Sariwon first opened up in North Korea (Yes, you read that right – NORTH Korea) back in 1938 by Ms. Koo Bun-im, who named the restaurant after her hometown. She created her very own bulgogi broth recipe for her husband, who suffered from diabetes. This naturally sweet bulgogi broth was made from an assortment of fruits, veggies, and spices. The first Sariwon restaurant was a tiny, cramped space with only twenty seats available – But now, the restaurant’s branches can be found all across South Korea. In fact, it even won the ‘Best Korean Restaurant’ award from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and the meat that they use has received accolades from the New York Times.
This isn’t actually my first time visiting Sariwon – I came to their first Philippine branch in BGC when it was still fairly new, and only had a handful of items on their menu. Now, they’ve added other Korean dishes such as bibimbap and soft tofu stew. I haven’t been to BGC in a really, really, really long while (There’s actually a reason for that, which I might discuss in a future entry)… And it’s nice to see that Bonifacio High Street Central hasn’t changed a bit, albeit more restaurants have been added… And removed *gets teary eyed*
Menu: Legendary bulgogi (Deungsim yangnyeom bulgogi), From the grill (Chesaggeup yangnyeom galbisal, wang galbi, LA galbi, dak galbi), Other specialties, Rice and noodles (Jeonju bibimbap, dolseot bibimbap, mul naengmyeon, bibim naengmyeon) Soup and stews (Galbi jim, soondubu chigae, doenjang chigae), Hotpot (Bulgogi jeongol), Dessert (Sizzling apple graham).
Delicious Mandu Kimchi – Homemade Korean dumplings with minced beef, vegetables, and kimchl Toasted on the outside, nice and crispy on the inside.
We ordered the Woo Samgyup – Beautifully marbled premium fresh USDA Choice beef belly, thinly sliced for a tender and succulent flavor. Mmmmmm…. Look at that delicious plate of grilled Korean barbecue! The meat wasn’t too fatty, or too tough, and had this amazing smoky aftertaste. And just like what one normally does when eating Korean meat, I placed a little bit of the beef and some rice on a perilla leaf, dipped it in sesame oil (or pepper paste, whichever you prefer), and shoved it into my mouth. Sariwon only uses the best and the finest USDA Choice beef cuts for their barbecue, with all of them carefully selected for that beautiful marbling. A good marbling on the meat usually results in amazing and well-seasoned beef.
A few minutes after the barbecue, the waiter served us our Sariwon Bulgogi – Silky, thin slices of fresh USDA Choice beef grilled with broth on the table. Served with fragrant, signature Sariwon sauce and freshly made sweet potato noodles. More meat! I loved the taste and texture of the potato noodles as well. The sauce that they use for their bulgogi is made from twelve different types of fruits and vegetables, mixed with a splash of red wine and boiled over high heat for three hours. The sauce has a tangy, sweet, and flavorful taste to it that goes well with the beef.
A shot of sweet Sikhye for dessert.
As I mentioned before, this is not the first time that I’ve dined here at Sariwon, and after our meal here, it won’t be the last one either – It’s like our dining experience here just keeps on getting better and better. I can’t really tell if it’s my love for Korean food talking, but I’m already looking forward to our next visit.
Food: 5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)