Hanguk Barbeque House: Sweet Gone Sour

Hanguk BBQ House

We first planned to drive with friends to Vigan for a  food trip at this Korean restaurant I saw on Facebook a few months back. Friends cancelled and the weather was not too nice, yet the mister and I proceeded. Though famished and tired from a camping trip, he wanted couple time for us. Sweet, (thanks really)!

So we found Hanguk Korean Barbecue House not too far from the city entrance. Spotted some neighbors in Laoag inside. Adding to a seeming authenticity, Korean foodstuff like ice pops, biscuits and beverages were on one corner. With steep prices (a lot steeper than here, btw, one of the most read post on this blog), I thought food must be fantastic.

Soup arrived first. Enhanced instant noodles or so it looked like.

There are professional bloggers who actually get invited for food tasting and are expected to write a feature, some lucky ones food blog as a job, and then there are those who want to buy their food for the credibility factor (but even some chefs admit that taste is subjective), while I like paying for my own exclusive experience and the freedom of writing a review. On occasion, the food turns completely lamentable, I forego sharing the entire experience ‘coz honestly it is taxing to be harsh. But then there’s more than the questionable soup, and I want to play judge in Chopped.

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We got two kinds of barbecue, pork belly and beef. The pork was okay, but I didn’t enjoy the idea that someone cuts your barbecue with a scissors in front of you. And the beef — you don’t serve any meat that’s as durable as expensive flipflops, so much so if you are a barbecue restaurant. One doesn’t even have to be an authentic chef (whether Korean or not) to be able to spot nice meat. Sorry for being graphic, but the hubby wanted me to take photos of his chewed on beef. I told the waitress twice, but she was stone deaf. While I was yapping, he was trying to keep his cool and picked up the tab. Feeling shortchanged, I initially wanted to buy ice cream cake for dessert, but totally lost the appetite for more. As we left Hanguk, the hubby was sneezing incessantly. You know he’s mad if he does that.

More than a thousand pesos for a ripoff and one and a half hours going and two and a half hours going back home amid heavy rain, and through sneeze-provoking road repairs, makangngeg ka manen, girl.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

Thai Lunch at Jatujak

Jatujak

I’ve been living out of a suitcase lately. I’m also getting used to commuting the fussy streets of Manila. I managed to bond briefly with my sisters-in-law. We had lunch at Jatujak which has softly opened in SM San Lazaro. The mall is a nice spot if eating out is your thing.

Jatujak Thai restaurant

If I’m not mistaken, Jatujak, named after Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weeekend Market, opened first at the SM Mall of Asia. The staff are mostly Ilocanos, so it felt kinda like home. Even the owner, Alfonso Purugganan, says the manager, has roots in Ilocos.

We ordered mostly classic Thai food like tom yum soup with mixed seafood, pad Thai and bagoong rice with semi-ripe mangoes, the sampler appetizer, consisting of fresh vegetarian rolls, shrimp cakes and pork springrolls with different sweet and sour sauces, and Thai style grilled bacon belly. Thai is one cuisine that sends my salivary glands into an overdrive. To start with, Jatujak’s tom yum soup was very good. The blend had the zesty balance of sour, sweetish and aromatic flavors, really soothing, especially if it’s your first meal in the day. The soup was tasty, with a milky quality to it, but not excessively intense. Like I mentioned before, anything with lemon grass is happiness.

Tom Yum SoupFresh Vegetarian-Shrimp Cake-Pork SpringrollPad Thai

The appetizers were average, but the shrimp cakes were crispy outside and nice and tasty inside, and the dips and sauces (like plum and tamarind) were obviously homemade, full-flavored, and make a wonderful match to fried food..My sister-in law’s favorite, grilled bacon belly with an excellent garlic-vinegar dip, was a find. It was tender and spicy in an appetizing way (one order is rather bitin for three). In the end, I also had pad Thai (with rice noodles, ground peanuts and lots of bean sprouts), which was worth another wait.I like noodles more than I like rice, but then the bagoong rice, mildly flavored with fish sauce, was also good. The lunch was enjoyable, nothing negative to say. The ambiance is sedately warm, prices are not that expensive and service was efficient.

Oh, how can I remember Thai coffee only now?

Bagoong RiceThai Style Grilled Bacon BellyJatujak SM San Lazaro

Jatujak Unit 116 Upper Ground Floor, SM City San Lazaro, Sta. Cruz, Manila Tel. No.: 711 5271

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015