Home Cooks and Aspiring Chefs Take The Spotlight at This Year’s Global Taste of Korea

A total of 19 home cooks and aspiring chefs battled it out in the kitchen at this year’s Global Taste of Korea (GTOK) held at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Culinary Institute last Saturday, 23 June 2018.

Divided into two categories, namely Bulgogi Battle and Freestyle Cooking, the competition was set to recognize some of the country’s best cooks with a heart for Korean flavors.

GTOK kicked off with the intense Bulgogi Battle in the morning. From bulgogi skewers to bulgogi empanadas, 10 contestants were challenged to put their own spin to the popular Korean meat dish.

With his Bulgogi Rice Burger, student Roie Rendel Calauag placed third in this category, while student Beverly Gail Cua bagged the second prize with her Bulgogi Crepes. Winning the judges’ taste buds, accountant Maria Dolores Narciso trumped the rest of the contestants with her version of the traditional Bulgogi Bibimbap.

The Freestyle Cooking competition tested the contestants’ ability to create original recipes inspired by Korean dishes. The challengers did not hold back from getting creative, as they showcased never-before-heard dishes.

Placing third in the Freestyle Cooking category is Maria Fresa Repomata, who impressed the judges with her hearty pot of Sundubu Jiggae. Amiel Santos’ healthy and picture-perfect Quinoa with Spicy Stir-Fried Octopus took the second prize.

Besting all the contestants in the two categories is businesswoman Maria Angelica Latuno, whose Kimchi Fire Balls emerged as the overall winning dish. As this year’s champ, Latuno also received a roundtrip ticket to Korea courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

Written by Krew member Andy Flores



[KCCBanner] 10 Meokbang Phrases

If you’ve been reading the KREW blog, you might have browsed through “10 Korean Phrases-ASAP!”. Now, it’s time to bring another 10 K-phrases to the table, this time with food!

Let’s first define terms : “먹방” (meok bang), means “eating program”. This term comes from the combination of two words “먹어” (meogo) meaning “eat” and “방송” (bang song) meaning show or program.

1. 맛있겠다 (ma si get da)  | Looks Delicious.

I’m sure with the recent meokbang trend in Korean variety, you got yourself saying “맛있겠다”-a hundred times! This is one of the reasons I have a love-and-hate relationship with meokbang shows because they never fail to make me crave for K-food! What’s worse, is if that K-food is hard to find in Manila!

2. 배고파요 (bae go pa yo) |  I’m hungry.

Have you heard of the four stages of meokbang? First, you watch your favorite meokbang show. Second, you start to crave for the food you see. Third, you go crazy trying to find a Korean restaurant here in Manila- that delivers. Finally, you suddenly feel “배고파요”- even though you just ate lunch. I went through that over my jjajangmyeon craving!

3. 배불러요 (bae bul leo yo) | I’m full.

This phrase, “배불러요”, on the other hand, is what you might say after you eat…again.

4. 같이 먹자 (gat ji meok ja) | Let’s eat together!

If you want to invite your friends over your own meokbang party, just say “같이 먹자”.

Formal: “같이 식사해요” (gat ji sik sa hae yo).

5. 먹었어요? (bap meok eos seo yo) | Have you eaten?

Literally “밥” (bap) means “rice” but, it can also pertain to “food” in general.

So when you see your friend glaring at you, as if she is about to “devour” you while you eat- probably she hasn’t eaten yet! Might as well ask, “밥 먹었어요?”, and share your food. If you’re the one asked, you can reply, “네 먹었어요” (ne meok eos seo yo) meaning “Yes, I already ate”.

Formal: 식사하셨어요? (sik sa ha syeos seo yo).
6. 먹겠습니다 (jal meok ges seum ni da) | I will eat well.

Said before every meal, this phrase is a very important part of the Korean dining culture. You say, “잘 먹겠습니다” to show your appreciation to the one who prepared your meal. This also means that you’ll enjoy eating it.

7. 먹었습니다 (jal meok got seum ni da) | I’ve eaten well.

After enjoying a hearty meal, you say “잘 먹었습니다” showing your gratitude to the one who prepared your meal. This also can mean you compliment the cook’s skills.

8.맛이 있어요 (mas si is seo yo) | It’s delicious.

Nothing can express your happiness after eating your favorite food than complementing it’s taste, “맛이 있어요”. No offense but, if it’s bad then you have to say “맛이 없어요” (mas si eop seo yo), “It’s not delicious” or literally, “It has no taste”. 

9.짜요, 달아요, 매워요 (jja, dal a yo, mae uo yo) | Salty, Sweet and Spicy.

Since Korean food often revolves around salty, sweet and spicy food, it’s important to know how to say them, just to express what you might taste!

10. [FOOD] 주세요 (deo ju se yo) | Can I please have more of [FOOD]?

Lastly, when the cravings doesn’t stop and you’re still not “배불러요”, you can always ask for more, [FOOD] + 더 주세요.

Ex: 물 더 주세요 (mul deo ju se yo) | Can I please have more water?

I hope you enjoyed my 10 meokbang phrases and, 잘 먹겠습니다~ ^^

God bless!

Written by Krew Member Max Chua 


[KCCBanner] Healthy K-Snacks under 200kcal!!

Whether you are currently on a diet or you simply just want to eat healthy, here are 3 K-snacks that won’t sabotage your “health-goals” and still satisfy your K-craving!


  1. Tom’s Farm Almond Nuts.

Almonds are a great source of fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats that can help you feel fuller and prevent various heart diseases. This recently made known almond nuts from Korea, that comes in Wasabi and Honey Butter flavor, goes at around 175-180 kcal per 30g serving. There’s no nutritional information at the back of the package, so I got this measurement from a Korean blog and through FitnessPal. The picture shows the 35g serving, which is what you’ll often see in Korean local markets in Manila, which I’m assuming is around 210-220 kcal. So, if you are conscious with calories- better share it with a friend!


  1. Yang Ban Kim / Dried Seaweeds.

Dried seaweeds are a great source of vitamin B-6, which is essential to brain health and function. It also contains antioxidants that protect every cell in your body from damage caused by free radicals and other environmental stress (LiveStrong, 2017). This fun snack, I often eat as a kid, goes at around 30 kcal for 5g, that means the whole pack!

Of course, you do have to limit yourself with dried seaweeds because they’re a little high on the sodium! Still, this is a healthier option than junk food.


  1. Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk.

Lastly, Korea’s most famous Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk, with one tetra pack, or 200 ml, going around 160 kcal and is a good source of calcium.

At first, I would admit that I didn’t understand why Korea had this “banana-milk-craze”. Even now in the Philippines! For me, it tastes like “banana syrup” (fake) and I always thought it was “so-not-a-banana”. Then I got a chance to visit other asian countries, like Taiwan, and surprisingly, their banana smells exactly the same as this milk! I didn’t get to try the banana of Korea but, I’m assuming it probably is also like that. Anyway, just a fun fact!

I hope you now understand that being on a “diet” or simply staying healthy doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself with “boring” or “bland” food. It just means you have to check your portion sizes and eat your favorite snacks in moderation.

God bless!

Image source: Google

Editor: Max Chua 

Gastronomic Fun and Culinary Creativity Rule at the 2017 Global Taste of Korea

The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC) has yet again wrapped up another delicious affair: The Global Taste of Korea 2017.

Held at the Lyceum Philippines University (LPU) Culinary Institute last Saturday, 29 July, the most-anticipated Korean gastronomic event in the country attracted hundreds upon hundreds of avid foodies of all ages.

Now on its fourth year, the goal of Global Taste of Korea remains the same: To offer Filipinos a bite of Korean culinary culture for an entire day through fun, interactive, and educational platforms. And with the growing number of Filipinos taking interest in Korean cuisine, as seen on popular films and dramas, the annual celebration of Korean flavors has never been busier.

A variety of booths lined the 4th level hallway of LPU’s Culinary Institute, ensuring that every guest experiences Korea in a local and cost-free setting.

The Korea Tourism Organization in Manila (KTO) handed out free posters and guide books to anyone who wishes to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, while food booths gave away unlimited helpings of staple Korean snacks and side dishes such as kimchi, ramyeon, and dumplings.

Eager visitors also had the opportunity to don the hanbok, the traditional Korean costume. Gamely posing for pictures, they looked like character pulled straight from a sageuk.

Setting an avenue for a deeper understanding of Korean cuisine, KCC organized cooking workshops for attendees who want to learn more about the history and basic how-tos of Korean cooking. At the end of the workshops, the attendees were able to prepare kimchi and bulgogi, marinated slices of meat that are either grilled or stir-fried.

But perhaps, the most exciting part of this year’s Global Taste of Korea is the cooking competition. Divided into two categories, Kimchi Battle and Freestyle Korean Cooking, a total of 22 cooks took the challenge to be hailed as this year’s best Korean cook.

Betina Erika Lim’s winning dish for the Kimchi Battle Category: Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla

From Left: Lyceum of the Philippines Culinary Director Chef Christopher Bautista, Kimchi Battle grand prize winner Betina Erika Lim, and  KCC Director LEE Jincheol

For the Kimchi Battle, Betina Erika Lim bagged first prize with her Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla, which she fashioned to look like the Taegeukgi or the Korean Flag. Airose Caloobanan (Beef Sinigang with Kimchi) and Angeli Mae Sapno (Steamed Kimchi Pork Buns) also proved to be the judges’ picks, as they received the second and third prize, respectively.

Regine Monsanto’s version of Dwaejigalbi-jjim or Korean-style braised pork ribs

The Freestyle Korean Cooking was a bit more intense, as 11 cooks heated up the kitchen with their own renditions of Korean favorites. Taking the third prize is Amiel Santos, who put a modern twist to the classic bibimbap. Hazel Quiamas got creative with her take on japchae, which she stuffed in a while pan-fried chicken, and took the second prize.

From Left: KTO Director Park In-Shik, Freestyle Korean cooking grand prize winner and Best Korean Cook Regine Monsanto, and KCC Director LEE Jincheol

Besting all 11 contestants is Marianne Regine Monsanto, a 28-year-old cook, who has been joining the Global Taste of Korea’s cooking competition since its first year. She won the judges’ palates with her version of the braised pork rib dish dwaejigalbi-jjim. She is also named as this year’s Best Korean Cook. Aside from the cash prize she will be taking home, Monsanto is also awarded with a roundtrip ticket to Korea, courtesy of KTO Manila.

The day ended on a high note as the auditorium erupted in happy tears and exchanges of congratulatory messages. With this, the guests and contestants alike look forward to another exciting Global Taste of Korea event next year.

Written by Krew member Andy Flores

Sweet and cold; Korean Ice Creams and Bingsu

June is just a few days away but Summer is far from over!

In fact, the weather in the Philippines is pretty much unpredictable. It maybe rainy in the morning but extremely sunny in the afternoon. With the kind of environment we have, beating the heat is a must! What else would pop-out in your mind when asked what to eat during such situation? ….. Ice cream!

Are you craving for some ice cream now? Then I suggest that you run into the nearest Korean shop and grab some of these featured ice cream from the freezer!


♦ Ice pops

Eating ice cream can be messy at times but that’s something you don’t have to worry about when eating ice pops. This is the modest form of iced refreshment and also the cheapest one! It is perfect for a quick break or an after meal munch. Ice pop is the Korean version of our ice candy!


 ♦ Fish-shaped Ice cream – (Boggupang Ice cream)

This creatively designed ice cream can be frequently seen in Korean marts and other supermarkets in the Philippines. The filling is made up of vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans, while the outer layer is composed of a thick wafer.


♦ Ice cream sandwich and on-stick ice creams

These chiffon-like sandwich vanilla ice cream and Korean ice drops are still the easiest kinds Korean ice cream to find. You can easily spot them in ice cream freezers at convenient stores and supermarkets.


Bingsu is the Korean counterpart of our ‘Halo-halo.’ Nowadays, the popularity of Bingsu, a Korean dessert composed of shaved ice with fresh ingredients, also conquered the rows of choices for desserts. Yes! There are lots of bingsu shops that introduce variety of flavors for K-foodie lovers! See? Koreans love desserts as much as Filipinos do.

Just to give a quick background, bingsu is one of the most popular desserts in Korea and it is highly consumed during summer. Also, this brings a nostalgic feel to Koreans since it’s a big part of their childhood.

Must try flavors:


Injeolmi – Traditionally, injeolmi is one of the most popular types of Korean rice cake. It has a chewy texture covered with bean powder. Could you imagine the taste when paired with almond flakes and top on a shaved ice?


** I’ve tried a fruit-patbingsu before and the combination is pretty pleasing for me.

Red Beans – Keep it traditional. Patbingsu, with pat literally meaning red beans is the most classical type of bingsu in Korea. The dessert itself is just made up of ice, red beans and milk.

Fruit – a traditional kid’s favorite! (Sometimes even topped with ice cream).

Here in the Philippines, different shops got their own takes on their bingsu menus so try to keep an eye to it!


Chocolate – nothing can beat a good chocolate-flavored bingsu topped with chewy small cubes of chocolate brownies or chocolate corn flakes. Sometimes it comes with a scoop of ice cream!

Suddenly craving for bingsu and ice cream after reading this? There are so many bingsu shops opening around the Philippines and convenience stores offering Korean ice cream now so there’s no more excuse not to try one.

Don’t forget to try any of them before the season ends!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier

Black Day: Jjajangmyeon for Singles


Are you single?

If your answer is yes, then maybe this article is for you! (ㅠㅠ)

In Korea, they have a day especially made for single people (hooray!) Now, you don’t have any reason to frown or be jealous at couples during Valentine’s Day and White Day.

Mark your calendars, single women and men out there, Black Day is observed every 14th day of April in Korea. It comes one month after White Day — where men give special gifts to the special women in their life.

During this day, most articles and Korean shows portray individuals eating miserably while eating jjajangmyeon – noodles drizzled with a thick sauce of black bean paste and garnished with cubed pork and assorted vegetables. Some people eat this while donning a black outfit — they are described as people who have yet to find love in this world. (ㅠㅠ)

Jjajangmyeon Korean Noodles With Black Bean Sauce

After enjoying their jjajangmyeon, sometimes people even drink black coffee after.

** Be warned! Couples are told not to eat Jjajangmyeon together or they will break up. (o_o)

Are you scared of going outside and announcing to the world that you are single? It doesn’t have to be that way because even though such day was made for single people, there are three things you can do to get the wonderful experience when Black Day comes.

1. There are TONS of matchmaking service

If you’re not comfortable enjoying your jjajangmyeon alone, you can have a number of ways to meet someone who can possibly be THE ONE. There are variety of speed dating events, mobile apps that you can check online.

See? It’s not that bad when you announce that you are available. ㅋㅋㅋ

Online Dating

2. Single friends gather together 

The lack of romantic partner doesn’t have to be a sad reality for you. You can invite your friends and just like a normal bonding time, you get to enjoy each other’s presence.

Lee Hyori visits Seoul with SPICA's Bohyung

3. Free Food! Speed eating competitions

Free food? Channel all your depressive thoughts by winning an eating competition. Some stores may hold other games, so get all the information you need before the D-Day comes.

Embrace your “singleness.” Being single is not a curse and for those who are not yet convinced, there’s a famous saying that states, “True love waits.”

The right person for you will come. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Yes, it’s going to take time. But when it comes, you’ll know and you’re more than ready. ^^




What is Black Day in Korea?



Written by Krew Member Jean Singian

Gwangjang, food jjang! Experience Seoul taste in a market


Located at Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 광장시장 (Gwangjang Sijang) or Gwangjang Market is known for their delicious Korean street food!

Considered as Korea’s first market, it continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations of Korea (Visit Korea, 2017).

There is no food greater than street food and tasting Korea’s local flavors allows one to experience the Seoul culture through eating — I couldn’t think of any better way to!

Gwangjang market offers a wide variety of food from Oemok (fish cakes), Mandu (dumplings), Sundae (blood sausages), Naengmyeon (cold noodles), Kimbap (seaweed rice roll) and more!


Food stalls would even post tarpaulins of them being featured on particular local variety show to attract tourists! Actually, if I were you, you’ll enjoy this market more if you watch Running Man Episode 186 (Shim Eun Kyung), one of my favorite Running Man episodes!

But, more than these facts, why do you need to stop by Gwangjang Sijang anyway?

Here are my reasons:


  1. Deliciousness-Overload

What’s good about Gwangjang street food is that each stall offers a different type of flavor! No stall is the same! A mere ddeokbokki (rice cake) can be done in Chinese style — using sweet chili sauce, or Korean style — chili sauce made from gochujang and sugar!


  1. Cheapness like no other

Another joy of eating street food is that your wallet won’t be complaining even after eating 10 (ten) dishes!

Bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) is a must try in Gwangjang! It’s the first thing you’ll see upon entering the market — that is if you went to the right entrance! That onion-vinegar sauce just matches the crispiness of the pancake!

Bindaetteok only costs 4,000-5,000 Won, Kimchi/Meat Mandu costs around 5,000 Won, Mayak Kimbap (drug kimbap) for about 2,500 Won. Where else can you eat something that is both cheap and delicious? Face it, this is the best place for pigging-out!

  1. Meokbang on Insta-bang!

For those of you who don’t know “meokbang,” it means “food program.” The term comes from “먹어” (meogo) meaning “eat” and “방송” (bang song) meaning show or program. In my own term, meokbang means, “make-them-jealous-of-you-eating” program! I remember those Running Man episodes where Jae Suk would munch on Mandu and I would get hungry- well, who’s eating it now! Kidding!


Gwangjang Market is the best place for you to “meokbang”. You can eat a lot, post a lot without spending a lot!

If you’re coming to Korea this year, I hope you can drop by Gwangjang Market- it’s definitely street food heaven!

Written by Krew Member Maxx Chua