Goryeo Korean Dining
Restaurant Promenade, U/GF Okada Manila, New Seaside Drive, Parañaque City
Contact: 555-5799 (Reservations are recommended)
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) It’s fitting that Goryeo Korean Dining is named after one of the most powerful dynasties in Korea’s history. You can’t help but feel like royalty as you step inside the spacious dining area, heavy on warm hues and gold-accented décor, with an eye-catching wall of hangul (or the Korean alphabet). You can even take your dining experience a notch higher and opt for a private room, sneakily hidden behind doors that blend in with the walls along the hallway.
But beyond luxe interiors, Goryeo also prides itself in serving Korean barbecue the traditional way—or at least, how Korean chef Hojin Lee knows it to be back in his homeland. “We try to keep the original taste of Korean food,” shares Senior Supervisor Win Choi. “We don’t try to add any extra condiments to make it more delicious or to adapt to foreigners’ tastes.”
Dwaejigogi Kimchi Jjigae
It’s rare to find restaurants who stick to their guns this way, but it does result in distinct flavors you won’t easily find anywhere else. The Dwaejigogi Kimchi Jjigae (P450) or pork and kimchi stew isn’t intensely sour, but has, rather, a delicately balanced profile of sour and spicy. You’ll be glad it’s heavy on the pork chunks too, so tender you could easily slice through them using chopsticks.
Their Haem Pajeon (P600) or seafood pancake is also quite unique—for one, it is incredibly thicker than what you'd normally expect. “When I was working in Japan, I found that the Japanese don't enjoy thin pancakes,” shares Chef Hojin. “So I started making thicker pancakes, similar to okonomiyaki (a type of Japanese pancake).” While it’s heftier than usual, it’s made and seasoned the way it should be: Less wheat flour, more vegetables and seafood. The result has a wonderful texture that alternates from crunchy to deliciously chewy, with a snappy bite from fresh seafood. It’s not heavy on the eggy flavor too, so the rest of the tasty ingredients shine through.
A heartier dish is the Galbi Jim (P1,200) or beef stew made with prime rib. With tender beef chunks and thick-cut potatoes and carrots swimming in a rich sweet-savory sauce, this will make you crave a bowl of rice.
But of course, there’s no stealing attention from the real star of the show: the Korean barbecue. Goryeo offers four different meat sets for you to choose from. The real treat is the Sogogi Modeumgui (P3,500) or assorted beef set with prime rib and brisket. Goryeo doesn’t skimp on the vegetables you can wrap with your grilled beef, offering trumpet mushrooms, whole cloves of garlic (don’t hold back with stuffing these in your wrap!), cherry tomatoes, sliced eggplants, and even a fresh salad of shredded lettuce and red cabbage. They also offer different types of lettuce for you to wrap your beef in—you’ll get an exciting gastronomic experience experimenting with a crisper romaine or a peppery arugula for your wrap. Or you could also just savor the tender slightly-fatty grilled beef strips by itself, too.
Chef Hojin doesn’t add elaborate twists to his dishes, staying true instead to how he knows Korean food to be. The result may not be incredibly out-of-this-world, but they stand out on what matters: quality and deliciousness.
Photos by Dairy Darilag