10 (Fri) January 2014
Ki for Ki
I've arrived safely in Manila.
I'll be here through mid-April, working as a consultant in a certain specialized agency of United Nations system. More details to come.
Less than 24 hours upon arrival, the indoctrination begins. As mentioned in a prior post, the Korean staff here have quite the racket going, collecting dues to subsidize their--our, now?--get-togethers on special occasions (see generally 4.263 Parros Clams...). This evening, the occasion was a welcome dinner for me. The treasurer took the opportunity to shake me down for my share. 5,000 pesos each (about USD 125), which lasts several months on average--an enormous sum here, considering that a bowl of noodles or rice plate in an average restaurant costs less than 200 pesos, a bottle of beer 50 pesos. The payment isn't mandatory, but it's mandatory. Welcome to the neighborhood.
Makati is a city bordering Manila to the southeast. Technically, it's 1 of 16 small cities that comprise Metropolitan Manila--aka Metro Manila or the National Capital Region. In stark/startling contrast to the urban blight that characterizes Manila--where the Organization is located--Makati is glitz embodied, broad avenues lined with shiny glass high rises--where most of the international schools, luxury shopping centers, and expat enclaves are located.
The majority of long-term resident Koreans, certainly anyone with kids, live in Makati. Accordingly, loads of Korean restaurants, markets, and other business can be found there.
A respectable spread of banchan (3.0), many of my personal favorites, including (clockwise from top): cucumber kimchi, kimchi, zucchini namul, bean sprout namul, tofu in spicy soy sauce, mung bean muk, sautéed odeng.
Kimchi jeon (2.0)--odd texture.
Roasted garlic (2.0)--not at all Korean, but whatever.
Assorted jeon (2.5)--kinda greasy.
Hoe of some sort over chilies and mixed greens with chogochujang (2.0)--too much gochujang.
Dubu kimchi (2.5)--something odd about the kimchi.
Grilled eel with various wraps (2.5)--something odd about the eel.
Maeun tang of some sort with steamed rice (2.5)--something odd about the fish.
Patbingsu for dessert--didn't taste it.
Mansun (만선) is a Korean restaurant. Located in Makati. Favored by WHO Korean staff. You know how in Little Italy, if a certain pasta joint is patronized by the local gangsters, then the gravy's gotta be pretty good--that's what I was thinking.
However, the food was kinda meh. As authentic/tasty as it gets in the Philippines, supposedly. My first experience with Korean food here. Everything came close, but just falling a bit shy. Inherent differences in the ingredients perhaps, like the soy sauce.
Ki joge (키조개) = razor shell clam.