Philippine is one of the hives of Korean pop culture enthusiast in the world, so if you and your friends were a bunch of bees who crave for them, here is the list of some of the places where you could enjoy their foods and experience their colorful culture.
1.) SHP Bibimbab Cafe & Restaurant
This Cafe and Restaurant is located at 980 P. Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila, near the building of Saint Benilde in Vito Cruz. Just be very keen in looking at the side of every establishment because their logo is not that easy to find. We actually just passed by it the first time we went here, but thanks to my other friend who has four eyes.
The ambiance was really refreshing and it does really feel like you are in an authentic cute Korean cafe. They also have teddy bears that you can borrow for picture taking that also add up to the cuteness of the place.
For more information, you could visit their official facebook page.
2.) Seoul Galbi Restaurant
A MUST STOP! This restaurant is not as fancy as you could think, however, their foods were undeniably delicious. The meats were so tender, and even though it is a traditional Korean grilled restaurant, it still has the kick, of Filipino flavor.
This place is really good for those who want to drink soju (Korean wine) and have a bite of grilled pork skin. If you are a Korean drama addict, then you could just imagine the place were poor Korean actors have a drink at night in the small grilled restaurant on the street. Another plus point for this place is that their foods were cheap, and it was located at Poblacion, Makati.
3.) KPUB BBQ Restaurant
Now, this is a fancy Korean Restaurant bar that is really good for fangirls who seek Kpop hype. They have a big screen in front which plays different Korean pop songs. So you’ll jive with the groove while you eat. You could also see pictures of different Kpop group on the wall with their signatures, a sign that shows they already visited the place. And to finalize their concept, their waiters and waitresses were all dressed like a Kpop star.
This resto bar was even featured in one of the episodes of Pepito Manaloto in GMA 7, where Regine Velasquez Alcasid and Jessa Zaragoza were the main characters.
The foods were expensive. You need a minimum money of 800PHP, but it’s reasonable. The address of this place is 28th St. 5th Ave, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Feel free to visit their official website for more information.
4.) Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa and Sauna
Another ‘MUST GO’ and ‘MUST TRY’ for Korean lovers, since unlike the places listed above, this place offers a different kind of Korean experience. Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa and Sauna was the first authentic Korean Spa here in the Philippines and you could be lucky enough to find deals online that offers 50% discount.
The temperature of the rooms was tolerable, and you will not feel disgusting after you sweat so much. They have 4 saunas in the dry area, and 3 in the wet area. They have wide space for those who want to sleep, and every sauna has a different temperature from coolest to hottest.
In here you will get to try putting a towel on your head, having lockers with other guests, and wearing same shirts and shorts provided by them. Just don’t lose the key, or else they’ll cost you 700PHP. It is so Koreanish, you guys can relax and rest without having any smoke outside. This place is open 24 hours so this is really good if you want to seize the day without any stress.
Here is the address: 7232 Malugay St. Brgy. Bel Air, 1209 Makati City (inside Makati Golf club.) You could enjoy your stay here having a budget of 800PHP – 2000PHP for 12 hours.
WARNING: In wet sauna, you are advised to be naked or else the ahjummas (mothers, and old aunties) will be mad at you.
5.) Camera Cafe
Maybe a lot of you had already gone or you guys already knew about this small cafe at the famous Maginahawa street in Quezon City. And as the place said, this cafe is very popular. They have a lot to show especially the photographs all around their walls even in their rest room.
The concept was simple, it’s all about cameras and photos. So the cafe was indeed picture-worthy, especially to Instagram addicts. Their mugs were made up of lenses, and their coffees and frappes were beyond delicious. The smoothness and the sweetness had all gone right. It was a piece of art, if I may say. Everyone has different taste buds anyway.
I couldn’t say any further about this cafe, except that the downside was, the place was small. It was just a studio type room, and people sometimes don’t have any choice but to wait outside until some seats were already available.
I do suggest this place to those couples who really want to have an intimate one on one talk with their partners, or to those “dating” who wanted to level up their relation.
This interesting cafe was near at the college of St. Benilde along Vito Cruz. You just have to be really careful on looking at the side of Tapa King. From there you will see a stair that will lead you to “Noriter.”
So it was quite like a hidden cafe, and there was nothing much that I could say about the menu or the way they present their coffees and cakes because it was actually typical.
And I can say that SHP bibimbap and Noriter had similarities, which was the chairs and tables were arranged like a small open dining area with wooden floor and ceiling, just like when you watch a Korean novela where the casts were having a lunch in a small private room, but the difference was in Noriter and SHP bibimbap the small dining areas were open.
The ambiance was not new to me, however, what makes this cafe special was the writings everywhere. You can write anything anywhere over the woods except for the white walls, and you can also stay for as long as you want.
On my opinion it was really a wise move for them because imagine other cafes put boards where you can post sticky notes for the customers feedback and sometimes when the board was full of notes, you couldn’t put anything anymore even if you want to, see the difference?
7.) Dog Cafe
The cafe was actually serving milk teas, but obviously, as the name tells us, the special thing about the place was the dogs.
Upon entering the cafe, the room was actually divided into two areas. One was on the inside where you can play with the puppies and dogs, and the other one was on the outside where you can just have your milk teas while having a conversation with your friends, or if you don’t have friends then enjoy it alone.
Now if you plan to be inside and be with the pets, you don’t need to worry, because upon ordering you will see a card on their desk with the names and the breeds of the dogs. And though the inside was actually full of pets, the area was very clean. Thanks to their staff who always mops, but still, the downside was even if they clean it every time, the smell of the dogs still comes out, but it was totally tolerable.
The prices were also reasonable and cheap. For the entrance fee you have to pay 180 PHP, and as for their milk teas it plays around 80 PHP to 120 PHP.
8.) Cafe Seolwha
This place was located in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) 5th ave, you will see the place above McDonald.
The cafe was serving Korean desserts, and their specialty was “Bingsu.” It was a traditional Korean dessert which was served with shaved ice with milk and other toppings, it was sort of like our own “halo-halo,” but both have a big difference in taste and texture. The texture of their ice was really fine that it melts instantly in your mouth just like snow, and it was very milky. Unlike halo-halo, bingsu had few ingredients depending on the flavor or type that you will order. The cafe also serves sandwiches that also taste terrific.
One of the must-try sandwiches here was the honey-butter sandwich which was served with whipped cream in the middle drizzled with caramel syrup. It was very Korean since the stuffing was rice cake and was fully coated with “bokkeun konggaru” or roasted soybean powder.
The price was also right, 500 PHP was actually good for 3 to 4 people, and it will only cost you around 300 PHP for 2 people.
It is nice to go to different places with different cultures, but I am for a certain that even though Filipinos are a fan of many things, we still go back to our traditional ways.
So that was the list of some places in Metro Manila where you could enjoy and deluge yourself with Korean culture. If you find it near in your area, then why not call your friends and get ready to go!
AUTHOR: G. Jaeli