimchi (radish and cabbage), spicy fish cakes and tofu, and some sweet fried dilis (Filipino anchovies).
And we were also given lettuce, perilla (wild sesame leaves with a slightly spicy, nutty flavor), some ssamjang (fermented soybean paste with sesame oil and garlic) and raw garlic.
Now, if you know anything about Korean BBQ, then you should know what's coming next!
That's right! Grilled meat! :D We had two types, beef and chicken galbi.
The beef galbi was excellent! I was also pleasantly surprised as it was the first time I had it. The waitress brought this huge plate of strips of beef short ribs, with the end of it still attached to the bone. She then proceeded to grill it in front of us...
Once the meat was cooked halfway, she then grabbed a large pair of scissors and snipped it away into little bite-sized pieces of beefy goodness.
And as any self-respecting Korean BBQ lover should do, we wrapped the meat in the veggies along with some garlic and ssamjang and munched away. And it was really good. The meat was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and other yummy things, blending together to enhance the beefy flavor.
Seeing as the waitress was the one to cook the meat, there was really no risk of us overcooking the meat and turning it dry and tough. Instead, it was perfect and tender, and it was all gone in a few seconds. (We also ate the bones... well, the meat around the bones. It's the absolute best part, totally worth looking like an idiot while gnawing at the bone. Except maybe when you're on a date, then it's probably not a good idea.)
Yedang uses charcoal grills, unlike other Korean BBQ places which use gas burners. Probably explains why their BBQ is so delicious!
Our next dish was chicken galbi. Despite also being galbi, this was another incarnation of it because the sweet marinade (which was similar) this time enhanced the chicken-y taste, having a completely different effect. The chicken is incredibly juicy and tender, and the sweet/smoky flavor was fantastic. Again, the best parts are those around the bone! (Your date may forgive you for gnawing on these bones, as they are smaller and less unappealing.)
Other things we had: japchae, stir fried glass noodles made from sweet potato flour, one of Korea's representative dishes. It had various toppings like veggies, beef, egg, etc. The noodles are similar to sotanghon, but the seasoning was different in that it was sweet and tasted distinctly of sesame oil. It was delicious and very flavorful.
This one should be a more alien dish to most people: bibim naengmyeon or mixed cold noodles. As you may have surmised from the name, and also the photo, this is a similar dish to bibimbap (mixed rice), with the spicy gochujang (red pepper sauce), egg (boiled in this case, rather than sunny-side-up), meat, and various other toppings mixed together, but instead of rice, the dish uses buckwheat noodles (similar to Japanese soba). What's especially unique about the dish is that it's served cold, so somehow, the spiciness of the sauce is now light and refreshing, a bit similar to the effect of kimchi. In Korea, this dish is often served in the summer to beat the heat.
To round out the delicious meal, we were also given slices of sweet pineapple on the house. (I still do not know why Korean restaurants give out free pineapple. I mean, why pineapple, of all the fruits? As far as I know, they are not native to Korea. If anybody could enlighten me, I would be extremely grateful.)
For newcomers to Korean cuisine, Yedang is a perfect start. Menus have English translations (and are not just romanizations of Korean words, like some other Korean restaurants), while staff are friendly and accommodating and will recommend dishes that you'll probably like (and will also grill the meat for you, which is the most important part). Prices are a little steep, but all in all, a great experience; if you're a "Koreaphile" or completely new to everything Korean, be sure to give it a try!
Yedang Korean BBQ Restaurant
Meralco Ave., Ortigas
Tel No.: 636-1461