The annoying thing about Gohyang is, instead of soothing my feelings it just makes me miss Seoul about a hundred times more. In the two times I visited Gohyang, I always get transported back to one of those family restaurants we frequented during our visit to Seoul.
Gohyang has the same simplistic interior and homey ambiance that I grew to love about the mom-and-pop restaurants in Seoul. Too bad I forgot to photograph the interior to give you a better idea, but I think you will see it in my forthcoming travel diaries so no worries!
Homey ambiance aside, a great thing about these kinds of restaurants is that the meals are affordable and come in really good sizes. And because the owner is normally also the head chef, you get great food with an undeniable homemade quality.
Here in Gohyang, the ahjumma owner also flits in and out of the kitchen as head chef and guest greeter. I really appreciate how Gohyang has maintained the same traditional approach as though they were opening shop in their own home country.
And I should mention, in keeping with Korean tradition the banchan is on the house. Yassss.
The banchan dishes at the centre are more on the sweeter side of things; while the side with the kimchi as you can see is red-hued and therefore spicy. I have a pretty good tolerance for spicy things so this is the column I enjoyed the most, plus Korean fish cakes are my faves. On the right side are the more savoury offerings, and those crispy fish are yummy to munch on! The family always asks for refills of that, and I always ask for more kimchi. 김치 좀 더 주세요! 🙂
While you’re waiting for your order to arrive, you can ask for as much banchan refills as you want. You can go for specific refills of course, but if you’ve ordered a lot of dishes like we did, I don’t think it’s smart to keep ordering banchan just because it’s free. (Unless you plan to eat it all.) Trust me, your tummy will be more than happy once you get to the main course.
Tteokbokki 떡볶이 (Php 200): Rice cakes in thick spicy sauce with fish cakes, hard-boiled egg, and assorted veggies.
It needs to be said that I am a huge fan of tteokbokki. The only time I would willingly consume a hefty amount of sticky rice anything is if you give it to me cooked in this manner. That said, this isn’t my favourite tteokbokki version by a long shot. I’ve eaten the ones on Seoul’s streets, and I’ve eaten the ones in some bingsu places here in Manila. Sadly, this one falls short for me.
In terms of flavour, it’s a classic and traditional tteokbokki sans any of those fancy stuff trendy places do. It’s okay taste-wise. I just wish there were more rice cakes in the actual dish. There’s a lot of everything else, which I appreciate, but then again the main star of this dish are those chewy cylinders. For such a big bowl, there was surprisingly very little of the tteokbokki.
Kimchi Fried Rice 김치볶음밥 (Php 200): Fried rice cooked with kimchi, and topped with a sunny-side up egg.
There’s not much you can say about kimchi fried rice apart from the fact that it’s a classic Korean dish. It’s the type of dish every Korean home has a specific version of, but it’s easy to tell how flavourful a kimchi fried rice is by its colour. This one had a lovely hue.
You can see from the get-go how much kimchi was actually added into this fried rice. Obviously the whole point of ordering this dish is the combination of rice and a good amount of crunchy spicy cabbage, and it delivers on that aspect. I would’ve liked it just a little bit more buttery though, and I wish there was a runny yolk on that sunny side-up.
Budae Jjigae 부대찌개 (Php 580 for Small): Stew dish with kimchi and gochujang base, containing tofu, scallions, onions, bean sprouts, hotdogs, and ramyun.
This dish is my favourite kind of history lesson. During the Korean War, Koreans would salvage any food they could gather from the American soldiers– canned SPAM, hot dogs, sausages, and what not. These American staples would then be included into traditional spicy Korean soup bases to add more flavour and make it more filling. That’s why this dish is actually called “Army Base Stew”.
Despite the more desperate times this dish was born in, this is one of South Korea’s most popular dishes.
Because the budae jjigae is usually quite spicy, it is traditionally eaten with rice to balance out the heat. I actually enjoy it more sans the rice since I prefer noodles, so I don’t like it too spicy. This one was just spicy enough to eat without rice for me. Again, I do enjoy spicy food so keep that in mind.
When you see this serving, you wouldn’t believe for a moment it was a “Small” order. (I can’t imagine what the “Large” order is like!) This is the perfect sharing dish when you’re eating out with friends, especially if it’s cold and rainy outside. One of the greatest charms of Korean food for me is how they are perfect for “cuddly weather”.
Ganjang + Yangnyeom Tongdak Combination 간장 + 양념 통닭 (Php 700): Korean-style fried chicken with a crackly crust and juicy interior, plus a sprinkling of fried nuts.
Korean fried chicken is traditionally double-fried, so I tried not to think about that fact as I was eating this. It’s pretty amazing though, because these chicken pieces are like popped crisp and juicy balls of tender chicken. How do they do it?! This first flavour is ganjang, which actually means soy sauce. It’s not salty at all but a bit sweet and a bit garlicky.
The yangnyeom fried chicken is my favourite because it’s sweet and spicy. This one has a thicker and more sticky sauce, and a more attractive colour. Again, crunchy on the outside and just heavenly in terms of juiciness on the inside. I loved every bite!
Although these two chicken flavours are written separately on the menu, you can actually order half and half of each flavour and pay the cost of one whole order. They say the quantity of the fried chicken is equivalent to one whole chicken, and I say that is ONE BIG CHICKEN.
Dweji Bulgogi 돼지 불고기 (Php 550): Thinly sliced pork loin with assorted veggies in spicy sauce.
I have to admit I was a bit surprised when this giant pan came out. There was a picture on the menu but I guess it didn’t exactly register with me while I was ordering. Normally, bulgogi is grilled marinated meat that doesn’t come with sauce so that you can easily wrap it into lettuce or other leafy veggies. There’s a dip you can use to add spice to your wrap and that’s about it, so I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to go with lettuce or rice.
But who cares? I tried some wrapped in lettuce and it was delicious! We had a lot of leftovers for this and when we placed it over rice it was even better!
This dish was spicy and sweet at the same time, with some really tasty pieces of pork. There’s also onions, chopped cabbage, and zucchini in here to add a bit of crunchy and soft textures, plus a sprinkle of sesame just because those tiny seeds make everything better. And to think I was already full by the time this dish was served, I still ended up dipping a whole lot of lettuce into the sauce. That’s how much I liked this!
For the record, we ordered waaaay too much for our party of 6. I was reminding my parents that the servings here were bigger than usual for the price, but maybe they were a little too used to how most restaurants in Manila do it nowadays. We ended up taking home enough food for a full dinner, so it’s literally like we paid for two meals.
I don’t know how much more value for money you will get, but that’s just one thing that really delighted me when I first visited here, apart from the food of course. It warranted a second visit for blogging purposes.
For many people who live around the Sta. Rosa area, this restaurant probably isn’t new. When my family popped in for a late lunch the second time around, the place was filled with both Korean and non-Korean patrons, although I’m not sure how many of them are from Manila.
I certainly feel that this place could benefit from being in a part of Paseo that’s more visible to people walking around the shops, but hey, that’s what food bloggers are for eh?
Gohyang Korean Restaurant
Paseo De Santa Rosa, Tagaytay Road,
Don Jose, Santa Rosa, Laguna
Hours: 11 AM to 10 PM Daily
Mobile no.: +63 9273961777
Full disclosure: This post in not sponsored in any way. All opinions stated above are my own.
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