Where to eat in Laguna: Seoul Kitchen

Sunday, September 29, 2013

UP Los Banos (UPLB) is a melting pot of many nationalities and home to many cuisines. Along Grove, Lopez Ave. alone, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, American, and of course Filipino food are offered. Grove, Lopez Avenue is a street near UPLB lined with establishments to cater to students and residents alike. Lately, most of the shops along the street offer milk tea to cater to the students' caffeine need. ^^;;

Earlier this year, Seoul Kitchen, a Korean restaurant, was built as part of a dormitory in FO Santos. The restaurant is inspired by the look of most restaurants and cafes in Korea - colorful (pastel colors mostly), quirky, and cute. The look of the restaurant also reflects their quirky logo, which is applied within the store:


My sister and I have been here twice and so far we were satisfied with the food although it's quite expensive. 

The restaurant offers a few items in their menu, being launched just earlier this year. They only have a couple of appetizers, including kimbap (similar to maki), japchae, mandu (dumpling resembling gyoza), the never-dying ramyun, and cheese lappoki (similar to ddeokbokki recipe I posted before). For main meals, there are only seven items where you can pick from. Here's their menu (just click on the photo to enlarge it):

Recently they added pasta dishes to their menu with a Korean twist. We tried the Itaewon kimchi pasta (red sauce) and red chili carbonara (white sauce). 

The Itaewon kimchi pasta is topped with sesame seeds and has chopped kimchi and maybe some gochujang (red pepper sauce) or bulgogi sauce (?). Although it has plenty of kimchi, the pasta is not sour at all, it has that sweet taste that later tastes spicy from the kimchi. The pasta has plenty of bacon too, to add protein to the dish.

Not sure why it's named after a neighborhood in South Korea, Itaewon, which apparently is a foreigner and expat-friendly place lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants. Think Pampanga in Korea... 

My sister ordered the red chili carbonara, which, at first look seems intimidating. I can't imagine cream + milk mixed with chili or any spice. But when we tried it, it's really yummy! It has that generic carbonara sauce with cream and bacon. The chili helped to balance the flavor and get rid of the 'umay' factor. Yum!

If you don't order drinks, you'll be served filtered water in this bottle (hi sister):


We also tried their Korean dishes - bibimbap and pork bulgogi. Both were served with kimchi. Their bibimbap had steamed kangkong (I think haha), mung bean sprouts, julienned carrots and cucumber, and topped with a perfectly fried egg. The rice used is the Korean sticky rice. The gochujang was served aside. We tried making bibimbap before but the taste was different as we didn't use Korean rice. My sister really loved this dish.

Here's my pork bulgogi, which presentation disappointed me a bit. Being in a Korean restaurant, I would've wanted the rice to be served in a bowl with the pork bulgogi in a separate container. The bulgogi tasted great though, the spiciness not burning the tongue and instead later making its presence felt through the heat on my ears. The kimchi added the heat but did not overwhelm the taste of the bulgogi.

Each dish was served with their quirky utensils. Instructions for bibimbap was also beneath the glass on our table.

Overall, Seoul Kitchen satisfied our Korean food craving. The pasta dishes were really yummy. The only problem is the price, so we would dine there once in every two months, maybe. If you want to taste something other than the usual Filipino and American fare, go to Seoul Kitchen in Los Banos!

10355 Dancel Dormitory, FO Santos, Batong Malake
Los Banos 4030

Google Maphttp://goo.gl/NGipZp

For more info:

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