UPDATE: There’d been confusing statements about whether or not you need a travel pass and medical certificate when visiting Tagaytay during this period of social distancing, but the government’s news agency finally said that only those from MGCQ areas don’t need passes — everyone else would need to secure necessary documents. Anyway, if you’re visiting the area soon, here’s an overview of what to expect (sans the wearing of masks and extra sanitization, of course.)
Last month, we celebrated my wife’s birthday at Samgyupsalamat in Tagaytay. We’d planned to spend the day at the beach, as is usual for us when there is a family occasion (the planning to go to the beach, that is, and not the actual going to the beach), but her sister suggested we try the popular restaurant’s Korean BBQ, or samgyupsal, which it offers in an eat-all-you-can deal. Because the air was still chilly at the time and hence didn’t augur well for the prospect of swimming, the Samgyupsalamat suggestion was easy to say yes to.
Samgyupsalamat Tagaytay’s location
The Tagaytay branch of Samgyupsalamat is located within the Zoo Residence Inn compound. To get to the restaurant, you have to walk down a labyrinthine path where, on both sides, you are inches away from live animals in aquariums and terrariums. You commune, so to speak, with different species of snakes, fish and turtles, among others. Considering you’re there for unlimited Korean food, it can be a little disorienting seeing all these beautiful wild animals around you as you make your way to overflowing sumptuous dishes. It’s a very much welcome additional if unexpected experience, in any case.
Once you get to the restaurant proper, you get a nice enough view of the Taal volcano and lake. I say nice enough because I’ve seen more breathtaking views of this beautiful natural landscape from other angles. But, of course, I’m not complaining. A nice enough view is so much better than having no view at all.
We were having lunch for my wife’s celebration, which was just the perfect time because Samgyupsalamat’s unlimited pork fare (composed of 5 dishes) is offered at a reduced price of Php 399 per head from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 3 p.m. onwards, it’s at Php 449. Meanwhile, the beef-and-pork variant of the deal, which includes nine unlimited pork and beef dishes to choose from, is at Php 449 per head during the discount period and Php 499 for the rest of the day.
The unlimited samgyupsal meals come with unlimited side dishes of mostly vegetables. The pork dishes are called daepae samgyupsal, buljib samgyupsal, yangnyum daepae, gochujang samgyupsal and yangnyum moksal. The side dishes, meanwhile, include kimchi and fresh lettuce, along with onions, potatoes, cabbage and other veggies each cooked in sumptuous ways which I, unfortunately, can’t name because I have very limited knowledge of Korean culture and Samgyupsalamat’s website makes no mention of them. (Haha.)
It’s hard to pick favorites among the pork and vegetable dishes because they were all so delicious, so much so that the experience has set off in us an almost constant craving for Korean cuisine, which we’re more than glad to satiate with frequent visits to Korean joints where we live.
Aside from Tagaytay, you may also visit Samgyupsalamat in three locations at Malate, Manila (two are near DLSU and one near Mabini); Sampaloc, Manila (near UST); Katipunan, Quezon City (near Ateneo); Banawe, Quezon City; Jupiter St. Makati; Metropolitan Ave., Makati; and Century City Mall.