Samgyeopsal with various side dishes and sauce are definitely a hit to the Filipino taste buds! Let’s get to know more about its popularity in the Philippines and why Filipinos love it so much.
Samgyeopsal craze has been unstoppable even while in pandemic when people stayed in their respective homes or condominiums. What triggered this samgyeopsal popularity? Many sources say that it all started with pop culture. It was easy for the Filipinos to have embraced the Korean culture as they have introduced their vibrant pop culture in the late 1990s. The Korean invasion in the Philippines has started when “Korean novelas” or Korean Drama and Films have started airing on the local TV networks. Korean TV characters are easy to love so their Korean Style and Beauty are easy to adapt, and Korean Pop Music is catchy and leaves a mark on the Filipino audience. Interestingly, the Korean invasion, as it affects the Filipino culture has revolutionized and awakened our own Filipino telenovelas, music, and food as they bring a new taste to offer the Filipino market. Not to mention, the famous Korean Food – kimchi, the trending spicy noodles, ramyeon, bulgogi, milk tea, and the most popular, samgyeopsal or Korean barbecue. This trend has definitely affected our society, economically, physically, socially, and culturally.
Suddenly, new Korean restaurants pop rapidly in every street and literally every corner not just across the Metro but also in different provinces. Samgyeopsal with various samgyeopsal side dishes and sauce are definitely a hit to the Filipino taste buds! Thinking of opening your own Korean restaurant, huh? Economically speaking, at least without the pandemic, the unexpected sprout of Korean restaurants offering unli samgyeopsal to Filipino diners created jobs for many Filipinos. Immediately restaurants opened jobs for waiters, dishwashers, cooks, guest relations or restaurant managers, etc. It also has strengthened our international relations with South Korea concerning our exports and imports. In addition, there is a growing number of Korean students and Korean tourists who have sprouted in the Philippines, which indicates the quality of education that we provide. When Koreans stay in the country, there becomes a possibility that they would want to taste the samgyeopsal version in the Philippines.
Korean Dramas that Feature Drooling Samyeopsal Scenes
Samgyeopsal is a popular Korean dish where the meat is either marinated or seasoned and is cooked on a grill. Mostly served with samgyeopsal sauce, side dishes, and lettuce. It became immediately famous in the Philippines because of social media trends. Korean dramas and films mirror the Korean culture – and including the food. Several famous Korean dramas feature scenes over samgyeopsal that make you drool and crave for more.
- Weightlifting Fairy where Kim Bok Joo and friends teach the proper way to eat samgyeopsal – they call it BFN which means barbecue, fried rice, and naengmyeon or Korean cold noodles and end it satisfied saying “swag!”;
- Fight for My Way lets the viewers choose between two types of boyfriends, one who offers to wrap the samgyeopsal just the way you like it or the one who gives you unlimited lettuce;
- Coffee Prince depicts Go Eunn Chan as someone who does not waste any meat because every meat counts;
- Viewers envy Sung Deok Sun when she catches a guy smiling at her while she enjoys her sumptuous samgyeopsal meal in Reply 1988;
- and Let’s Eat 2’s characters Goo Dae Young and Baek Soo Ji argue how often one should flip the samgyeopsal.
Brought by these Korean Dramas, many Filipinos have grown interested in this food not just because of its delicious food but also of the revolutionary Samgyeopsal dining experience it brings to the restaurant industry. Diners find the word “Unlimited” or “Unli” appealing especially to millennials and the younger crowd. Could probably work as a marketing strategy. But it is seemingly effective in some Korean restaurants. Also, side dishes can be appetizers and are delicious in themselves. It just offers a different palate for the samgyeopsal. It gives you a lot of options on how you would want to eat your unli samgyeopsal. You can add either kimchi, soybean sprouts, braised potatoes, eggs, seasoned spinach, radish & spicy cucumber salad, stir-fried zucchini & cucumbers depending on the samgyeopsal side dish list the restaurant is offering. The unli samgyeopsal wrapped in lettuce and dipped in samgyeopsal sauces whether it is Ssamjang, Sesame Oil, Salt and Pepper Sauce, and Wasabi and Soy Sauce complete the flavorful samgyeopsal. Generally, the average price of unli samgyeopsal is just right. There are Korean restaurants that offer cheap to expensive prices range. But either way, here is something to ponder: is the unli samgyeopsal really worth it? Is it worth every cent?
Korean Style Dining Experience
The Samgyeopsal Dining Experience is marketable to the Filipino market specifically to Filipino millennials and the younger crowd. This Samgyeopsal Dining Experience opened an opportunity for diners to get involved in the kitchen. Diners are allowed to cook their own samgyeopsal, choose their own samgyeopsal sauce and samgyeopsal side dishes. Diners who are not good cooks suddenly become professional grillers. And good cooks suddenly become professional samgyeopsal eaters. Who knows, they could come by the Korean restaurant every week. And this Samgyeopsal Dining Experience will be complete when shared with your family or your barkada. Some Korean restaurants have promos on unli samgyeopsal and allow unlimited chikahan with your barkada and family. Some are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Some have instagrammable interior designs capturing traditional and modern South Korea. Some have dancing waiters, some have Korean Pop Music playing to complete the Korean-style ambiance. Each restaurant has a different pakulo. As long as one stands out, and as long as there are diners, the better!
Eating unli samgyeopsal has its fair share of good and bad effects on the body. Protein that diners get from the unli samgyeopsal is good for the body. It fuels energy and helps make antibodies fight off infections and illnesses. It also helps keep cells healthy and create new ones. However, excess intake of samgyeopsal is not good for the body as it can be stored as fats. Not to mention the smell that lingers to your clothes and body after you finish eating or cooking samgyeopsal: “Amoy nag-unli samgyeopsal!”
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Since it started, this craze went on for years and even within the 2 year pandemic lockdown period, when people are asked to stay at home or their condominiums. There was even a trend of moving the Samgyeopsal Dining experience at home! It may seem to be that same old experience, same eating of unli samgyeopsal with samgyeopsal side dishes, only this time, it will be at home and during the quarantine period. Portable grillers were sold, the samgyeopsal side dishes were personally prepared by the diner and the samgyeopsal sauce in Korean Stores were also an obsession. The pandemic created a similar but more meaningful Samgyeopsal dining experience spent at home. Good food, good cooking, and good company sum up the samgyeopsal dining experience whether spent in the Korean restaurant or spent at home.
Samgyeopsal popularity in the Philippines has had a long-term effect on Filipinos. Embracing the Korean culture does not mean that you are already turning backs against the country. It does not mean you are throwing away the culture our ancestors built. It actually brings more opportunity for us to create a new and united culture, a fusion that improves the quality of life and is more relevant to society.
Written by Ruby Baclid