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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Street-Smart Korean - Jang Ga Nae

We were really hungry when we arrived at this nondescript commercial building along Escriva Drive in Pasig.  This was for a late lunch, and were looking forward to a cheap but filling meal at Jang Ga Nae, a Korean restaurant, recently discovered by the husband who was, on this occasion, ecstatic to share the experience with our daughter and me.

Upon entering the sliding doors, we passed by rows and rows of tables already filled by diners with an overhanging telephone-style ventilators to address the smoke from the table top grill for barbecue.  While the place does smell of meat and fish grilling, it wasn't that overpowering.  Jang Ga Nae specializes in Korean-style barbecue, but we were there for comfort food.

Once seated, we were served with their house iced tea, which truly refreshed our palates and prepared us for the series of side dishes called banchan that are traditional accompaniments to any Korean meal experience.  While it is expected that you eat these banchan with your main dishes, we can't help but dig our chopsticks in and treat them as appetizers.  There was kimchi, poached cold bean sprouts, pickled radish and tofu in red bean paste, 

fresh green salad with sesame-soy dressing (my instant favorite),

and kimchi pancakes. 

Remember, if you want more servings of any of the side dishes, you can ask for it at no extra charge.  For me, I asked for another big bowl of salad greens :-).

The Kalbi Jim (Korean Beef Stew) is a homey brew of chunky beef ribs with a thick broth.  An order of one is good to feed 2-3 people.

And we can't really do without being Japanesey by ordering Ebi Tempura too.  Their tempura sauce though, has a hint more of sweetness than what you get in a Japanese restaurant.  

We felt pleasantly full after finishing everything, and the slices of sweet, ripe pineapples capped the lunch well.  For the two dishes with short-grain steamed rice and soda, and unlimited servings of banchan, the Php800 (around USD18) bill is still good value for your money.

Jang Ga Nae
Ground Floor 8137 Plaza
Escriva Drive, Brgy. San Antonio,
Ortigas, Pasig
Landline:  +63 2 633-6960 

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