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Dining-in, Sambokojin, Another Buffet Experience
But What is a Yakiniku Restaurant?
Yakiniku in case of Sambokojin commonly refers to the Japanese style of cooking bite sized meat and vegetables on a griddle over flame. In a yakiniku restaurant, diners order several types of prepared raw ingredients (either individually or as a set) which are brought to the table. The ingredients are cooked by the diners on a grill built into the table throughout the duration of the meal, several pieces at a time. The ingredients are then dipped in sauces known as tare before being eaten. The most common sauce is made of Japanese soy sauce mixed with sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, fruit juice and sesame oil (sourced from wikepedia).
Sourced From Wikipedia
My friends and I chose Sambokojin, west ave. for our small get together . I haven't been to the restaurant so I am really curious and eager to go. Years ago it was recommended to me by a fellow Ha Jiwon (Korean Actress) fan, that visited my Yakimix Hub (http://maria-cecilia.hubpages.com/hub/Dining-in-Yakimix-Japanese-Buffet-at-Greenbelt-3-Makati-City).
But unfortunately I was not able to visit Sambokojin right away because friends that I met often preferred other restaurants or the location that was chosen for meet ups never matched the locations where there are Sambokojin branches. Finally when my college gang decided to meet last year, one suggested Sambokojin and luckily no one did object.
We went to Sambokojin West Ave. branch. At that time, they have lots of diners or guest. Most of them were sent by luxurious cars which they entrusted with the valet service. In spite of growing number of Yakiniku houses, looks like Sambokojin has established a place in the most patronized lists of restaurants in the country. That very night I had the opportunity to know the reason why.
My First Impression
At first glance, Sambokojin reminded me of Yakimix, only as compared to the latter, Sambokojin has less to offer specially in the Dessert section. As of writing this, I am not sure which comes first in the market? Yakimix or Sambokojin? All I know both are Yakiniku Restaurants, which justified the reason why they look so alike.
Going back to the dessert section, although they offered less, I don't think it can be a major set back to their popularity because not all customers went there for desserts, most of them are after the Yakiniku style of cooking, which I consider excellent because of the fresh stuff you can put on grill. All the main stuff to expect in a Japanese Buffet is available anyway, seafood, beef, vegetables and also some Korean and Chinese dishes. With staff willing to assist you in cooking your seafood, you have no reason not to experience the best.
It became a habit for me that when i am in my buffet adventure,I always start with a dessert. I just can't miss desserts, so before I get too full I'd rather make sure that I started with the best lol. I had four dessert combinations. Coffee jelly, gelatin in a shot glass, almond jelly and slices of Kiwi fruit.
My second serving is all about tempura. Shrimp, fish and vegetable.
My 3rd serving was a combination of korean food, but I only remember the Japche or the noodles
then my last serving of dessert, black jelly... Almonds .. I just can't remember anymore but it tasted good.
What I Enjoyed the Most (Samgyeopsal)
Aside from what I got from the buffet table, I guess what I really enjoyed the most were those cooking in a grill pan. Waiters or sambokojin staff were very attentive and they initiated the cooking for you. I am not really fond of shrimps or prawns, but since it was already in front of me deliciously served, I found myself enjoying it. Beef is always the best in a Yakiniku restaurant my all time favorite is the long stemmed mushroom wrapped in a bacon strips.
The Samgeopsal is something new to me, I was delighted when the attentive staff prepared it for me... But what is Samgeopsal? according to wikipedia, Samgeopsal is a popular Korean Dish, commonly served as evening meal. It is consist of thick slices of pork belly meat, but at that time the meat that they used was a thinly sliced marinated beef. Accompaniments were lettuce, shrimp, onions, kimchi and a lot more that I can't remember.The sauces used were great. Samgyeopsal is almost always served with at least two kinds of dipping sauces. One is ssamjang, a paste consisting of chili paste, gochujang, soybean paste, sesame oiI and other ingredients. The other is gireumjang, made with salt and sesame oil, sometimes also with a small amount of black pepper. Ssamjang is used when a diner eats samgyeopsal with vegetable accompaniments, and gireumjang when a diner wants to taste the cooked meat itself. (Credit Wikepedia for this information).
Although I really like this, as a first timer I still don't know how to eat it properly. I found it messy but delicious so never mind the mess LOL.
Sambokojin still has a lot to offer and customers have the luxury to get as much as what their bellies can accommodate. I believe quality over quantity is what Sambokojin applied in their business and I that factor made them very popular.
I've been to lots of Yakiniku restaurant but only in Sambokojin that I realized about maximizing the use of the grilling pan in the middle of the dining table. I guess it's an advantage that Sambokojin has staff that made themselves available so they can cook or grill the shrimp and beef for you or even prepared Sampgeopsal for the customers. But next that my feet land at this restaurant, I will surely indulge myself with seafood and other grilling stuffs.
Of course I will return to Sambokojin, I will recommend it to my friends who love the idea of dining-in while cooking at the same dining table.
© 2014 Maria Cecilia