CS and I were on our way to Hwangso-Ga Korean Buffet when we chanced upon Tong Keun So, a newly opened Korean restaurant near Remedios Circle in Malate. A wrong turn that led to a feast that reminded me of all the delicious food I devoured during my recent trip in Seoul. Tong Keun So is located on the 2F of the building with 3 other Korean establishments (another restaurant and a dessert place in the ground floor and a bar on the 3rd level), making it really hard to miss.
I love beating the dinner rush because we got to enjoy the staff's full attention. Having the restaurant all to ourselves meant faster service, less smoke in circulation coming from the grill and eating in peace, a rare occurrence especially if you're dining in a popular place like Tong Keun So because after a while, local diners and Korean expats started to fill the restaurant.
Each table is equipped with a smokeless grilling stove. Unlike in other places, they don't brush the pan with oil and the staff are quick to clean the surface after each batch is cooked. They also make sure not to grill everything at once until the customers are finished eating.
On the table
Complimentary appetizers served were lettuce and corn salad, kimchi, spicy green onion salad, pickled onions, kimchi stew with beef and steamed egg omelette served in a hot pot. Not the usual suspects of banchan we are used to but a welcome change since they were all good! Everything's refillable but they gave us two of each so there was no need to ask for a second round. Besides, we already went big and ordered the set meal that's good for 3 persons as the main course.
CS makes it a point that he orders enough, sometimes more than what we can consume, whenever we go out to make sure that I am well-fed and I eat healthy. Tong Keun So's Hanmari set menu at Php990.00 that comes with a plate of rib finger, prime chuck eye roll and brisket point was his idea of a healthier alternative to the unlimited samgyupsal I was looking forward at Hwangso-Ga.
The staff piles the grilled meat on the makeshift grate on top of the metal plate, a simple yet brilliant idea to avoid overcooked meat yet keeping the food warm. Majority of the meat were lean and tender plus I got to eat more than my fair share of vegetables, now that's a guiltless dinner I enjoyed with a happy tummy and a stressed-free mind!
Tong Keun SoAdriatico St. corner Remedios Circle
Malate, Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 254-3876
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