Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food Trip: Icheon Korean Restaurant

My friends and I were coming down from Antipolo church one Friday evening when we started to have dinner pangs (at 6pm) so we decided to stop and eat at Icheon, a Korean restaurant along Sumulong Hi-way. My friend, Cho, had eaten there before and we wanted to see if it lived up to its hype.

The outside of Icheon is nothing spectacular. Its covered parking area actually looks like a car wash lot (perhaps it used to be in its previous incarnation) but since it was beginning to rain by the time we got there, the covered parking was a huuge plus for us. 

this is where you can eat kneeling/sitting on the floor
Once we got inside, we were greeted by several enthusiastic servers with rounds of "Anyong-haseyo" meaning hello in Korean. We had the option of being seated in regular wooden chairs and tables or in the no-footwear room, where we can eat while kneeling/sitting on the floor. (I believe you also cook your own meat if you sit here - note the grill on the pic on the right).

"banchan" or korean side dishes
It wouldn't be an authentic korean dining experience without the spread of side dishes or "banchan" which we eagerly accepted. By this time, we were already ravenous to the point that we might have ordered a wee bit more than we can consume. :P (We had to take some of the seafood pancake home because we were about ready to burst when the dust finally settled.)

We ordered the Sam Gyup Sal (rashers of bacon) and Gal Bi Sal (rib finger) (both are meat that are cooked while you watch), the Haemul Pajeon (korean pancake mixed with seafood) and the Haemul Jap Chae (korean style seafoods pancit) and O-jing-ou-bokum (spicy sauteed slices of squid and assorted vegetables). Cho also ordered a Bi bim bap (rice with beef and mixed vegetables, fried egg and korean spicy sauce).

cooking the Sam Gyup Sal
seafood jap chae
seafood pancake
spicy squid - YUM!
The Sam Gyup Sal and Gal Bi Sal were served with lettuce leaves and seasonings (I believe the recommended way of eating it is to wrap the cooked meat with the lettuce and season as you'd like it with the seasonings available). The seafood japchae was a nice mixture of savory and slightly sweet. I really enjoyed it. The seafood pancake was chock full of ingredients - they didn't skimp on this dish at all. The pancake was a bit thick and when dipped in its accompanying sauce - oh so good! The real winner of the night for me was the spicy squid - it was very, very delicious! Perfect with plain rice, I ate everything that was covered in its sauce, the seafood, the vegetables, the plate (hehe, just kidding.) I liked it so much that it kind of overshadowed the other dishes for me.

Would I go back to eat here? A very loud and resounding YES! And next time, I'll be sure to bring Ian with me. :) I believe the price is consistent with other Korean restaurants in the market but for the authentic taste and the very friendly and accommodating service, i think it's worth coming back here for more.

Icheon Korean Restaurant
Along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo
(If you're coming from Marcos Hiway, turn right at Masinag Market intersection. It'll be on this stretch of road to your left.)

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