Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I "Heart" Lettuce Wraps

Some memories stick like glue in the mind. If it was a good one, you'd certainly want to repeat the same at least one time more. That first lettuce wrap dining experience definitely got me hooked such that even after several months have passed, I still drool over the thought of literally drooling at each mouthful of meat and spice filled lettuce. Not to mention wetting hands while folding the leaves to keep the fillings intact.

That first time was in Pearl (Korean Meatshop and Restaurant) right across Jo's Chicken Inato in Osmena Blvd., a few blocks away from Cebu Capitol. This time, Laagholic Bee, famous for her controversial blog (pun intended) More than Just Love in Loveland, succumbed to a sporadic and random invite to Gaisano Country Mall for lunch. Initially, we thought of the Japanese restaurant but somehow the road brought us to Korea (figuratively).

"PEARL" stood out clearly on an overhead banner and the smaller inscriptions below it read "Korean Meatshop and Restaurant". Both of us were surprised at how fast it has branched out across Cebu in maybe a period of less than 5 years. The other two locations they stand along A.S. Fortuna St. and another near Cebu Capitol Site. 

Picture placards of lettuce, chop sticks, table-top grill, and kimchi flashed in mind. My stomach has gone giddy already and I couldn't wait to sit and start digging on their side dishes. I personally find their chopped cabbages (mixed with chili flakes, taste of sesame oil, salt and vinegar) my favorite rice substitute. As long as it is free and refilled limitlessly, I care less for rice. At P200, you are served a plate of samgyeopsal, and unlimited garlic, onion, chili paste, soy bean paste, soup, cabbage and lettuce leaves -- all served fresh,


Dining is so much fun when you are doing the grilling and the mixing of your food by yourself let alone the enjoyment of working the chop sticks, filling, and folding the lettuce leaves using bare hands. Every mouthful is delightful while the sauce drips down your lips. Instinctively, you reach your tongue out to catch it before it drops on your office shirt.

Tip: If you plan to eat inside a walled restaurant that has an open grilling station (e.g. CARNIVORE), you may want to consider putting on your extra shirt. That is so you can change back to your office top before going back to work. Otherwise, you will be conscious of how you smell like smoked meat around your colleagues.

This lettuce wrap dining experience is surely one I would like to to do again and again. Probably because I enjoy cooking food myself. Plus, it has the laid back and fiesta feel of the Filipinos' version -- the Boodle Fight.

I was thinking of my family back home whom I wanted to share this experience with. Finding help from shelves of Imported Goods in our local mall, I managed to purchase a bottled soy bean paste, lettuce and cabbage cloves, chili paste, and pork strips. I put together a replica of my PEARL experience. I was happy to serve my parents a healthy Korean-like dish and engage them in a fun lettuce wrapping food bonanza.

My attempt to a Korean lettuce wrap dish.

How about you? What's your favorite Korean restaurant in Cebu? Drop me a comment below.

Wallet Watch: approx P400 each because we also ordered a plate of sushi.

PEARL: Korean Meatshop and Restaurant
The Strip, Cebu Provincial Capitol Site (Address 1)
A.S. Fortuna Street, Mandaue, Cebu (Address 2)
Banilad, G/F Gaisano Country Mall (Address 3)


  1. Now I'm hungry. Kuyog ko sunod. Haha.

    1. Yohoo.. the more.. the manyer.(and merrier).. haha

  2. Oh no! I see me and I miss inday Pearl. lol bwhahahaha!
    Mike, sushi = kimbap in Korean (php 150).
    lettuce wraps = ssamgyeopsal

    Sure, Khon para for more ssamgyeopsal. ^_^

    Laagholic Buyog


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