When we visited Seoul and Daejeon in South Korea some years back, we explored the wet markets.
What caught our attention were the mounds of fermented vegetables and pickled cabbage called “kimchi, which has taken Philippine foodies by storm.
Kimchi is an ever-present side dish in every Korean meal. It is spelled “Kimchee” in one Korean cookbook.
But what is it, really?
The introduction of red peppers to Korea from Japan, between the 17th and 18th centuries, led to the making of kimchi. It became a traditional Korean dish.
Kimchi is pungent, fermented or pickled Japanese cabbage seasoned with lots of hot peppers, served in every meal, with whatever is on the table (soup, meat, etc.). It takes courage to eat kimchi because it is very, very spicy.
But Korean food is more than kimchi. We now dine on bulgogi, bibimbap and chapchae.
In any Korean meal, it will be noted that the prevalent flavor is sweet.
Hardly any oil is used as food is mostly grilled, thus Korean food is healthy.
Sariwon Korean BBQ restaurant
7th Ave./ 29th St. Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig City; tel. 6213205, 0915-9009272
This is a franchise. The original restaurant is nearly 80 years old. It was established in 1938 by Bun-im Koo in North Korea.
She eventually moved to Seoul, South Korea, where her barbecue gained international acclaim.
Dining area—Always crowded with fanciers of Korean barbecue. Tables are mostly for six. The place is smokeless,
even if most food items are grilled in the unusual ceramic, charcoal-fed stoves.
Kitchen—Food comes fast from the kitchen.
Staff—Friendly and attentive
Suggested orders—It should be noted that, save for kimchi, Korean food’s prevalent flavor is sweet. This is because, as Ms Koo started long ago, the marinade used, specially for the bulgogi, is a juice blend of at least 12 vegetables and fruits—usually apple, pear and pineapple, mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, celery and wine.
At Sariwon, diners are given package meals starting at P2,999 (for four persons). This makes it much easier to order, because each combination includes the specialties: bulgogi; galbi jim (either beef or chicken, stewed in flavorful broth and spices); chapchae (potato noodles with meat and vegetables garnished with strips of scrambled eggs); and our favorite bibimbap (a dish of rice topped with savory meat and vegetables).
Each dish is presented like a work of art—pretty, temptingly attractive. Dessert is offered, and tea should wash down the food quickly.
Government and service charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.