Earlier this month, I met with my closest college friend for a catch up session. And since she's a fan of K-Pop while I'm a fan of Korean cuisine, we decided to go all the way from Taguig to Teachers Village in Quezon City to try one of the most inexpensive and most famous dining spots for samgyeopsal, Don-Day Fresh Restaurant in Malingap Street.
Located just in front of Pipino, Don-Day Fresh Restaurant is known for offering an eat-all-you-can Korean buffet for only P199, and the buffet plus samgyeopsal-all-you-can for P299. With prices as low as these, it's no wonder that this humble Korean restaurant has made quite a buzz not just for Korean food lovers, but in the foodie scene in general.
My friend and I had to take a cab to Teachers Village since the place is not really quite accessible for commuters. When we arrived in Malingap Street, what greeted us was the unassuming facade of Don-Day Fresh Restaurant, a spacious open-air eatery similar to samgyeopsal restaurants seen in most Korean dramas. And although the place doesn't have air-conditioning units, it had big windows and electric fans for ventilation.
We first went off to check the buffet spread. There weren't actually a lot of dishes to choose from. But for the price, there was enough food and we couldn't ask for more.
|Sweet marble potatoes|
|Fried sweet potatoes, kimchi pancakes, pajeon and hobakjeon|
|Chungwon or Korean spring rolls|
|Dynamites and Japchae-nori rolls|
|Korean potato balls with sesame seeds|
|Tangsuyuk or sweet and sour pork|
There were more banchan items, soup and main entrées I wasn't able to take photos of since I didn't want to get in the customers' way. However, I felt a little sad 'cause I was hoping there'll be some kimbap (Korean sushi rolls) or dukbokki (spicy rice cake) as I've seen some featured by other bloggers who've already tried Don-Day Fresh Restaurant.
The buffet table also had some sauce plates with gireumjang (salt and black pepper in sesame oil), ssamjang (seasoned soybean-chili paste) and chili-soy sauce, if I'm not mistaken, some shiso leaves and a wide assortment of greens for the wrapping and dipping pleasures of diners like us who availed of the samgyeopsal buffet.
After settling in our table seating, a server brought us two plates of samgyeopsal which are raw, fatty slices of pork belly for grilling, and prepped our table-top griller. And since we were already craving for meat, we wasted no time in cooking our samgyeopsal.
My friend and I took turns in cooking the meat. She likes her samgyeopsal cooked all the way through, while I like mine a little less done. Either way, we love these meaty treats!
I enjoyed pairing my samgyeopsal with shiso leaves which had a refreshing hint of mint since they came from the mint family. Added in some salty, savory and spicy ssamjang and I'm all set. I also tried it with kimchi and some gireumjang before wrapping everything in lettuce, and it tasted phenomenal -- simple yet bold enough to satisfy the palate.
After over two hours, about six plates of samgyeopsal, and a lot of trips to the buffet table, it was finally time to pay up and leave. But since they have a fridge full of Korean ice creams in Don-Day Fresh Restaurant, we can't leave just yet.
My friend had a Bbong Ddah (P50) which is a light blue-colored ice cream in a tube, while I had an Encho (P50) vanilla ice cream popsicle which had a chocolate center and is also coated with cracking chocolate and nuts. Both are from Binggrae by the way.
My friend and I truly had a very filling Korean dinner at Don-Day Fresh Restaurant. Sure, the buffet spread may not be too extensive and offers different Korean dishes on a cycle. However, nothing can beat the unlimited samgyeopsal for just P299. Note though that it's better to visit Don-Day Fresh Restaurant when you don't have anyone important to meet afterwards since you'll really smell like smoked pork after the meal. Or, just bring an extra shirt and a bottle of your favorite cologne or perfume.
Ambiance - 3/5
Service - 3.5/5
Price - 5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Don-Day Buffet - P199
Samgyeopsal Buffet - P299
Bottomless Iced Tea - P50
Don-Day Fresh Restaurant, Quezon City
40 Malingap St., Teachers Village
Quezon City, Metro Manila