Reuniting with very close friends would mean dining in Korean restaurants. It probably started with memories we all cherish back in college so it was hard to resist the cravings for Korean dishes. In our search for a place to eat Bude Chige - a hotpot of sausages, tofu, SPAM, Shin-Ramyeon noodles and vegetables, we've all decided to try Po Suk Jung Korean BBQ Restaurant in Oranbo Drive, Pasig last Wednesday night.
Names and their stories. Bude Chige as what our former Korean students have told us all is a historical dish that was coined after the US Service Marines throw straps of SPAM and other sausages in the military bases which the native Koreans took and concocted with their famous Shin-Ramyeon Noodles. It became a memorable dish signifying the time of depression in Korea and it had become a hit to all the foodies because of the tasty and delicious mix in the stew.
We have always loved the dish since we started eating them in Korean homes back in college. We were toying on the idea that Bude Chige was a mixture of all the goodness of history which characterizes our friendship through the years because we are all different people from different worlds. The name of the restaurant, Po Suk Jung was also as historical as the experience because it was a memorable name that signified a particular Korean historical moment during the 17th century.
Po Suk Jung Restaurant located at Oranbo Drive had been operating for five years. The facade of the garden with the usual Korean-style cross sitting tables with hotpot equipment and the smell of BBQ made my stomach communicate my hunger for Korean food once again. Then they started serving the usual Banchan (side dishes) before serving the main dishes we ordered. Cups of sauteed bean sprouts, sweet baby potatoes, pickled green peppers, strips of fish cakes, kimchi, pickled vegetables, pickled raddish were served and we started ordering our favorite, Sam Gyup Sal (P200)- local pork belly and Bude Chige (P900) - hot and spicy stew with pork, ham, sausage, beef patties, rice cakes, mushroom, vegetables and Korean noodles.
A usual serving of the strings of onion leaves with fermented bean paste sauce, fresh lettuce leaves, garlic and sesame oil with salt and pepper came with the Sam Gyup Sal. We were all surprised being served with a hot steamed egg and Dwen Jang Chige - Korean style bean-paste soup. When the Korean owner approached, he explained that an order of the Bude Chige or US angus beef of a purchase more than a P1K, will be given those free side dishes.
I was really happy at the freebies and the presentation of the onion leaves which most Korean restaurants I've been to never did. It reminded me of the Korean dining experiences we had in the 90s and it brought too many issues we have always loved to laugh about in college.
Simon, Arpee and I taught our long time friend Fr. Mickley how to enjoy the Sam Gyup Sal. First, get a piece of the lettuce. Grab a piece of the grilled pork belly and garlic to put in lettuce. Dip the pork in sesame oil with salt and pepper. Get some fermented bean paste. Then put some of the onion leaves and other choices of Ban-Chan. Finally, wrap the whole thing and enjoy.
We all showed off the pleasure of wrapping all the goodness we all enjoy and explained to him how different it is using Korean-style compared to the Filipinos' ways. It isn't like the Filipinos way where everything will be served in a dish personally as most of them are used to grabbing portions with their chopsticks (since we Pinoys prefer for dishes to be served). I remembered how it wasn't so rude to stand up and grab with your chopsticks anything in the table.
Koreans love hotpot dishes and variety of sides. A normal meal would be five to six side dishes to go with the main dish and the history had taught them the royal families were served more than 30 side dishes to enjoy before the main entree so it wouldn't be surprising to be excited about dining the Korean-style.
We were so happy about the usual gags, the freebies and the side dishes and we were about to pay the surprisingly cheap bill of P1,500 (P900 Bude Chige +P400 for two orders of Sam Gyup Sal) when the waiter served another freebie-a bowl of fresh watermelon slices on ice. They said it was a complimentary dessert served for customers who dine at Po Suk Jung Korean BBQ Restaurant.
It was a memorable reunion of passion for food and friendship I'd always cherish. It's always the mix and the variety that makes everything truly memorable.
Po Suk Jung Korean BBQ Restaurant is located at 100 Oranbo Drive, Brgy. Oranbo, Pasig City (beside Oranbo Brgy Hall near Valle Verde Club). Open from 10am to 11pm daily. For reservations, delivery and inquiries, please call 634-2010 or 0917-5268989.