Whenever I visit Los Angeles, we always go to Pinoy Pinay in West Covina. But Seoul is not like LA, where you can have Filipino food any time you want it.There are only a few places in Seoul catering to the Filipino palate: Hyewha Filipino market on Sundays, that Filipino store/eatery near the Philippine Embassy in Itaewon, Kusina Filipino Restaurant in Haebangcheon, Cebu Grill near Ehwa Women’s University in Seodaemun-gu and Jovy’s Grill near Cheonggyecheon in Seongdong-gu. Thankfully, JR BBQ in Itaewon has been holding a “Pinoy Fiesta” special on Sundays.
Friend Joel Closa has been inviting me since November of last year to dine at JR’s. It was only last Sunday, January 24th that I got to enjoy the food at their “Pinoy Fiesta” special with my girlfriends. And we had so much fun ~
We got there around 7pm ~ but their doors open at 2pm. We ordered everything on the menu but they ran out of “crispy pata” ~ deep-fried pork hock. Their food is priced reasonably from 9,000 won to 18,000 won. Rice is not included and you need to order that separately. They have San Mig Light promo of 6 + 1 bottles for only 39,000 won or you could order a pitcher of San Miguel Draft for 28,000 won.
What did we have? Sinigang na baboy, sisig, beef caldereta, bopiz, pata tim and lechon kawali. We had two orders of lechon kawali ~ it was delicious especially with the vinegar-soy sauce dip. Everything in the menu was good and worth trying.
Beef caldereta is a Filipino-style beef stew. JR’s version has grated cheese on top. The meat was tender and creamy and the sauce was just right. Best eaten with hot rice.
Sinigang na baboy has pork cubes in a tamarind-based soup. I like JR’s version because the sourness is just right and the soup has a lot of veggies in it ~ including okra. It was very cold last Sunday and the hot sinigang soup was the perfect comfort food.
Sisig. I grew up in Angeles City and sisig has been my favorite Filipino viand since I was 9. My favorite sisig is the one my “ate” cooks and she prepares it whenever I go back home to the Philippines. She also brought me some when she visited Seoul a few years ago. I’m a “sisig snob” ~ and I like my sisig the original Pampanga style ~ not with egg or mayonnaise and with lots of minced onions. The sisig is good and I would recommend it. I would just ask them (next time) not to add egg and to add more onions.
Bopiz is minced heart and lungs cooked in tomato-based sauce. I would recommend this dish ~ especially with San Mig Light. It is a dish perfect for “pulutan” or 안주 (anju) as they call it in Korean. It’s also good with rice.
Pata Tim is a Chinese-style pork hock stewed in soy sauce. JR’s version is okay and the meat is tender. I’m not really familiar with “pata tim”. I personally prefer “pata hamonado” ~ the one made with pineapple.
Lechon kawali is the best among the things we ordered. It’s just a simple dish of crispy pork belly, usually deep fried. JR’s version has been oven grilled and it’s just perfect. The skin is crispy ~ and was gone in seconds. Now the sauce ~ the vinegar-soy sauce dip is just the bomb! It was so delish and goes well with the lechon. I imagine it would also go perfectly with “tokwa’t baboy” ~ tofu and pork Filipino dish.
Is JR BBQ’s Pinoy Fiesta worth going to? Absolutely. And we are going back. I’ll probably go there with my husband, too. He doesn’t care for Filipino food but he loves sinigang. Next time, I would make sure to go there early ~ so I won’t miss the crispy pata.
Aside from the food ~ JR’s BBQ is worth visiting for the fun atmosphere. I can’t say enough good words about the hosts and the staff. They were all very attentive and friendly. It was truly a “Pinoy Fiesta” atmosphere. They also have Karaoke Night from 5PM and everyone is encouraged to join. Just for fun, you could sing a song or two ~ but be aware that there are lots of good Filipino amateur singers.
The food. The fun atmosphere. The spacious and decent interior is also a plus point. I wouldn’t think twice taking my Korean family to this place. It is clean and there’s space to move. They also serve other food ~ not just Filipino. Before we left, one of the guests ordered a platter of fried goodies and our mouths just watered ~ again!
JR’s BBQ is also very easy to find ~ just a few steps from Itaewon Station exit 4. It’s on 3rd floor of the building. You won’t miss it ~
“Pinoy Fiesta” is only ON SUNDAYS from 2pm. Karaoke Night starts at 5pm.
I own all the photos in this post and the opinion stated here are mine as well ~ and we paid for the food we ate 🙂