Don-day Fresh Restaurant: Overdosing on Samgyupsal

Monday, August 1, 2011 § 4

The restaurants of Maginhawa St. are making people drive all the way to Teacher's Village for their unique offerings. A neighboring street, Malingap, also has it's own set of dining places that are waiting to be discovered. One of those being Don-day Fresh Restaurant. Don-day offers a Korean buffet for only 300 pesos that includes a wide variety of authentic Korean dishes and an all-you-can-eat Samgyupsal (Samgyeopsal). You can also get bottomless drinks for an additional 50 pesos.

Don-day has the usual appetizers that one can find in any Korean restaurant. Our favorites are Hobakjeon (squash pancake), Kangnamul (sauteed beansprouts) and Japchae wrapped in nori. They also have Gimbap (Korean maki), Pajeon (seafood pancake), cucumber tempura, tofu with zucchini, eggs and many more. All of these dishes have really great flavors and can actually compete with the appetizers of more expensive Korean restaurants in Manila.

Their Japchae is also a must-try. The potato noodles are fat and has a great bite to it, and the whole dish is seasoned well. They also have beef stir-fry, which is quite unusual since we've never really seen that dish on other Korean restaurants before. It's one of those dishes that have been designed to fit the flavor profiles that Filipinos are used to. I wasn't able to take pictures of all the dishes because people started coming in and I didn't wanna cause any delays on the buffet line.

I am not a fan of kimchi, but Boyfriend kept coming back to the buffet table for it so I believed him when he said it was good. We had to remind each other not to pile our plates up with too much food because we wanted to eat a load of Samgyupsal that night.

Boyfriend and I got a whole plate full of green leaf lettuce, our favorite pairing with the samgyupsal. Others prefer shiso leaves or romaine lettuce. We started grilling as soon as the waitress put the meat down our table. We like that they serve their meat straight from the freezer, meaning it hasn't been sitting around all day on room temperature waiting to catch something dirty. Don-day usually has 2-3 varieties of meat, however, they only had one that night. To compensate for it, they also served us the same strips of pork cooked on a sweet and spicy marinade.

Samgyupsal can be eaten two ways. You can either dip it in gireumjang (sesame oil with black pepper and salt) and eat the meat by itself or add ssamjang (a combination of chili paste, soy bean paste and sesame oil) and wrap it in lettuce or whatever vegetable you prefer. Boyfriend and I prefer a combination of the gireumjang and ssamjang with lettuce.

On days when he's really hungry, Boyfriend would make what we call the Samgyupsal Burger. He would put more than 5 strips of meat on a single lettuce leaf and munch on it like a boss. It's always fun seeing him eat like that. For dessert, they usually have slices of fresh pineapples and watermelon.

We left the restaurant with oily faces (the place has no airconditioning but it is well ventilated) and our clothes smelling like grilled meat but we were full and happy. It was indeed a great day for Korean food. Don-day Fresh Restaurant is at Malingap Street, Teacher's Village, Quezon City.

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