When I was a kid, any new foreign cuisine that I had tasted good—Italian pizza in the form of 3M pizza along Timog Avenue, then Matsusaka Garden for Japanese in Cubao, Kowloon along West Avenue and a few others for Chinese.
After a decade or so, that once good 3M pizza was dethroned by Italian Village and D’ Marks, and so were the others.
The opening of many international hotel chains meant the arrival of foreign chefs. Many of these chefs saw the opportunity to cater to a food-loving society and chose to set up thriving businesses.
Despite the influx, I have yet to find an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with delicious pho and its veggie-wrapped dishes, and many Greek appetizers and entrees. I anticipate this to change soon. Anyone who can bring in an authentic Vietnamese pho will certainly rake it in.
Another source of foreign cuisine is the entry of many Asians to study English. In the early ’80s, there was only a handful of Korean restaurants in Makati.
Today, Koreans are all over, from Baguio, Angeles, Makati, Quezon City to Paranaque, to name a few. Because of this, more and more Korean dining places are sprouting up.
What a blessing to us food lovers for this became another exposure to even more authentic-tasting Korean cuisine.
In Vancouver one Christmas, I won vouchers for a meal in a fine-dining Korean restaurant in Coquitlam. What a revelation. The cuisine we tried was Korean but many of the dishes had a lot of Chinese influences. Certain dishes reminded me of sweet and sour pork, Yang Chow fried rice and a few others.
One of my sources of where to eat is my sister Nina, the editor of what I consider the best food magazine, Appetite. Because of her work, she gets to dine in many new places.
Her tip on a good Korean barbecue place is one near Metrowalk, Ye Dang. I have wanted to dine here many times. I pass here almost every day after playing badminton at Valle Country Club. But I worry about looking pathetic dining solo. I picture myself with a violinist playing behind me. Kawawa!
But last Friday, my foodie group decided to eat out and I was able to con them to try Ye Dang! What a winner.
I didn’t want to order the usual chapchae potato noodles or the beef stew. But someone else ordered them anyway. They were also quite good and a notch higher than what I’ve tried at Kimchi.
Step by step
What I had which I really enjoyed were the grilled and marinated beef and chicken. I suggest you get the boneless beef strips. These were cooked in front of us and served with a side dish of lettuce, sesame leaves, spicy red sauce, fresh sliced garlic and sesame oil.
To eat, you put a sesame leaf on top of the larger lettuce leaf, followed by a slice of grilled beef or chicken. You then dab a bit of hot sauce which is not that spicy, add a slice of freshly sliced garlic, fold it up and dip in sesame oil. Yummy!
Another dish I found interesting was the spicy cold noodles. Just writing about it makes me crave for it. I will be back. I also love seafood pancake in other Korean places. They didn’t have it here. Sayang.
I look forward to discovering more authentic foreign cuisines. I hope some day all that are on my top list will be dethroned. That should benefit all of us Filipino foodies.
Ye Dang is at 88 Meralco Ave., Pasig City. Call 6361461 and 0916-6713830.