Beyond Kimchi at Donday!

A few weeks ago, friends and I met for lunch at Donday, a Korean restaurant located in Malingap Street in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.

Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese and of course, Filipino food, are Asian cuisines that I can easily get. Oddly, Korean food is something  which I practically know nothing about–this despite Korean establishments being around the Philippines for more than twenty years!

The best way to experience a culture, short of actually visiting the country concerned, is through its food. For example, clearly indicated in the preparation of Japanese food are the people’s pride in discipline and artistry. There is no Japanese food that takes a bad photo, none at all (more later on why I can make this claim). The way rice and fish are rolled carefully into nori and cut perfectly is just something that takes my breath away and many times, I’ve been hesitant to dig into sushi because it was simply too beautiful to eat.

Korean cuisine, according to some of the food shows I’ve seen, follows a certain principle when it comes to food preparation. Like, a certain set of colors always have to be present in each dish or something like it (I’ll read up more on it). The result is often like a piece of art. Such as the picture below (mind you, this was in a buffet set-up, where people just dump food there and customers are let loose):

The name of this dish escapes me at the moment but wouldn't you just want to get your chopsticks on this? I sure did.

Ask me about Korean food and I’ll say only two things: kimchi and bulgogi. The buffet at Donday showed me that it’s a lot more than that, of course. Although I was gastronomically enamored of kimchi, haha. Man, I loooved it! You don’t need an acquired taste to like it, I think. The smell can put you off for a few seconds but then, I’ve been around non-Koreans who worship this stuff and was therefore used to it. I braced myself for some serious tongue-scorching, though. I mean, I love spicy food but do not relish the thought of possible singeing off a layer of my tongue.

Whee! Kimchi!

Well, no tongue-scorching at all despite returning to the buffet four times for it. If you ever find yourself in an Asian buffet, skip the rice. Rice is heavy and once you’re full from Asian food, believe me, you can’t eat another bite. The cuisine is mostly healthy but can be rich and therefore, filling.

COMMERCIAL BREAK: The aim of a buffet is to let you sample as many foods as you can BUT that doesn’t mean loading your plate to heaven. For every visit, take three kinds of food. For quantity per, keep it between two to three. Don’t be greedy, there’s more than enough for everyone.

Now back to our regular programming. I enjoyed the kimchi so much that I basically forgot everything else. Yes, the cabbage dish was spicy but it wasn’t as spicy as I expected. Maybe the restaurant toned it down a bit? Must kimchi be spicy with a hint of sweetness?

When the chapchae was brought out (and like, gone in sixty seconds), I didn’t get a chance to photograph it. Chapchae is a noodle dish and I found it a bit on the heavy side. You’ll have to go for a walk afterward  for it to go down. But every bite sure was worth it!

Other dishes that I photographed are:

I'm not too sure if these spring rolls are truly Korean. There wasn't anything distinct about it and seemed to be just the usual spring roll. Good, though.

Like the spring rolls, there's nothing distinctly Korean about these in terms of flavor, preparation and ingredients used. But maybe I'm wrong? Any assistance would be much appreciated!

From Donday, I learned that there was such a thing as Korean bacon, samgyeopsal. My impression of Korean cuisine is that it’s primarily vegetarian and this really surprised me. The strips of meat are just delicious.

As it’s bacon, it’s oily so it’s unnecessary to add more oil. Tables in Donday have a special griller so you have the option to cook various meats too.

My second favorite thing from Donday, after the kimchi, was the Korean bacon. Yum, yum, yum!

I don’t know how you’re supposed to eat the Korean bacon. I mean, do you treat it like you would any other bacon? It was a brain-twister actually, and we each had our own way of eating it. Mine was to wrap it in lettuce and chomp.

My friend Bem is confronted with what appears to be an existential problem: What the hell do I eat first? And how?

The lunch buffet in Donday goes for Php 300, inclusive of ulimited beverage. You can’t argue with the price and the food either. If you’re going there for lunch, make sure you get near the area as early as eleven-thirty a.m. or eleven forty-five. The customer turn-out is unpredictable. On some Saturdays, you can choose wherever to sit while there are also weekends where you have no choice but to drag your feet towards a booth that you don’t like.

Donday is an open-air restaurant too, that’s why it’s important to come early so you can pick a booth against the wall. That’s where the fans are. You can opt to sit by the window too but when it’s noon, it’s seriously hot! They don’t take reservations, by the way.

On second thought, a window seat might not be so bad. Hmm..

Malingap treet (from C.P. Garcia, make a left towards Mini-Stop, which is on Maginhawa Street. Malingap is right after the Bayantel Building)
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City



9 thoughts on “Beyond Kimchi at Donday!

  1. dina lee says:

    thanks for appreciating donday restaurant nakakataba po ng puso ang mga nabasa ko, this is dina lee of donday im the owner and ako rin po nagluluto ng foods the pictures looks great love it!!!!! thank u so much^^

    • Oh my God, thank you! I was there last Friday (July 8) and then yesterday (July 11). What can I say, I’ve become a glutton for Korean food! I love, love, looove Donday! Thank you, thank you! This is such a fan moment for me! Ganito pala ang feeling showbiz (you being the celebrity and me the starstruck fan).:-)

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