If I haven’t officially announced it yet, I guess now would be the best time.
I’m pregnant with a baby boy, and I am officially obsessed with samgyeupsal since the beginning of this journey.
I swear I’m not even kidding when I say that I’d regularly eat at unlimited korean bbq joints, at least once a week, since the start of my gestation that my son might come out smelling like kimchi. That said, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been around Tagaytay testing out different Korean restaurants and I am definitely qualified to say which ones are good, and which ones are not. And because I have so much passion for kbbq these days, I thought I might as well dedicate a post on my number one go to unli-samgyeupsal spot, because why not?
Samgyeupsal, in my own understanding, is a type of Korean grilled pork dinner served bbq style. Best eaten with a small group, you usually get unseasoned and un-marinated sliced meat served raw for you to cook on the grill the way you prefer. Served with side dishes such as kimchi and pickled veggies, rice, lettuce, soup, and different sauces, samgyeupsal is become a new Pinot foreign food favorite. Traditionally, it’s best with soju as well.
This trend isn’t necessarily a novelty. Koreans flock to the Philippines to study English, while many fall in love with the country that they end up setting up their lives here, opening up their business, from restaurants to convenience stores. If there’s one authentic foreign thing that’s easy to find in the Philippines, it’s Korean food. Needless to say, Filipinos are already familiar with the cuisine. But what’s new today is the rise of unlimited samgyeupsal joints. It seems that prices keeps getting lower and lower, that even franchises are throwing in weekend promos for the unlis. However, you don’t always get what you pay for. There are a few factors that are essential when picking the right samgyeupsal restaurant and I’ll tackle them one by one, but first, let me introduce to you…
With a couple of other branches specifically in Batangas and Laguna, this new kid on the block is ready to make a name for itself. Bringing it to Tagaytay is definitely a bold move for them, but it’s also a smart step bringing in the trend just in time. Tagaytay is known as a foodie destination. People come here to eat and enjoy the view, and with the endless variety of restaurants, visitors are always looking for something new. Although Filipino restaurants thrive the most in the business here, Tagaytay needs something new. Something unconventional. Something… Korean and affordable! With Mr. Kimchi’s arrival, Tagaytay isn’t going to be just about the super basic, super common, and super typical bulalo. The standards are about to change.
Although there are quite a few competitors in the area, Mr. Kimchi is an instant favorite for so many reasons. Like I said, I’ll get comprehensive with it– but here’s what you need to know First and foremost: QUALITY.
The Food Quality
I am aware that there are plenty of places offering unlimited samgyeupsal at this point and prices are getting cheaper and cheaper. At 499 pesos for the unlimited samgyeupsal deal, I think it’s a steal here at Mr. Kimchi’s not just because of the amount of food you’ll be fed with no time limitations, but because of the quality of the food they are serving as well. I’d rather pay a hundred peso more if it means I wouldn’t have to spend 3 minutes chewing each pork I was served. The meat here, both beef and pork, are both high quality. The cuts are just right, not too thin that it’s easy to overcook, and definitely not too thick that chewing is a struggle. It’s great quality meat, and if you’re committing to an unlimited samgyeupsal meal, the quality is the very first thing you need to consider. Why pay less for such a crappy experience? Bad meat never equals a happy tummy.
I haven’t tried their hotpot yet, but my family recently went and they keep raving about it. The seafood serving is apparently very generous and shrimps were huge. I believe it already, because it seems that Mr. Kimchi is not the one to jiff their customers.
Although they do regular servings at Mr. Kimchi for 329php for about 250 grams of mixed beef and pork, you want your samgyeupsal experience to have no limits. I personal think this is the best way to do a good ole’ korean bbq, otherwise you’re not really getting the full experience. For just a little bit more at 499 php, you have a chance to indulge in your gluttony the best samgyeupsal way possible. With unlimited beef, pork, soup, sides, jap chae, rice, lettuce, and even iced tea, you’re gonna have to ignore your diet. They make sure to keep it coming too, which says a lot about their customer service, but we can discuss that later. The point is, you’re getting so much more for what you’re paying, and that’s always a win.
Even their ala carte meals are generously served. I really loved their beef bulgogi, which can feed up to 4 people even without a samgyeupsal order. The kimbap is also huge, so be prepared to take home leftovers if you can’t handle eating like a grown man.
Next to quality, I look for flavors a lot. Since korean bbq is typically served unseasoned, the flavor lies on the sauces they serve. I pay a lot of attention to samgyeupsal sauces because I notice that they can vary from one place to another. Mr. Kimchi has one of my favorite soybean sauce– spicy and sweet, but just the right blended amount. I went to the unlimited samgyeupsal next to Mr. Kimchi once, and it was one of my worst experience because they didn’t even serve sesame oil with salt and pepper, which I always want with my samgyeupsal.
Flavors are taken seriously at Mr. Kimchi, and it was also proven with their ala carte meals. Korean food are always oozing with strong flavors and they definitely do not lack any here. I would say that the japchae is not my favorite at Mr. Kimchi because I prefer mine sweet and it was a little bland here. Everything else, however, was top notch.
The Customer Service
One of the best kbbq services I’ve ever received in the Philippines, I mean it when I said they will spoil you here. Our plates and glasses were constantly refilled, and if we needed anything more, the service was quick. Even on a busy Sunday afternoon, rest assured that the waiters will keep their eye on every table and make sure each hungry customers are tended to quickly.
It’s also nice that although samgyeupsal requires the customers to grill their own meat, their waiters would gladly offer to do it for your table if you prefer. That’s just going the extra mile. Everyone are so friendly too. It’s not one of those places where when you enter, you can already tell the employees hate their jobs. It almost seemed as if everyone was happy at Mr. Kimchi– which is a big deal, because the energy that the employees puts out in the restaurant has a very huge effect with the atmosphere of the restaurant and it can either be enlightening or just plain damaging. In Mr. Kimchi’s case, it’s all smiles.
The restaurant can accommodate big groups so waiting is almost never an issue. There are three areas in the restaurant, there’s a smaller private dining hall, the main dining hall, and an outdoor alfresco setting, offering covered seatings but also gives you the chance to enjoy the view with your meal. Located impeccably with a banging view of Taal, Mr. Kimchi Tagaytay has one of the best vista. It’s not just a great food spot, but a one of the most kickass Instagrammable places in Tagaytay too.
Another standout thing about the restaurant itself is the cleanliness. No flies, no bugs, no nasties flying around your food. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of those from other places in Tagaytay. Because it’s also a new restaurant, grills are functioning adequately, and actually, Mr, Kimchi has one of the best grills because they are bigger compared to other places. That means less time wasted on waiting, and more time to enjoy your food. Their grills function perfectly, and if it gets dirty already from your burnt remnants, they would gladly clean it up for you. It’s just easier to enjoy a meal at a place that takes sanitation just as seriously as the food they offer.
Hands down, Mr. Kimchi Tagaytay offers a superb all you can eat samgyeupsal experience. They already get pretty busy on the weekends and it’s rainy season right now, so it’s guaranteed that this newbie is just gonna get bigger over time. Regardless of the competitors, Mr. Kimchi stands out and has most of the advantage at this point. With great food, incredible service, and a phenomenal location, this is just the beginning of Mr. Kimchi.
For inquiries and reservations, you may contact Mr. Kimchi on their official Facebook page.
Disclaimer: Thank you Mr. Kimchi for a scrumptious samgyeupsal lunch! As always, thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own. I only recommend places that I know would be great for my readers.