South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Best of Filipino Food in Korea at Cebu Grill and Live Bar

Entrance of Cebu Grill in Seoul

Korea has slowly been opening its door not only to Western food and Oriental food but also to the Philippine Cuisine. I know a lot of Filipino restaurants at Hyewha-dong which is open only every Sunday and I personally witness that while majority of the patrons are Filipino, there are several foreigners and Koreans intentionally visit the Filipino flea market every Sunday just to get a taste of Filipino Food. I think it is now safe to say that Filipino food can penetrate to the Korean market, although it’s not that easy, but eventually, it will. It takes a lot of courage for somebody to really establish an authentic Filipino restaurant that serves not only for Filipino migrants but to other nationalities as well especially the Koreans.

Well, somebody from Cebu is brave enough to open a restaurant in Seoul that serves Filipino food, the Cebu Grill and Live Bar owned by Ms. Anne. Seeing that they open in a daily basis, Cebu Grill and Live Bar is not only marketing to every Filipino who misses eating pinoy food but also to everybody living here in Korea. According to the owner, they have a lot of non-Filipino customers. Aside from Koreans, they have Indian and American customers who go to their place just to eat and sometimes to unwind.

Chilling and meeting with FLAN (Financial Literacy Advocates Network) with the owner Ms. Anne

Cebu Grill and Live Bar was established last September 2014. It is still a baby business but its existence has been spreading like wildfire especially to the Filipino communities. It’s a fusion of a restaurant and bar. The owner doesn’t want to remove the element of “bar” atmosphere because she wants to cater to customers who don’t want only to eat but to drink and have fun. The drinking culture of Korea will indeed favor this idea.

AMBIANCE.

Inside the Cebu Grill and Live Bar
(c) Jack Rusl

When I arrived at the place, I was like “Why it’s dark in here?”, then I realized that it’s a restaurant and a bar, so basically, it should be dim, at least that’s what I know about bars (‘coz I don’t go to bar… haha). But for some reason, I liked how they have low wattage lighting inside the restaurant because it gives a youthful vibe, I don’t know if it’s just me, but that’s how I felt.

I like the interior design of Cebu Grill and Live Bar. It was artistically designed that it looks like a sophisticated modern club. It’s obvious that the owner has invested a lot in the furniture, in the decors and decorations. In general, it gives a homey ambiance. You can feel like you are in your own abode where you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the food and drinks.

The Bar area
(c) Jack Rusl


The place is small though. While it’s a good place for intimate and romantic setting, I just think the place will be easily overcrowded especially if you come in group.

SERVICE.

At Cebu Grill and Live Bar, you can’t see waiters in uniform serving you in a delicate and formal manner. The owner of the bar herself will cook for you and serve you your food together with her accomplices. With her jolly personality and accommodating staffs, you know you’re in good hand. Small acts like asking you if the food is ok, if it’s warm enough or not and whatnot, it makes the customers feel important. And since she’s hands on to everything, you can taste the passion in the food they are serving.

Cebu Grill and Live Bar also offers side entertainment to the customers. There’s a small stage in front of the room with drum set, guitar, TV screen and some musical stuff. When we went there, it was scheduled for live viewing for the fight of the century also known as Mayweather Versus Manny Pacquiao fight. We watched the boxing show while having our lunch. In some other days, they also invite bands to entertain the customers, and sometimes, the staffs themselves including Ms. Anne take the center stage to give customers a show.

the mini stage for some entertaining show
(c) Jack Rusl


Ms Anne said that the place could serve a venue for a meeting, for reunion, for gatherings and whatnot. It’s a place for everything you want to do (decent activities of course).

FOOD.

Now let’s go to one of the most important aspects of a restaurant, the FOOD!!!

Of course you should expect Filipino Food at Cebu Grill and Live Bar cooked in a Filipino way and serve in a Filipino way. Let’s take for example, the shrimp. Nothing’s really special about the shrimp. It’s so simple and looking ordinary, but I remember home with its simplicity. It’s one of those “lutong-bahay” type of food that you can’t help but eat with your bare hands.




I also like the way they present their food. I like it when they put soupy dish in a unique pot like this.
We don’t have like this in the province in the Philippines, but we have a different version of this and I suddenly remember those days when I used to cook sinigang in a pot that looks like that. How nostalgic it is.



We also ordered grilled squid. It’s perfectly grilled and flavored. It’s not so tensile, so it’s easy to chew.



Here’s my favorite, the lumpia.



It’s so simple and ordinary outside that it looks no better than any other lumpia in the world, but as they say, do not judge the book by its cover, you should not judge this lumpia by its own wrapper. It has so much good tasting stuff inside. I can’t describe it much because I am still debating for myself if it has pure meat inside or if they stuff other staff like veggies. But for me, it’s delicious.
Aside from these, you can also order other Filipino type of food depending on the availability.
And for the prices, I did not get a chance to check the menu, but for what we ordered, which is good for 6 people, we paid around 18,000- 20, 000 won (=$18.00-$20.00) per head.

LOCATION.

Cebu Grill and Live Bar has already transferred to the new location. You can check the information below for the clear directions on how to go to the place via the subway.



It’s easy to locate, I appreciate it much that they provided clear direction on how to go to the place. It was my first time to go to that side of Korea and I did not find it hard to locate the place.

So for those who are here in Korea and miss Filipino Food, you now know where to go. There’s nothing compare to the feeling of being at home while enjoying the food you used to eat. This is not only for gastronomic adventure but also to party with friends and family.

14 comments:

  1. We just visited Cebu last weekend and found several Korean restaurants everywhere. It's so cool that this Cebu Grill and Live Bar is located in Seoul! Wow, there must be lots of Filipinos there. It looks like an awesome place to hang out and chill besides enjoy food.

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  2. I had a moment of confusion, I thought this bar and resto is here because of the word Cebu, so I read again and realized it's in Korea. I haven't been there so I'm not sure about the existence of pinoy restos. It's nice to learn that there's a Pinoy resto there

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    1. I actually asked the owner why she named it Cebu because it would be risky for her market since she's marketing not only for Filipinos, then she told me that Cebu is very famous in Korea, they know about the place and once they'll hear it, they'll know it's a Filipino restaurant.

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  3. Worldwide, Filipino restaurants are increasing especially in Dubai City where I worked before. Truly, this Cebu Grill in Korea could launch another level of business.

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  4. It's good to hear news about Filipino success stories like this one, somehow I am also proud because I am a Filipino, that our food and culture are being accepted in other nation such as Korea. I wish Cebu Grill will stay longer and stronger to be able to expand their business to other places in Korea, and who knows? maybe other countries in Asia as well.

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  5. It's great to see filipinos succeed overseas. It's good to know that you have a place to go to when you feel homesick. I wish them more luck.

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  6. it's nice to feel at home even though you're in a different country... well, scratch jollibee out..kasi its generic.. i mean yung ganitong klase ng lugar..

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  7. I agree with you Saranghae Korea...CEBU is flock of Koreans now. And that is why the owner use the name CEBU as his marketing strategy for his business in Korea.

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  8. Wow! this resto is a fave ng mga Pinoy sa Korea. My brother did mentioned it to me too.

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  9. People all over world do love Filipino food. It's nice to know that this restaurant is making a name in Korea.

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  10. It certainly is good to know that Filipino food is not only appreciated here ion our country and that bearing a local name is actually working to its advantage.

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  11. I went there once and the food is both so-so and overpriced.

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  12. I went to this place expecting some good filipino food from what the writer has mentioned here. We went on a saturday night. For a weekend, the place was EMPTY. we were the only customers there. We had sisig and sinigang and rice. The food was ok, it wasnt the top notch, maybe we were just really missing pinoy cooking. But for this 2 dishes we paid 20,000 won (approx 18$) each and there was 2 of us. Eating out in korea maybe quite expensive but this was a bit to OVERPRICED. Im sorry hinde na ako uulit.

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  13. I love to taste Filipino foods as I really enjoyed that while my living and working in the Philippines for years. I tried one pinoy resto in itaewon this afternoon, it was really nice and reminding me of my days in Phils. Someday soon I must be going to Cebu Grill.... See you soon!

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