The Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) in Zambales used to be an American military base. Nowadays, it’s more popular as a tax- and duty-free zone where businesses, shopping malls and hotels/resorts have been established. It’s one of the few places which you could visit when you’re in need of a vacation and can’t afford to go somewhere too far.
A lot of people also flock to Subic Bay because you can score some items there that are cheaper than if you get them in Manila. Of course, this doesn’t hold true to all the items you get to see and/or are they always recommended. I remember how I used to hoard a lot of imported chocolates there, but have since learned that although I saved a few pesos, I always ended up with melted chocolate because of the country’s humidity. Seriously not a good idea.
Aside from shopping and swimming, Subic Bay also has a number of restaurants which you could visit and enjoy a hearty meal. With a lot of Koreans taking residence in this part of the country over the past few years, it’s no wonder Korean restaurants are now everywhere. We dropped by one such place, Bulgogi House Korean Restaurant, for lunch during one of our afternoons there.
We started the meal when banchan was served: (clockwise from top left) squash, something which resembled kimchi pancakes, traditional kimchi, boiled peanuts with syrup, spinach with sesame oil, and eggplant slices.
The banchan also included this really hot pot of steamed egg. The adults and some of the kids in our group enjoyed eating this.
In Chinese, we have something very similar which we call tim neng. My grandmother used to prepare it all the time at home, and it does bring back so many good memories. Some people like it plain while others prefer to put other stuff in. Examples would be pork, dried scallops, dried shrimp, etc.
Chapchae / Japchae (approx. Php300+). People close to me know I really enjoy eating this noodle dish. I like it so much I make it at home sometimes.
We ordered two sets of grilled meats to enjoy: Beef and Pork. Our server assisted us with the cooking.
You may opt to wrap those grilled meat inside these vegetables along with some sauce, which were also served on the side. If not, then just eat them with rice!
We also ordered a serving of this soup with tofu, vegetables and a type of Korean fish. We requested for it to be served mild instead of spicy.
While deciding, we were told by our server that we might not like the Korean fish soup because a lot of Filipinos who ordered this told them that it tasted weird. We decided to continue with it and see what’s up.
So, did it really taste odd? Not at all! Most of us found this to be highly enjoyable. The soup was light, not too salty and did not leave a nasty aftertaste.
…Or maybe we found it good because our group consisted of mostly Chinese individuals. The similarities between Korean cuisine and Chinese cuisine could have been helpful. 🙂
With a full stomach, we were all ready to head out and do the things we wanted to do next. The kids went home to rest, while most of the adults decided to hit the outlet stores and see what bargains we could find.
Except for the strange number of flies buzzing around, Bulgogi House Korean Restaurant was a pretty good place to dine at. They serve decent food and prices weren’t too expensive, considering the amount of banchan you get along with your choice of meat.
As for the flies, it was peculiar because the place was air conditioned and with no open windows/doors. We saw that their staff were taking steps to try and control the situation, but weren’t completely successful in doing so. Although I’m not very sensitive when it comes to that (as I’ve dined in more unpleasant conditions and didn’t whine about them), I do hope this can be improved on so that their reputation as Interpark Hotel’s in-house restaurant won’t be negatively affected.
**Find yourself within the area? Bulgogi House Korean Restaurant is located at the Interpark Hotel, along Dewey Avenue in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.