We’re solid crazy for their pop stars, TV soap dramas, and fashion sense, that's a given. Snd since thousands of South Koreans have taken up residence right here in the Philippines, it’s no wonder we love their food as well. While locally there aren't as many Korean restaurants as there are Japanese ones just yet, there are a couple of noteworthy haunts like Tong Keun So in Remedios Circle (directly across Café Adriatico) bringing the colorful and savory bold flavors of Korean cuisine to our tropical tables. The costs of the dishes and set meals are reasonable, too. Given the care and passion served up on each plate and the flavors we sampled, it was of extremely great value. Celebrating an occasion or birthday party? Private VIP function rooms are also available for more intimate gatherings.
But Tong Keun So stands out among local Korean fare for a noteworthy reason. One of the owners is 3-Michelin star awarded Chef Jang Jun Yun, who received recognition for her culinary work at another restaurant in Korea called Gaon.
Though she isn't their stay-in, head chef Jang Jun Yun set the standard for the culinary output of Tong Keun So. She visits as a transient chef who helps train from time to time, apart from overseeing her other restaurants in Korea. A stand-out point to look for in good Korean food is the quality of their small plates or banchan, bound to impress almost just as much as the entrée dishes.
Everything served that were considered side dishes had people at our table asking what they were even if they weren’t the “main event”—from picked onions and peppers to different greens, and variations of kimchi. Apart from meat mains, they also had special egg dishes like Buchujeon/Buchu Buchimgae, a flat, large rectangular version of a savory egg pancake with onions, chives, plus other veggies. There was also a delicious steamed sort of egg souffle, Haeumul Gyeranjim, with an airy custard like texture in the center. You could really find greatness even in the smallest of details.
For us carnivores craving Korean beef’s best portions, Tong Keun So’s Hanami menu will provide your meat fix for on-site grilling satisfaction with several cuts of beef and pork from marbled to more lean. Check out our gallery above to see a couple of the things we tasted which you may want to try over at Tong Keun So! They're open from Monday to Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 AM and can be reached via landline (02) 806 2295 or mobile at +63 917 739 4771. Also look for more information online on their Facebook page, facebook.com/tongkeunsorestaurant or via Instagram @tongkeunso.
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Photography by author and from: Instagram.com/tongkeunso