August 25, 2008
El Pueblo, Pasig City
Once again, I was craving some Korean food when I decided to go back to Song Do. I was scared of eating crappy Korean food again since the So Woo incident so I went with a place I've tried before. The first time at Song Do was indeed a good experience. I was with family and we were filled to the brim with food. I really enjoyed the hospitality of the owners who were really hands-on with the place. Service was really good at this place ever since the first time I ate here and until now.
I've had my share of Korean restaurants and their cuisine. In fact I've devised 5 simple rules in the critique of a Korean restaurant (I think I wrote about this already but I'll just reiterate it for you new readers):
1. See to it that there are a lot of Koreans eating at the place. The more Koreans, the better the food is. CHECK! Song Do has a lot of Koreans dining also. Usually groups of businessmen are gathered for a good hearty dinner after their meetings. Mostly I see different families eating at Song Do also.
2. There are a lot of appetizers served. I mean a lot! Doesn't matter if it isn't really that good, as long as you have lots of choices. My favorite is kimchi anyway so as long as there is kimchi, I'm good! Song Do has a lot of appetizers but it seems that they have lessened it since the last time I ate there. Maybe cost cutting, I don't know but I hope they bring back some more of the appetizers. Some of the good ones have gone and replaced by unrecognizable appetizers. First time I didn't get to finish the appetizer while eating Korean.
3. Kimchi. A factor completely on its own. Unbeknownst to us, each kimchi dish actually has its own unique taste. It varies from each city AND province in Korea. Not all kimchi tastes the same and based on experience each has its own unique flavor. Some are hotter, some are sweeter, etc. I love kimchi though so I don't really care how it tastes. As long the restaurant gives me a lot, they are 1/3 away towards a good review! :)
4. The food. Basic dishes like Japchae and Korean Beef Stew should be ordered to actually taste the authenticity of the place. These are the also the two of my favorite Korean dishes. I love the gelatinous texture of the Japchae noodles and the flavor infused on the noodles. On the other hand, I love the flavor of the Beef Stew. The intensity of the stew and how flavors blend with each other. I just love the contrast between saltiness and sweetness, and the mystery of how it meets as one on your pallete. Song Do has very good Japchae. The noodles were perfectly cooked. It was not soggy and maintained its gelatinous form. It didn't turn into mush or stick with each other as the dish cooled down. The taste was very much flavorful and it had more meat in it. Would have wished for more variety in meats but I guess squid meat will do. What stuck me most with this dish though is the serving size. It was served with good size that we almost didn't finish the dish. Quantity plus quality always equates to success. Success though comes with a price: Inconsistency. The Korean Beef Stew for example was nice but not that great. It was not the usual beef stew I taste in other Korean restaurants. I mean it was flavorful and all but I guess you can say it was too intense. A bit too intense that the it skewed away from the norm. I think the best way to describe Song Do's Korean Beef Stew was that it was good but... I've tasted better.
5. Affordable. Koreans love a good bargain. Korean food should never be overpriced or overrated. I think Song Do is a perfect blend of good food and affordable prices. I wouldn't think twice in coming back to Song Do for a third serving of this authentic restaurant.
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