If you’re in the mood for Korean food  then Malate is your best bet in finding one. Korean restos sprout out within this area like lechon manok during its heyday. A lot are Korean owned and hopefully this lends to the food a more authentic taste.

 Mr. Moo signboard Mr. Chicken resto

I liked how the Korean restos had such catchy signboards. There is a Mr. Moo and a Mr. Chicken signboard.

 Hoa ro exteriors

We opted for this Korean restaurant along J. Nakpil street just because…

 Hoa Ro interiors

it looked really cool! There were this strange exhaust fans hanging out from the ceilings. You can pull them nearer to the bbq pan while meat is being cooked to absorb more of the smoke.

The place made me feel that I was in Korea actually. The customers coming and going were all Korean and the menu was even in Korean.

One thing we found initially strange about this small Korean restos was that there is a mininum order per table of Php600. The Mr. chicken signboard across the street also offers the same minimum Php600 deal. Quite expensive for 2 people but our curiosities have been piqued enough by these small restos and we decided to give Hoa Ro a try.

 Korean spicy soup Egg soup

I understood why there was a minimum order per table after the free appetizers were served. The appetizers were a *lot*. It’s more than any other Korean resto I’ve been to in Manila. Aside from the standard kimchi, potatoes and spicy pickled vegs, there was also a sweet corn and cabbage dish and two types of soup which were very nice. The appetizers were a meal in itself!

 Hoa Ro BBQ meat

Doi Ji Gal Bi Gui Php300– grilled boneless pork ribs marinated in soy sauce

Gal Bi Sal Php350 – beef marinated in soy sauce

Unfortunately, I think the appetizers were the best part of the meal =). The meat were very very tough and chewy. My jaw actually ached from chewing on the meat after some time.

 Korean clam shell soup

Ba Ji Rak Kal Kuk Su Php250 – Kind of like our halaan (clam shell) soup only with noodles and some veg. Refreshing but not something I would go out of my way to have.

Summary : Our first Korean hole in the wall foray turned out to be a disappointment but there must be a better one in the area with so many Korean restos! So I would continue to eat on…

The trend with these small places is to offer just a few items on the menu. With Hoa Ro, we had actually ordered 90% of their menu already =). It was just around 5-6 items to choose from. There is also a minimum order per table which seems to be in the Php600 area so that they could offer unlimited appetizers which their largely Korean customers are used to.

Rating : One-nighter
Food   : The free appetizers

Hoa Roa 92
640 J. Nakpil St. Malate Manila