February 24, 2024

There are days when you crave both Korean popular fares, the sampgeupsal and shabu shabu. Wish fulfilled in Donjjiang Shabu Shabu and Teppanyaki at Upper Session Road fronting Quezon Elementary School.

Tables are set with twin hot plates, one for a divided pot of spicy and plain broth and the other for the grill. This sets a meal with soup and grilled meats according to desire. Not to forget that the counters have pasta, tteokbokki, egg rolls, fried chicken, and other food for others who like more varieties to their meals.

The hotpot has a cabinet full of seafoods to drop into the soup that include clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, crabs, fish, and octopus. There are balls too, fish, crab, shrimp, and squid, if these are correct.

There are other items that came out to be a rectangular rice stick like the texture of ttoekbokki and a translucent gelatin-like flat strip that seemed to be a brown seaweed. This is for exploration of the adventurous eaters.

One can put meats too to complete the flavorful broth. Of course, this must include enoki, the mushroom that looks like straws with a small head, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, and some bean sprouts to add more zest to the soup.

The side dishes of kimchi, pickled radish, and pickled seaweeds are among my preferences to complement the grilled meats. These crunchy textures nicely blend with the same crunch of green lettuce and crispy pork or beef slices, the way I like it.

There are a variety of sauces to choose from. The gochujang, doenjang, ssamjang, ganjang, chunjang, chamkireum, aekjot, and others are the popular condiments, and you will find that these have equivalents in the Pinoy palate like soy sauce and fish sauce. Except perhaps for the fermented bean pastes, these are not strange in the local tables. There is also salt and pepper for those who don’t dare.

The hot grill that reduces the fat from the pork slices and marinated beef helps eliminate the guilt for this rich meal. One should enjoy watching the meats shrink and curl up and hurriedly wrap some in the green lettuce, include some fermented bean paste, and kimchi then roll it and stuff it in the mouth and chew delightfully. The enoki rolled in bacon strips is dipped in some beanpaste too or eaten plain. The marinated chicken that are included in the chest filled with meats are equally healthy for those who avoid pork. These are tender when grilled and can be eaten plain or wrapped in lettuce. Korean spam is a must as part of the experience.

But a fair warning is given that leftovers will be charged P500. The tendency is to take more than one can consume and the enterprise will charge for this. I would agree and encourage other similar grills to charge for excesses because there is much food left unconsumed. I will prefer to dine here any day with both my favorite eating styles available. – Nonnette C. Bennett