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Samgyeopsal ( 삼겹살 ): Why it is a Popular Korean Dish in the Philippines

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Korean culture has influenced Filipinos greatly. From their music, clothes, skincare products, and even their food such as ramyeon, kimchi, spicy noodles, milk tea, and the most popular “samgyeopsal” or Korean barbecue. We can see many posts on social media about it and there are many new restaurants in Manila and even in the provinces that offer the dish. Many Filipinos are going crazy about it because of its unique concept of having various side dishes.


Samgyeopsal is a popular Korean dish that is commonly served as an evening meal. The meat, usually either marinated or seasoned, is cooked on a grill at the diner's table. Usually, diners grill the meat themselves and eat directly from a grill. It is typically served with ssamjang, vegetables, and lettuce leaves to wrap it in.

Samgyeopsal or also known as samgyeop-sal-gui or grilled pork belly is a type of gui (grilled dish) in Korean cuisine. Its name literally means “three-layered flesh” which denotes the layers visible on the meat. It is said that samgyeopsal originated from Kaesong in the early 20th century. The people in Kaesong were known for their excellent skills and innovative ideas when it comes to business. Koreans have long preferred beef over pork, a predilection that dates back as far as the Joseon Dynasty. So, entrepreneurs come up with the idea of samgyeopsal thinking that it would be successful because Koreans love eating meat. 

FACT: Did you know that Koreans observe “Samgyeopsal Day'' on March 3? In South Korea where they celebrate it every year, the average daily sales of samgyeopsal become higher as many Koreans seem to observe this special day. It is celebrated every March 3 because Number 3 in Korean pronounced as “ssam”.

If you're a newbie to Korean cuisine, then the best option for you to try is samgyeopsal fried pork slices. That’s happening all over the place! If you ask a fan of Korean pop music what their first Korean food was, you’ll probably end up with the answer, "Korean barbecue," or "samgyeopsal." Most of them mistake the term "samgyeopsal" to mean all types of meat fried over an open flame that's served at any old Korean restaurant since the term has been popularized that way in the Philippines.

As samgyeopsal became popular in the Philippines, many restaurants opened and offered this Korean dish. Korean restaurants have been popping left and right in the Metro partly because of the growing Korean population in Manila. And despite the strong spicy flavor and distinct smell, there is also a growing interest among Filipinos when it comes to Korean food.

All over Manila, including nearby provinces, restaurants offer "premium Korean barbecue" with special marinades and a buffet for side dishes, too. Prices are usually between PHP 400 to PHP 2,000, depending on the variety. There are some that have fusion dishes with other Asian cuisines. You might also end up having different types of meat, too. Perfect for a family, team, or your next group food trip.

On the other hand, if you're just a meat junkie, then the unlimited deals are the best for you. Prices range between PHP 150 to around PHP 2,000, depending on the side dishes you choose and the popularity of the restaurant. Often, they offer varieties of seasoned beef, pork, and chicken. You may also try the side dishes that come along with it.

Many Filipinos love it too because of the restaurant interiors and designs, some may look like a traditional Korean palace while others are actually covered with pop music memorabilia. If lucky enough, you may try on some traditional Hanbok attire for free, too perfect for your Instagram Story and feeds. At some restaurants, they offer free Polaroid photos for you to keep.

Filipinos prefer to consume ready-to-eat meals because of their fast-paced, time-strapped lifestyles and very hectic schedules, so they tend to eat fast foods that will satisfy their cravings and hunger at a cheap price. This food will uplift your day once you had a taste of it. Make sure to try Korean barbecue one of these days and it’s a sure deal that you’ll keep coming back for more!

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PinoySeoul.com: Samgyeopsal ( 삼겹살 ): Why it is a Popular Korean Dish in the Philippines
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