Your authentic beef noodle house at the center of Banawe
Tag: where to eat
For the past 8 years, there has been an influx of Korean tourists, and immigrants to the Philippines. Being a country that is known for our English Speaking skills there have been several ESL(English as a Second Language) centers established in different cities and towns all over the Philippines.
Eventually, these Koreans would move to the country due to the good climate, good people, and cheap standard of living. As with any citizen of the world, they bring their own culture, food, and language to our country. Two of the most popular things that have won the hearts of the local Filipino is their drama series and their beloved Korean fried chicken.
What is the difference of Korean fried chicken?
The main difference of American-style fried chicken and Korean style fried chicken is the crust. The American Style fried chicken relies on a think well-seasoned crust that is dipped into a batter of buttermilk, that is evenly browned, just like KFC.
For Korean-style fried chicken, they use an Asian frying technique that renders out the fat in the skin, transforming it into a thin, crackly and almost transparent crust. The chicken is unseasoned, barely dredged in very fine flour and then dipped in a thin batter before going into the fryer. The oil temperature is a relatively low 350 degrees, and the chicken is cooked in two separate stages.
Koreans cook their chicken is two stages:
They lightly flour the chicken then dip into the fryer in low heat at 350 degrees. After 10 minutes, the chicken is removed from the oil, shaken vigorously then allowed to cool for 2 minutes. This slows the cooking process and helps in not burn the chicken skin.
They put back the chicken into the fryer, where the chicken is not smooth, and golden brown. It is then seasoned or lightly painted with a sweet or spicy Korean glaze. When done correctly, the sauce is absorbed adding flavor without making it soggy.
Koreans double fry their chicken to create that layer of crispiness and crustiness that the usual American buttermilk chicken usually has.
The first Korean Fried Chicken we had available here in Manila was Bonchon, Chicken and Beer, and Kyochon. Now, we have a new concept brought about by local celebrity Grace Lee.
Kko Koo: Home of the Seoul Chicken
The interior of the restaurant is very bright and vibrant, a mix of industrial chic, with a rustic wooden touch. They have very night ceilings and nice fixtures. Walls are partly grass, wood, and steel. They also have an area of the main dining area with polaroids with customer comments and feedback.
Once seated, you notice that they have quite an extensive menu compared to most Korean Fried Chicken restaurants. We opted to order the Chicken Cheese Fondue so that we can try their most popular combination. It comes with onion rings, flavored fries, boneless chicken and a cheese sauce.
Like any Korean restaurant, they served us 3 kinds of appetizers: Kimchi, Sweet daikon, and pickled daikon.
After ten minutes, we saw this overwhelming plate of cheese, chicken, fries, and onion rings. We opted to have spicy flavored french fries and the oh my garlic sauce on our boneless chicken. The presentation was very picturesque.
Since there are a lot of elements in this dish let’s break it down:
Boneless Chicken with Oh my Garlic sauce
The first thing I noticed was that the chicken was very soggy, the chicken pieces were drenched in the sweet garlic sauce. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste any garlic in the sauce. It seemed to be a sweet soy based sauce with a bit of sesame taste. The meat itself was bland. The sweet glaze overpowered the flavor of the chicken.
When dipped into the cheese sauce, it works in contrast to the chicken but still not really enhancing the flavor.
Spicy French Fries
I love flavored french fries, unfortunately, this was too much. The spicy powder tasted like spicy ramen power on top of the fries. Each fry was perfectly coated and covered with the powder. It was so overpowering, perhaps a different flavor would have been better. The cheese would make the taste milder.
The onion rings were thickly coated and cooked well. The thin strip of onion inside was forgettable. This part of the dish was very good with the cheese sauce.
Their cheese sauce is served in a bowl of bread. The bread was hard on the outside and inside, it served as more of a container rather than for consumption. The sauce is composed of Cheddar, Quickmelt, Parmesan and topped with Mozzarella. The different kinds of cheese were mild and a bit sharp. The combination of the different kinds of cheese was quite addicting. This was my favorite part of the entire dish.
The cheese sauce was very gooey and terribly addicting. I hoped that we could eat the bread with the cheese though. I kept trying to get part of the bread but it was hard as a rock.
Despite the Korean Fried Chicken hype we are currently experiencing in the country, I don’t think Kko Kko delivers in terms of value for money, and taste. When I bite into my fried chicken I want to hear the crunch and the bursting flavors that come from the meat and the skin. Even their sauce was too sweet for my liking and made the chicken skin soggy. It was a very decent attempt, however, to combine these different elements in a single dish. The best part of the dish was the lone cheese sauce, everything else was nothing special. Their core product is supposedly fried chicken and they shouldn’t be serving a mediocre dish. Everything is overwhelmingly tasty to a fault. Overly hyped by these local food sites that does’t even guarantee the value and taste of they are endorsing to us, consumers.
Kko Kko is like a finding an interesting looking drama, reading the synopsis and proceeding to binge watch only to find out in the first few episodes that it’s poorly written and boring. I don’t think I’ll be back, but I do hope they improve their menu offerings.
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Kko Kko: Home of the Seoul Chicken
Ground Floor, Market! Market!, Bonifacio Global City
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There are moments in life when you just want to have that MEAT fix. You want to consume copious amounts of tender, tasty, and soulful meat. The grease and the sauce dribbling down your chin as you reach for another bowl of rice. For me, that day was today.
In an early age, I have already loved Japanese Yakiniku, and the craving comes every now and then. I usually go to Urameshi-ya in Little Tokyo for my yakiniku craving but the line has been horrible the last few times I went, I can’t fathom waiting for 2 hours just to eat for 30 minutes. Luckily, we now have Tajimaya(originally from Chiba, Japan) in Alabang Town Center. To be honest, even if I grew up in the area it was a bit difficult to find. Now, don’t be fooled, it’s there, but it can be a challenge to find to someone in unfamiliar.
So what is Yakiniku?
The term Yakiniku means “grilled meats” in Japan. In every sense, it is cooking associated to grilling meat equivalent to the western barbecue. Some kinds of meat are enjoyed with the “tare” or dipping sauce.
How to find Tajimaya:
Go to the courtyard in Alabang Town Center where Coffee Bean Tea Leaf is, then head up to the second floor and head over to Gerry’s Grill(corner restaurant), once there enter the corridor heading towards the next wing, you’ll find Tajimaya in the end of the row.
As I find myself in front of the restaurant, I can’t help but feel this burning hunger inside of me, for that piece of meat.
Their EAT ALL YOU CAN PROMO comes with UNLIMITED Beef, Pork, Squid, Special Sausage, Squidroll, Shrimp, Salad, Sangyu, kimchi, Namuru, and white rice. There’s also bottomless ice tea but better to skip this to make more room for the beef.
Now that we’ve ordered the only thing left to do is to make the “tare” or dipping sauce. I love yakiniku and for me the best sauce has a generous portion of minced garlic and a dollop of spicy paste, then pour in your yakiniku sauce mix and adjust according to taste.
Here comes the beef. The thin slices of beef and pork are of excellent quality. Everything was fresh from the seafood to the meat.
I love the fact that they use a charcoal grill as oppose to a gas grill. You can never go wrong with that chargrilled taste that creates this rich, complex, sweet and savory compounds on the surface of the seared meat. My favorite thing to do is when the meat is at medium, I place it on the dipping sauce and put it back on the grill creating that layer of crust that seal the flavor of the meat.
When having Yakiniku, it’s best to cook the pieces of meat, one at a time, so that you always have them newly cooked. The feeling of anticipation building up, with every bite. The savory, searing of the meat that caramelizes the edges sealed with the dipping sauce. This kind of craving deeply seated within all of us on a cellular level only satiated by the kind of quality meat and precise sear that each of us secretly desires.
One thing that I like to do is when you place your newly cooked piece of meat on a bed of piping hot rice and the crust and juices of the meat are transferred into the rice, for an even tastier flavor. This got me eating 2 bowls of rice.
Insider tip: Skip the squid roll, pork, and sausage. Order the beef, chicken, shrimp, and squid.
One of the things that I found notable in Tajimaya was their excellent exhaust system, you don’t smell like charred meat, mixed with sweat when you go out as compared to the other barbecue places.
This underrated yakiniku restaurant is sure to satisfy your inner meat cravings. Everything was fresh and was of good quality. The service was also very good, they are very friendly and attentive to their customers. As of now, there are not a lot of people flocking towards this hidden yakiniku spot.
Veranda, SM Mall Of Asia, Main Mall, Bay Rd., Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
One Rockwell, Rockwell DrRockwell Center, Makati
Upper Ground Floor, AlabangTown Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Gone are the days when you’d crave to go to a club in Makati or Fort to hear heart stomping music, bump into sweaty bodies all cramped into a small space, people who thought they were having the time of their lives for a few hours, overdosing on overpriced drinks, poorly lit and ventilated areas. The next morning you’re struggling to get up because the night was hazy although fun. It leaves you feeling empty. There were no good value conversations that happened, not much sincere smiles and you end up tired with a vague recollection of last night’s shindig. Now I am in my early 30’s and I am trading that Wednesday ladies night to Sunday brunch or a quiet sit down on a Saturday night having thought provoking conversations. As human nature dictates we still need to socialize and interact.
In search for a decent hang out place we stumbled upon this cozy nook down south. We have a number of tapas bar already in Manila. We have Vask and Tomatito. But one joint caught our attention that serves authentic Pintxo aside from the usual Tapas. Bar Pintxos Tapas Y Mas provides the closest Pintxos experience in Manila. Just as you would enjoy in San Sebastian, Spain. Its location is still hidden, which adds to its appeal as a go-to Pintxos Tapas Bar in the metro. Pretty hard to find since it is not fronting to where foot traffic is. Full every day (closed on Mondays) this place serves nice tapas, Pintxos and always has some nice specials. You have to understand the concept of a Spanish tapas bar which is not a restaurant that serves full meals. As Filipinos, we expect filling meals that are meant to be shared. Don’t expect a good sit down family style serving.
The Spaniard’s game for a relax and chilled watering hole is strong. They serve good small plates paired with Sangrias or wines.
Difference between Pintxo and Tapas
Pintxo is a Basque word that literally means a “spike.” So, when the term “pintxo” is used in reference to food, we’re talking about skewered foods. For the record, “pintxo” is pronounced “peen-cho”. In the Basque country, they serve Pintxo which comes from the Spanish verb ‘pinchar’, which means ‘to pierce’. Pintxo’s are traditionally pierced with a cocktail stick attached to a piece of bread, however, since the food has evolved it’s less likely to be pierced nowadays.
Tapas, on the other hand, are savory finger foods using all sorts of ingredients from fish to vegetables to cured ham lynching from the ceilings as well.
This bar is intended for those who has a discriminating taste from the neighboring subdivisions who live within the area.
A well-curated selection of drink list. Well-priced Spanish wines and their signature beer, among other things.
The vibe is all about being on the south side of Manila. Expect a very laid back and relax atmosphere. Price are quite expensive as they are targeting certain niche in the market. Nevertheless, the quality and authenticity of its products are excellent and well curated. You’d go here if you want to take your girlfriend out on a nice date night or world want to take your parents for a nice pitcher of Sangria and you’re old enough to pay for the tab.
- Pintxos are priced per piece
- Don’t go here if you’re too hungry. Get some light snacks first elsewhere
- Prices are geared towards their niche target
- Location is pretty hard to find if you’re not from the area. They are on Waze though, but make sure to go behind the Don Gesu Building
- Restrooms are located outside the restaurant
- Ample parking space
- Bring extra cash
- and most of all – Wine, Dine and Enjoy!
Three extra rice CX rating for this place.
Bar Pinxtos y Tapas, Alabang
Address: Don Gesu building, Don Jesus Blvd, Cupang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Forget about Zubuchon, this underrated nook that sells Cebu style roast pig beats the knack out of your mainstream brands.