Kimchi Dishes In Manila You’ll Love Even If You’re Not Into Korean Food

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Kimchi. It’s either you love the stuff or you hate it. There really is no in between. Some people can’t get enough of how spicy, sour, and pungent it is while others can’t stand it for the exact same reasons. But for everyone who belongs to the anti-kimchi group, you might just change your mind about smelly fermented cabbage after tasting these kimchi dishes!

While kimchi is traditionally eaten on its own as a side dish, some restaurants in the metro have come up with brilliant ways to incorporate kimchi into familiar, non-Korean food! This way, kimchi isn’t as intimidating to eat versus if you were to scoop it straight out of the jar. Here are some fun and flavorful kimchi dishes you can try out, including kimchi sinigang, kimchi fries, and kimchi pizza!

1. Bodega Kitchen & Bar–Kimchi Kansi

Because most Filipino restaurants like to keep it old school when it comes to their looks and menu, we usually dine in them with our parents and grandparents. But here’s a new one where millennials can bring their friends and co-workers to! Not only does Bodega look all hip and cool, but their Filipino dishes have fun and creative twists too.

One of their must-try dishes is the Kimchi Kansi which Midz S. raved about in her looloo review. She said: “Their kansi is full of flavor and added aromatics, with a thick soup and tender beef perfect for the cold season. The kimchi taste was also unnoticeable in terms of taste and smell, but was able to contribute in the acidity of the dish. I highly recommend this kimchi kansi. Solid!”

Bodega Kitchen & Bar can be found at Two Central Bldg., 109 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati, Metro Manila.

2. Lazy Bastard–Kimchi Dog

If you’re trying to be healthy, it’s only a matter of time before you get sick of chomping on leaves. Once that day comes, Lazy Bastard is here for you. They have all the greasy things you’ve been dying to stuff your face with while you were on your diet, including tater bombs, fries, onion rings, burgers, and hotdogs, most of which are either wrapped or topped off with bacon!

Lazy Bastard

Kimchi Dog | Photo from Lazy Bastard’s Facebook Page

One of the most popular items on the menu is the Kimchi Dog and it’s not hard to understand why. The kimchi is cooked in bacon fat which lessens the acidity and pungency of the fermented vegetables. Once the hot dog and kimchi have been placed in between the sandwich bun, the creation is capped off with bacon bits for good measure!

Lazy Bastard can be found at these locations.

3. Locavore–Kimchinigang

You can tell the Locavore team had their thinking caps on when they were creating the menu because no one else has such inventive Filipino entrées like they do. By putting spins on traditional dishes, they’ve come up with mouthwatering things like Kare-Kare Wings, Fried Oyster Sisig, and Dinuguang Lechon!

Locavore

Kimchinigang | Photo from Locavore’s Facebook Page

To spruce up the classic sinigang, they came up with their own kimchi-infused version called the Kimchinigang. An order of this gives you pork belly, silken tofu, taro, sigarilyas, and arugula swimming in kimchi and sinigang soup. Every spoonful is a combination of tangy, spicy, and sour flavors that’ll have your tastebuds partying!

Locavore can be found at these locations.

4. Nikuya–Kimchi Wagyu Rice

When it comes to Asian food, the Japanese and Korean cuisines are the most popular in the metro right now. And sometimes, it’s just a little hard to decide between the two. But you actually don’t have to take a pick because here’s a restaurant that gives you the best of both worlds. At Nikuya, you can be cooking shabu-shabu one moment and then grilling samgyupsal the next!

Nikuya

Photo from EJ B.’s looloo review for Nikuya

If you want a dish that’s truly half Japanese and half Korean, order up the Kimchi Wagyu Rice, fried rice topped off with chopped kimchi (Korean) and wagyu (Japanese)! Midz S. explained how she felt about this dish in her looloo review: “Kimchi is my enemy. I don’t like its smell, and its spiciness, but I loved this dish. It was spicy, yes, but each bite I had was bursting with flavors.”

Nikuya can be found on the G/F of Estancia, Meralco Ave., Capitol Commons, Pasig, Metro Manila.

5. Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria–Seoul Pizza

Nonna’s may mean ‘grandmother’ in Italian but its vibe is anything but old. In fact, it’s considered the younger, quirker sister of Mama Lou’s! It’s bright and lively inside this Italian restaurant and the ingredients found in their pantry are just as fresh. On the menu, you get a mix of both traditional Italian dishes and ones that have a bit more of a modern, playful twist.

Nonna's

Photo from Jinky U.’s looloo review for Nonna’s

One of the wackier items on the menu is the Seoul Pizza. It may seem like an odd idea to bring the Italian and Korean cuisines together but this dish proves that it works! In her looloo review, Jinky U. praised this unique pizza creation, saying: “The combination of pomodoro, mozzarella, kimchi, homemade Korean sausage, sesame oil, and soy glaze blends well together.”

Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria can be found on the G/F of Solenad 3, Nuvali, Tagaytay Rd. cor. Nuvali Blvd., Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna.

6. Soban K-Town Grill–Kimchi Fries, K-Tacos, and Korritos

Between Sariwon and Soban (both are by Mr. Sung Rah and the Happyfoods Group), the latter is the more youthful and laidback of the two. You can tell just by looking at Soban’s menu that they’re not your typical Korean restaurant, trading in traditional dishes for more out-there inventions like Koreanized French fries, tacos, and burritos!

Soban

Photo from Jayson J.’s looloo review for Soban K-Town Grill

You’ll find kimchi in a lot of their dishes, including their bestselling Kimchi Fries, French fries covered in cheese, roasted pork bits, and kimchi. You’ll also find some in their K-Tacos, soft tacos packed with lettuce, kimchi, sour cream, cheese, and your choice of meat. Their Korritos, burritos stuffed with kimchi, kimchi fried rice, and your choice of meat, are no exception!

Soban K-Town Grill can be found at these locations.

7. The Minokaua–Kimchi Style Muscles

Every night, you’ll find The Minokaua packed with people because this new watering hole in Malate has everything you could possibly need after a long day at work–sounds, alcohol, and food! Their live music switches between blues, acoustic, and jazz. As for drinks, they’ve got cocktails, liquors, and beers. But it’s their selection of bar chow that really draws in the crowd.

Minokaua

Photo from EJ B.’s looloo review for Minokaua

One of the most interesting things from their menu is the Kimchi Style Muscles. In her looloo review, Sandy P. called it one of her favorites, saying: “These are imported mussels, you can see how big the mussels are! It comes with a toasted bread. It’s perfect again because I love kimchi! I didn’t know kimchi will match the mussels.”

The Minokaua can be found at 1951 Adriatico St., Malate, Manila, Metro Manila.

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About Author

Denise Jose

Denise is a recovering food addict. She distracts herself with photography and keeps off the pounds by doing pilates. She is still struggling, however, and has occasional relapses. Her food comas are mostly induced by oily burgers and chocolate desserts.