taking the otaku out

Aside from checking social networking sites, the mistress of the universe’s website and personal blogs of close friends, I have developed the habit of browsing deals on group buying sites. I know, I know, the internet is brainwashing me into believing that I need this vacation, that I need to buy this watch or try this restaurant etc and it’s a bad habit, thinking about where to spend money I still haven’t earned, but I’ll work on that later.

Where was I? Yeah, browsing and occasionally buying. Before buying though, I check out four things. First of course is the price (if it is within my range). Second are hidden charges (though I won’t really know because they’re, well, hidden). Third is the validity period (even though I come off as lazy, I still think long term sometimes). And fourth is the location because I am not willing to travel all the way north just for a sale.

This is where Hwaro-in comes in. While browsing Ensogo one time, I came upon a 299 peso deal for an “Authentic Korean Set Meal for 2” inclusive of two orders of samgyupsal, side dishes and two orders of rice. I checked the location and was so happy to learn that it was just within Malate specifically Jorge Bocobo corner Nakpil street. I immediately bought the deal and sent a message to the person who will appreciate my invitation the most, my Korean turned Japanese bebe, Dai.

According to the terms in the voucher, we needed to call and reserve at least three hours prior to our visit. Unfortunately, we were running late for church so we weren’t able to. Thank God the staff accepted us even without a reservation.

SONY DSCWe went there at around 6 PM on a Sunday and we were one of the only two tables occupied. I always like almost-deserted restaurants.

SONY DSCBocobo street.

SONY DSCWords on the wall. The ‘y’ in happiness refuses to give me peace.

SONY DSCUnlike in other Korean restaurants where the grill is heated by fire, the one they have in Hwaroin has actual burning charcoal. Hence, there’s more smoke. Also, the staff put something yellowish on the pan and when we asked what it was, he said they were eggs. Yup, it tasted like diluted eggs.

SONY DSCSide dishes were mostly vegetables. No marble potatoes or peanuts with honey or sweetened banana.

SONY DSCDai’s favorite, the soup. We usually just call this one tofu soup. Apparently, it’s called Doinjangjjige. Nope, I wouldn’t remember the spelling next time. I just copy-pasted it from Ensogo’s website. It’s spicy, hot and delicious. I just wish it was refillable.

SONY DSCThat Sunday was the last day of my GM week and my real feast day because I can eat anything so imagine my excitement upon seeing all those fat, my first taste of pork in 7 days.

SONY DSCKuya did all the cooking and cutting while Dai and I watched, saliva dripping from our mouths with the occasional gulp.

SONY DSCWhen it was time to eat, we asked the very kind kuya to take this picture and we immediately devoured the food afterwards. In Filipino, “galit galit muna“. The meat was okay, nothing beats Maru’s ngukgansal (or something like that) for us. The meal in its entirety though, was worth it. We were both full and very satisfied.

SONY DSCLast bite, always the yummiest and the hardest.

SONY DSCIt was only after the meal that bebe and I got to really talk. And I found out that her life has been reduced to a routine of hospital duty-condo-watch anime/read manga-download anime/manga-meals in between and a few hours of sleep just because it’s a physiologic need and not because she wants to. She’s a full blown otaku (Japanese term for people with obsessive interests especially to anime and manga), she’s aware and she’s proud. She relayed to me the feeling, of not wanting to leave your bed just because the manga you’re reading has an interesting turn of events, of being contented with not interacting with or seeing friends as long as there are new episodes to watch, of letting your helper buy all the foods you are craving for because Robinson’s Manila (a 5 mniute walk from where you live) seems so far away. I can attest to this ‘change’. Before, we don’t go our separate ways earlier than 9PM. During the past few weeks though, she’s always itching to finish whatever meal we’re eating, go home, and read/watch her latest downloads. But not this time.

SONY DSCDai said it’s a good thing I invite her out from time to time so that she can get in touch with reality because she admitted that sometimes she couldn’t pinpoint which was which anymore. I have to agree that’s why I’ll look for more deals (haha, lame excuse). The pleasure is mine bebe, the pleasure is mine.

And another wall decor which caught my attention but upon second inspection, I realized there’s nothing so special about it.

SONY DSCTo delay her manga reading (lol), we stopped by Robinson’s Manila. We were curious about a newly opened stall in front of the Supermarket called Masatami shave ice. This reminded us of the one we had in Little Tokyo so we decided to try.

SONY DSCAnd I learned that Hawaiian shave ice is plain ice with syrup while flavored shave ice is flavored ice that is shaved.

SONY DSCWe asked the ate what their bestsellers were and she said Chocnut and Swiss Cheese. I’m glad that we listened to her advice. Chocnut did taste like Chocnut, only cold and smoother. The ice was thinly shaved (finer than Razon’s and  snow cones) and I think they have a special shaver or something. Only, you have to consume it fast because it melts easily. It’s like ice cream, but not really.

SONY DSCAnd the Swiss Cheese was soooooo good (nice-to-know: deliciousness of food is inversely proportional with Dai’s generosity. If something is mouthgasmic, she refuses to share it and I would ask for more to irritate her haha). There’s the distinct taste of cheese minus the saltiness, perfect for dessert. The texture was light. My only complain is that it’s kind of expensive at 60 pesos because it only appears generous at first but the ice just takes too much space. I doubt if this serving occupies half of the container when melted.

SONY DSCLet my bebe’s picture tell you how good Swiss Cheese was. Next time we’re ordering large.

SONY DSCWith a dose of reality, she can now go back to her other life. :]


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