Thursday, December 24, 2009

Meal in the City: "Bibimbap" at Mashitta, UP-Diliman

[It's been a while since I did one of these posts, sorry! I...I keep forgetting to take pictures of the meals I eat even when I already know I've got my mobile phone on hand....]

First off: hey, to friends and readers and visitors from all over the world, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

The boyfriend and I REALLY wanted to have kimchi as part of our midnight Christmas feast, so we recently dashed off to UP-Diliman, to see if we could score our usual kilo of the stuff. We have a source there and now I'm gonna let you in on the identity of that source.

If you want cheap and GOOD eats at UP-Diliman people will inevitably point you in the direction of the Shopping Center. Don't let the rundown forlornness of this aging little building fool you. Aside from a great source of UP paraphernalia and a wonderful camera shop that sells rolls of good-old fashioned film of all kinds, plus several bookshops, there's a VENERABLE quick-eating joint there that everyone at UP knows and loves and goes to. Rodic's is FAMOUS for its fried-rice-and-beef-jerky-with-egg dish. [Also known as tapsilog.]

Across the way from Rodic's is a combined Korean/Japanese place called Mashitta [and I can't shake the feeling that there's a typo in there somewhere, but anyway]. THAT'S where we stop every now and then for a kimchi run, as they produce a GOOD one. So good, in fact, that we're not the only ones who go there. They actually came up dry on this recent run - they had none to sell, and only enough to make the day's dishes with.

At Mashitta I love to order their Korean rice dishes. For this particular visit, here's what I had:

This is the joint's take on bibimbap. I've broken the egg up and started to mix all the ingredients into a pile, with a generous hit of red chili bean sauce on top.

For cheap, comforting Korean food, this place - really little more than a hole in the wall with a mezzanine level - is hard to beat. The vegetables are treated with utmost respect and mash together into a healthy mix; the egg gets additional savor from a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds tossed over while frying, and the rice is piping hot and very soothing [although occasionally hot enough to burn, so eat carefully].

I also love their take on kimchi fried rice and would have had some if they'd had kimchi. Yeah, sure, you'll look VERY weird after eating because your teeth may well be stained by the pickles, but it'll be a very satisfying meal nonetheless.

Of course it's not traditional by a long shot: no semblance of correct eating utensils, no hot tea, no side dishes. It's bare-bones Korean cooking - I can't call it home cooking - but it's fast and it's damn good quality for the money. I mean, hey, we make pilgrimages to this place, so we're really serious fans. And you should come by some time to visit, too.

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