Short answer. Maybe…?
Korean barbeque in the Philippines is commonly referred to as samgyeopsal even though it actually refers to a specific kind of meat. Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) is pork belly meat and it literally translates to three-layered flesh/meat (sam 삼 meaning three; gyeop 겹 meaning layer; and sal 살 meaning flesh). There’s even a cousin to it called Ogyeopsal (오겹살) that has five layers including the skin (Samgyeopsal in Korea typically don’t include the skin). Korean barbecue is gogi-gui (고기구이) or meat roast. You learn something new every day. 😁
There are a lot of Korean barbeque places in the Philippines and Samgyupsalamat added another to the list by opening a branch in South Park Alabang. Lucky for us, we live near Alabang so we had to try it out.
How is Samgyupsalamat?
I love Korean barbeque and I often try out new places when I can. Samgyupsalamat offers the typical Korean barbeque buffet. They have two sets that you can choose from: the pork set and the combined (pork and beef set). The pork set costs P449 and the combined set is P499. I recommend going for the combined set since that’s just P50 more. If you want to save a little, you can eat between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. This is the happy hour time where the prices are P50 less (P399 for the pork set and P449 for the combined set).
What’s on the menu?
SamgyupSalamat boasts having nine different kinds of meats which in reality means they have TWO kinds of meats (pork and beef) in nine different flavors.
For the pork set, you get the following:
Dae-pae. Normal samgyeopsal meat sliced paper thin and unseasoned.
Bul-jip. Normal samgyeopsal meat seasoned with salt and pepper.
Yangnyum Daepae. Same as dae-pae but with a slightly sour seasoning. We were told that this was the second most popular dish in the menu.
Gochujang Samgyup. Thinly sliced samgyeopsal marinated in gochujang or chili sauce. This was delightfully spicy. Even if you’re not into spicy foods, you should try this.
Yangnyum Moksal. Unsliced chunk of samgyeopsal meat (about half an inch) seasoned like the Yangnyum daepae. This is definitely not moksal. Moksal is meat from the pig’s neck which usually has a nice marbling. This gives the meat is a nice fatty flavor that’s not as overpowering as samgyeopsal. This moksal was more like the same slice of samgyeopsal except it has a half an inch cut.
For the combined set you get the pork set plus:
That gochujang beef was delicious![/caption]
Boolgogi. Typical boolgogi. Thinly sliced beef with boolgogi and sesame seasoning. Unsurprisingly, this is their most popular dish.
Beef Samgyup. Unseasoned thinly sliced beef.
Yangnyum Beef. Just like Yangnyum Daepae except it’s beef.
Gochujang Beef. Just like Gochujang Samgyup except it’s beef.
NOTE: You can only order two orders of meat at a time. It’s not really a big problem because you can order your next two orders while your current two is cooking. Problem solved. 🙂
Another thing to take note of is that you need to be in a party of at least two people. So if you’re single and your friends can’t come with you, you’d have to pretend that you have an imaginary date and pay for two.
What we didn’t like about Samgyupsalamat…
Our experience was generally good and the price is hard to beat BUT there are a couple of very important things that are preventing me from eating there again.
The wait time
We went there last holy week, Black Saturday. We arrived and got queued up around 5:45 pm, well before dinner time. The wait staff informed us that there are 12 people ahead
of us which we figured wouldn’t be too long of a wait time so we went ahead. We were wrong. They sat us on our table at around 9:00 pm. That’s more than 3 hours of waiting! Remember, it’s Black Saturday. The mall was practically empty. And we got there early!
If you compute it, that’s about 15 minutes per party ahead of you. If you arrived there with only 2 parties ahead of you, which most likely is not going to happen, that’s still a half an hour wait.
One thing to consider is that the place is small. There are only twelve tables and considering that it’s an unlimited barbeque, people do stay a while. Another thing is that the wait staff are really slow. It took them at least another 15 minutes to get our table ready.
Waiting outside is also not an option because they only have three stools. This normally isn’t a problem except if you’ve been waiting for more than three hours!
Another glaring problem is that…
There is no restroom
You would think that all Korean barbeque restaurants would have a restroom considering that samgyeopsal is a relatively messy food to eat. You use your hands to wrap the meat, kimchi sauce dripping all over you. But there’s no place to wash your hands. Some of you might be thinking, just use a hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. And you’re right, that’s not the biggest concern.
Think about it, this is an unlimited Korean barbeque. People will be eating A LOT. That means you’d most likely end up with a full stomach and would like to go to the toilet. You can run to the mall if the mall is open. Remember the wait time? If you go there for dinner, you’d definitely finish past mall closing hours.
Right now you might be thinking, that you really don’t need it but would you risk a “tummy accident”?
That’s about it
That’s it for our experience with Samgyupsalamat. I don’t mind eating there again if they address the problems I mentioned. Will definitely be trying out a different branch to see if it’s better.
And before I forget, expect to take the smokey smell of cooking meat with you as you go out. The smell hugs you stronger than a clingy girlfriend.
What do you think? Is Samgyupsalamat in South Park Alabang worth visiting?