I have been meaning to try Sodam Korean Restaurant for a few months now, however, it was a bit out of the way because I somehow always end up in malls.
But I had a chance to try it last night and I was just utterly excited by how much of an amazing value the buffet is. The buffet is only P299! No, really. It’s only P299/ person! I think that is really amazing considering everything that you can get. And yes, that’s P299 whether it’s a weekday, a weekend, lunch or dinner.
The buffet is not such a big spread, but the food is good and always prepared fresh by the owner’s mother. It’s authentic Korean food, prepared by a Korean! The highlight, of course, is the barbecue, where you can grill meat to however done-ness you like.
And do you know that the P299 price tag also includes iced tea? Update: I was misinformed on my first visit. I went back to Sodam with my family and found out the iced tea is not included with the buffet. The iced tea is P100 (bottomless).
So, at Sodam, P299 gets you all the food you can eat at the buffet spread, and unlimited pork and beef slices for barbecue. You have to admit, that’s amazing!
The restaurant itself is a bit small and looks like it has been around for a few years, but it looks clean and well-taken care of, and the chairs and tables can get a bit crowded. The owner was very hands on and the whole night, we could see her helping customers and arranging food, directing the staff. Seeing her around makes me feel confident about the food and the restaurant. Nothing like seeing an owner who cares for her restaurant to make one want to eat there more.
Here’s what a typical table looks like:
Parking is limited to the parking area at the front of the restaurant, so you better have a plan to get parking space by being there early.
There’s a long table in the middle of the restaurant where all the food for the buffet is placed. Once you’ve gotten a table, just get a plate and start getting food!
The dish changes – when a dish runs out, they may not replenish it with the same dish, but they might serve up something else. The food is always freshly prepared / cooked, and delicious!
There’s lettuce, kimchi, various Korean appetizers like omelets, honeyed potatoes, chap chae, fried rice, meat dishes, and soups!
This thing is one of my favorites! I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s a sticky tube of glutinous goodness (like a ginataan’s bilo-bilo) wrapped in bacon-y meat.
These honeyed baby potatoes are just super good!
Here’s the bibimbap station:
When you’re ready for the meat, just ask the waiter to bring you some meat. They always bring you the meat in pairs (pork and beef). They’ll turn on the grill for you, and you can use the tongs to start grilling!
I personally like to grill my meat until they’re a little crispy, like bacon! But we kind of messed up with placing the meat (see above picture). The meat has to be put on the grill flat, as flat as you can, just like bacon – not bunched up, because some parts might be cooked and the bunched up parts might still be raw… and take care to separate the meat strips before grilling.
How to eat the meat:
You can eat it however you like, but traditionally, you make a pouch with lettuce — get a lettuce leaf, put some grilled meat and whatever else you may want to put on it, like kimchi, rice, etc… and some of the sauce (the spicy one, the garlicky one, or the oil with salt & pepper or a combo). Then wrap it up (use your hands, so make sure to wash your hands!) and eat it.
I totally love this place!
- It’s very affordable and very good value for money.
- It’s very casual, and the owner is hands-on. Seeing her there just makes me happy to eat there.
- The food is great! Always fresh buffet dishes and meats.
I plan to go back there with my family very soon! Update: I did! Went there with family today and everyone was saying how sulit it was for P299. I still can’t stop thinking about Sodam. It’s not a very fancy place – it’s actually quite homey. But that just wants me to eat there more. It’s like some secret place that I discovered where one can get amazing food at an amazing price.
Cons: Everything about me smelled like barbecue, from my hair to my clothes! But I really don’t mind!
How to get to Sodam:
I just followed Waze directions. Sorry, I’m not really familiar with that side of P. Guevarra after crossing Wilson St.
And please note that some of the online maps I’ve seen have Sodam at the wrong location.
The correct location is: Sodam is on P. Guevarra, past Wilson St. (not on the same side as Cafe Ysabel), near North Park and Petron.
Update: Oct. 31, 2015 – Price has increased to P329 per person. It’s a 10% increase but it’s still very reasonable! Reservations are preferred now because Sodam is almost always fully booked! When we walked in last Saturday, we almost didn’t get a table! We were only seated because a reservation was scheduled for 7:30 pm, and we arrived at 6pm, so we had to eat fast and be done by 7:30, before the customers with the 7:30 pm reservations arrived.
Update: Dec. 15, 2016 – I was told that Sodam has moved to a new location 2 minutes walking distance from the old location. I haven’t been to the new place yet. I have updated the address below to the new one:
Sodam Korean Restaurant
17 J. Abad Santos Drv., Little Baguio, San Juan City
Hours: 11:30 AM to 2 PM, 6 PM to 10 PM
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The Barat Queen
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