Dae Jang Geum, up from the beach in Alona, opened a few months ago and for us foodies it was eagerly awaited. While the name may be unpronounceable for some of us, they have simply dealt with any ‘lost in translation’ issues by clearly signing the establishment as The Korean Restaurant.
We have purposely (and patiently) waited to review this restaurant to give the owners a chance to iron out any start up issues. Giving them full credit the operators seem to have gained a foothold in the Alona food scene both with tourists and the well healed locals alike. Our waitress, after handing out chilly cold hand towels (nice touch) informed us that the majority of patrons were Korean and Chinese (tourists) but some Filipinos seem to have found adventurous taste buds as well as the Alona foreign contingent. On this outing we were joined by friends, one of whom has significant food intolerance issues which makes dining out quite a challenge. Full credit to the staff who handled the copious questions about ingredients with good grace and thoughtful responses. The restaurant itself offers an extensive menu of Korean staples and even with the challenges of dietary requirements we found it easy to find a great selection. In this instance we ordered Kimchi Stew, Kimchi fried rice and Rice topped with Bulogogi. Our mains came with the usual array of side dishes (kimchi, beans, egg slice etc) all of which were perfect accompaniments. To say the meals were a surprise would be an understatement. The owners and chef have obviously decided to produce top quality food and take pains to ensure each dish meets traditional nuances. Each dish was flavoursome, well presented and reflected the best of Korean fare.
The restaurant Interior is nicely fitted out considering the challenges of accessing decorative touches in Bohol and other than the sub zero air-conditioning was a pleasant place to escape to from the midday heat. While it’s obvious you are not in Korea, with the right company and enough Soju you could be mistaken.
Just a note to restaurant staff. Just because air-conditioners have a sixteen degree setting doesn’t mean you have to use it. Research proves that twenty four degrees is just fine!
It’s encouraging to see enterprises like this start and prosper in Bohol, especially Alona. It’s also wonderful to see the proprietor keeping a keen eye on the orchestration of the front of house staff and even coming over to see that we were happy with our meals. Other operators could learn a thing or two from their professional approach.