Chung Mi Rae

When you’re craving for Korean food and you’re around the busy streets of Quezon City, there’s already a handful of restaurants offering you delicacies of such. But only a few would know that just along Scout Tuason corner Timog Avenue stands Chung Mi Rae.

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We don’t know really know the history of this place but we’ve been passing by it for quite a while now and didn’t even know that this is an authentic Korean establishment until we’ve read it in 2015 Eat Out Now book.

Anyway, one night just after hiiting (yes, spelled with a double “i” just because we do HIIT!) we’ve finally decided to dine out in that small place – minimalist with just enough tables to fill the space and just enough staff to serve you (who disappears most often than not in their secret hideaway..haha kidding!). To satisfy our empty tummies with just the right amount of food, we ordered Doengjang Chige and Samgyupsal.

Doengjang Chige is a good choice if you’re a sucker for spicy soup dishes. It is a fermented bean soup topped with cucumber, tofu, onion leeks, onions and vegetables served with steamed rice. Serving is just enough for two and enough to warm up our tummies for a bigger dish. What’s good about it is you could inform the waiter to have the spiciness mellowed down to the level you want. A definite must try when dining in.

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Banchans (side dish) serving in this restaurant is bigger compared to other Korean restaurants we’ve been to. 8 banchans, to be exact, was served on our table to kick off these grilled thin strips of bacon; of which included: Jelly with soy chili and sesame, spicy potatoes, seaweeds, kimchi, anchovies, fish cake, squid, and radish – all having this hint of spiciness in them. Aside from having to munch on these while waiting for your order, you can also use it to add flavor to your Samgyupsal. Not enough? You can actually ask for a refill — for free. Something that we love about these Korean restaurants. 😀

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As for our main dish, we ordered Samgyupsal. With a big bowl of fresh lettuce on the side, you can have the meat and the banchans wrapped with it dipped in sesame oil with salt and pepper or the Ssamjang sauce to taste.

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What’s nice about these Korean restaurants is that you get to enjoy their food no matter how simple it may be. A spoonful of rice, a piece of meat, garlic and kimchi, wrapped in romaine lettuce can definitely tickle your taste buds. Plus you get to enjoy the whole wrapping thing.

All in all Chung Mi Rae was able to satisfy our craving, but it may not be one of our first go to place when we would want to have another Korean fix. Not because food wasn’t good, but maybe we were expecting something else. Something different maybe.


Chung Mi Rae is open until 10 pm and is located at Unit 6, 24k Mansion, Timog Sacred Heart, Quezon City
372 7200

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Coco Ichibanya

We Filipinos are so much of a food lover that our taste buds embrace whatever exquisite entrée enters our shores. Just a few months ago another famous restaurant opened in the newly built Estancia mall in Pasig city, Japan’s pride “Curry House Coco Ichibanya”.

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Coco Ichibanya had its first restaurant opened in the outskirts of Nagoya Japan January of 1978. Ever since then it has mushroomed branches to various places, a majority of which found in Asian countries with a total reaching out to 1,404 restaurants as of May 2015. It was January of 2013 when it was certified as the largest curry restaurant chain in the world by Guinness World Records. It has become popular for the variety of curry dishes it offered.

Read more about Coco Ichibanya here

Curry (/ˈkʌri/, plural curries) is a dish whose origins are in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. The common feature is the incorporation of complex combinations of spices or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chilies.

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What differs a Japanese curry from a Filipino curry? Japanese curry’s basic vegetables are onions, carrots and potatoes while Filipino curry’s are usually cooked with coconut milk.

So what is in Coco-Ichibanya?

The restaurant is unique in a way that it provide customers the freedom to customize their selections. Here are the steps you can use when you’re ordering.

Step 1 – Choose your rice size.

200g (-20 Php)  this is equivalent to 1 cup of rice 300g (Standard price)

400g (+40 Php) 500g (+80 Php)

600g (+120 Php)

Step 2 – Choose the level of spiciness of your curry.

Mild Standard

1 Medium Hot 2 Hot

3 Extra Hot 4 Super Hot

5 Crazy Hot

Step 3 – Choose your toppings or you can choose from some of their suggested pairings. Their choices vary from pork, beef, chicken, seafood and vegetables.

Step 4 (optional) – After the above selections, you may want to have it changed to a set meal which will include a choice of soup, mini salad, drink or dessert. Each choice would also have an additional amount with it: 2 choices (+80Php), 3 choices (+100Php), 4 choices (+130Php). Since we were starving for lunch but aren’t really that hungry from the great amount of food we ate the night before, we just opted to have two kinds of curry dish: Pork Cutlet and Vegetables Curry & Hamburger and Ripe Tomato Curry.

The Pork Cutlet and Vegetables Curry was one of their best-sellers. Unlike the unusual thin pork cutlets that are coated mostly with flour/breading, Coco Ichibanya’s the exact opposite. You’d be hyped with its thick meat which you can cut through easily, coated with just enough breading. The vegetables that came with it was very soft.

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The Hamburger and Ripe Tomato Curry was also delish! The burger patty’s flavour was just right, that it would also have been enough to eat just that even without anything on it. The ripe tomatoes that came with it were also superb that it added to the flavour of the patty, much more the awesome taste of the curry.

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Each meal costs at around 300 to 500 pesos per plate which is a bit costly. But even with that the taste has given justice of the price it offered. Will drop by the place again for the other dishes and probably try to upgrade to a set meal so we could try the soup and desserts.

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COCO ICHIBANYA PHILIPPINES

B-006, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave. Cor. Shaw Blvd, Pasig City

Facebook: CoCo Icibanyan PH

Instagram: cocoichibanyaPH

Email: cocoichibanyaph.customercare@gmail.com

Telephone: +632 696-1649

Website: http://www.ichibanya.co.jp/english/

Soon to Open:

G/F One Rockwell, West Tower, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati

Unit PB-105A & B, Connecticut, Arcade Bldg., Greenhills, San Juan

Shop 7 & 8, Parklane Burgos Park, BGC, Taguig

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Locavore Philippines

Locavore’s been a talk of the town lately and to silence the noise that deafens our curiosity we decided to have our first stop in one of Kapitolyo’s fine restaurants.

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Finding the place was not that hard for us since we know where Brixton Street is. Little did we know that the studio where we had dance sessions then was the exact place where the restaurant was situated.

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We managed to arrive at the area at around 6 in the evening and even at that time, parking was almost full and people are already starting to fill up the place. Our advice is that if you want to have the best seats in the house, you have to be there before 6pm or have a table reserved for you, or if you would rather wait to be seated, then that’s fine too. Having arrived at the place we noticed that there are actually areas you can choose from:

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1. At the rightmost area is the air-conditioned part where we think most of the reservations are provided for which is also where the open kitchen is located with a modern-industrial feel interior design.

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2. Another is at their al fresco dining area, one at the middle and the other at the leftmost area where it is a little elevated. That area actually covers long tables which we’re not sure what the area’s purpose is for, but could be for huge groups ready to exhaust their voices out. We were lucky we found a spot just beside the glass wall which, voila, beamed us with the meaning of LOCAVORE – “people eating locally grown food”, thus saying our OOOHHS, and AAAAHHS and proceeded with ordering our chosen viands.

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We started off with the ordinary Pampagana at Ensalada dish, Singkamas, Manga at Bagoong. The singkamas and mangga on sticks were placed separately in two glass bottles – along with it came three stainless cups of sawsawan; Bagoong Alamang, Patis, and Asukal Chili Smoked Rock Salt Pickled Organic Cucumber and Onion.

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Singkamas with bagoong alamang
Singkamas with bagoong alamang
Mangga with bagoong alamang and chili salt
Mangga with bagoong alamang and chili salt

For our ulam we decided to try out one of their favourite dish, the Sizzling Sinigang, and the usual Dinuguang Lechon.

Sizzling Sinigang is cooked with tender beef short ribs, sautéed French beans, cherry tomatoes, garlic confit and onions, topped with their special sampalok (tamarind) gravy.

Sizzling Sinigang
Sizzling Sinigang

In other restaurants, Sinigang is almost often our usual order, so trying out this deconstructed Sizzling Sinigang is critical for us. The sampalok gravy, which though unexpected is an awesome idea to substitute the soup with, retained the sourness of the dish which is great since we’re talking about Sinigang here. The beef was very tender that it was really a breeze biting through it. The French beans were crisp enough adding flavour to the viand as well as the cherry tomatoes but left the garlic confit and onions untouched since we’re not really a fan of it. We noticed too that we didn’t have the Calamansi and chili sidings that were usually served alongside it which they may have forgotten. One thing that retained in our palates though is the taste of heavy butter – could be because they did cook it in heavy butter?

Dinuguang Lechon is cooked with Lechon Belly, bokchoy, garlic confit, cherry tomatoes and dinuguan sauce. The Lechon belly was cooked nicely since it was easy to chew at. We just felt that it could have been much better if there was enough Lechon skin on the plate. 😉 Bokchoy in the dish is new for us since we’re not used to seeing dinuguan with vegetables, but it surprisingly did complement the dish. We wouldn’t include this in our favourites but would still recommend it for people who would want to try it out. This might not be okay for those with hypertension. 😀

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Dinuguang Lechon

Oh, don’t forget to order the viands with rice which they also offer in choices: Steamed organic white or brown rice, and Roasted garlic white or brown rice. Better be specific on telling the servers if it’s steamed or roasted garlic so as to avoid confusion.

To cap off our heavy meals we decided to order Bicho Bicho as our Panghimagas. This was served fried, but still soft with filling inside (banana as mentioned by the waiter but was kind of doubtful about it) coated with desiccated coconut, banana slices on the side with coco jam and tablea sauce as its dip. The menu says it comes with whipped cream but didn’t have any on our serving which they probably forgot again. Taste wise, the sweetness of the coco jam and tablea complemented the bicho-bicho. It wasn’t that sweet nor too bitter. It was nice that they added banana to it to rid off the taste of the previous food that we had.

Bicho-Bicho with Coco Jam, Tablea dip and Banana slices
Bicho-Bicho with Coco Jam, Tablea dip and Banana slices

Overall Locavore proved well its mystery on why people are going out their way just to try out their Filipino dishes with a twist. Not only have they offered delicious, authentic dishes but would give them a thumbs up as well for the fast serving time and great service of the staff. It’s nice to know that people are still craving for what our local ingredients are able to provide to satisfy our daily craving tummies. Will definitely go back to try out the other dishes.

To know more about Locavore, you can visit their website at Locavore Philippines.

*** Locavore is open from Mondays to Sundays: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM for lunch and 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM for dinner. It is located in #10 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For reservations or inquiries, you may contact 632.6350 or 0917.6218909.

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