When in Manila, you may have chanced upon Chef’s Noodle, a noodle brand serving affordable dishes that were thoughtfully created by award-winning Korean chef, Choi In Sun.
With its first branch strategically placed in University Mall, along Taft Avenue, which is common ground for numerous universities, it’s evident that the restaurant caters to students and anyone looking for budget friendly meals with a great value for money.
But don’t be fooled by the minimalistic interiors and conservative aura of the restaurant for they serve flavorful meals made only with the freshest ingredients.
From the name of the brand, you’d expect a lot of uh, noodles? But you’ll find that the menu offers quite a variety of dishes that are not only intriguing but are truly satisfying and worth the trip.
The first thing that caught my eye was the sushi selection. Sushi? In a Korean restaurant? I don’t know if that’s pretty common ‘cause I’m not a huge fan of Korean cuisine but everyone knows I’d kill for sushi. I immediately asked the waiter for their best-seller and yes, not-so-surprisingly it was the most expensive among the choices.
Starking Fire Sushi (P160)
The Starking fire sushi is seasoned rice topped with thin strips of Australian beef. I was surprised because one, I’ve never had beef sushi. And two, it was brought to the table raw and was torched to achieve a perfect medium-well state. Though a bit bland, it was a definite showstopper and one to try.
Of course chef’s noodle wouldn’t be without their noodles. We started off with the Bibim Noodle – Korean cold noodles in sweet, spicy, and sour sauce topped with Tamago, bean sprouts and Bulgogi. Korean dishes are well known to have a spicy touch that ought to make your taste buds dance.
Bibim noodle (P130)
You have a choice between Mild or Korean spicy and I think we dared to order the Korean spicy blend. Yeah, it was pretty intense. I’d suggest that you don’t dig in as is. Mix the dish really well to distribute the sauce instead of consuming it in its pure and deceiving form.
A tamer and more popular choice is the signature Chef’s noodle – Korean fresh noodles with beef broth topped with vegetables, Bulgogi, and Tamago (which is imprinted with the brand’s name. In Korean, I suppose.) This somehow is the more consumer-friendly choice and can be appreciated by most people because its taste is similar to the Filipino favorite, Bulalo.
Chef’s Noodle (P150)
Another intriguing portion in their menu is the pancake section, which is a collection of dishes that take the form and are inspired by pancakes…but aren’t really pancakes. For instance, the Wanja Steak Jun is fried beef pancake topped with cheese and egg. If you’re a fan of Longsilog, you’d appreciate this clever twist to it minus the Sinangag – which it doesn’t come with. So if you’ve chosen it as your main course, I suggest you order a cup of rice on the side to appreciate it even more.
The Bulgogi Leek Jun though, justified the pancake theme more than the previous item. It’s a Korean Bulgogi pancake that is similar to the traditional omelette. With hints of beef and vegetables, it’s a healthy and a reasonable addition to an already scrumptious meal.
Wanja Steak Jun (P175)
Bulgogi Leek Jun (P99)
I think the restaurant aims to promote Korean food in a revolutionary way by incorporating favorites from other cultures. Aside from the sushi, we tried a dish called Leek Shrimp Twigim – Deep fried leeks and shrimp in a special tempura batter. Who doesn’t love tempura, right? Even kids would enjoy this!
Leek Shrimp Twigim (P99)
To top it off, we were challenged to try the Spicy Ddukbokki – Spicy and sweet rice cake. Judging from the previous item, we were a bit hesitant but to my surprise it was actually really good. The concept itself is new and intriguing. In the country we have a variety of rice cakes that come in different colors, all tasteless to mildly sweet. Who would’ve thought rice cakes could be eaten with spices?
As expected, it was chewy and rubbery. I couldn’t imagine how the people, who entered their recently held Ddukbokki eating contest, consumed everything in a limited time but as far as my taste buds are concerned, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a spicy dish.
Spicy Ddukbokki (P150)
Apart from the dishes the I have mentioned, they have a selection of budget meals that come with a single glass of iced tea, which I am sure are also worth trying. Overall, the restaurant has made me develop an adequate appreciation and a new found love for Korean cuisine. Their menu is full of delectable and exotic dishes in hefty servings that will keep your tummy happy.
When in Manila, and itching for a Korean fix, Chef’s noodle will surely give you the absolute cure without harassing your wallet.
2F University Mall Taft Avenue, Malate Manila
Store Hours: Mon – Fri:10:00 am-9:00 pm & Sat:10:00 am-6:00 pm
Contact num: (+632) 4050129 / (+632)7089520
Visit their official website www.chefsnoodlephils.com