Archive for the ‘Korean Cuisine’ Category

Refreshing Bingsu


Next to the Philippine’s most popular dessert halo-halo, here is one of my most favorite all-time refresher when the craving hits, which could be anytime. Bingsu is a Korean popular dessert made with shaved ice and topped with different flavors. My favorite at the Zoom Cafe in Susupe is the Coffee Bingsu.

The Coffee Bingsu is served with a scoop of ice cream on top with swirls of caramel which makes every bite heavenly delicious. On top of the shaved ice is a serving of sweet red bean paste and crunchy cereal. Other flavor options at the Zoom Cafe are strawberry bingsu and the red bean bingsu. A must-try when you visit Saipan!


Refreshing Island Shave Ice

IMG_1278  HERE’S a new and refreshing way to beat the heat — a cool cup of island shave ice at the newly opened Island Shave Ice in Garapan.

Stop by the place just beside ABC Store across from DFS Galleria and you will find a former police outpost converted into a stall providing refreshments at very affordable prices.

I ordered SignaIMG_1288ture Shave Ice — a heavenly concoction of specialty flavors including ice cream, fresh sweet cream topped with white mini-tapioca pearls served in a conical plastic cup. It comes with a small plastic spoon and a straw. Signature Shave Ice is a must-try — the deeper you dig with your spoon, the better the flavors get.

For its initial offering, Island Shave Ice has 14 flavors which include Island Wave, a blend of pineapple, vanilla and passion fruit; Isa Flow — mango, raspberry and vanilla; Tropical Sunset — guava, banana and strawberry; Marianas Trench — banana, orange and watermelon; and Chamorro Coconut — coconut, piña colada and coconut bites. All for $4.50 each.

IMG_1297Also available: banana, coconut, bubblegum, guava, cotton candy, mango, orange, pineapple, passion fruit, piña colada, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla and watermelon. All for $4. Add 75 cents for each add-on for more flavors such as azuki red beans, coconut bites and flakes, Oreo crumbs, gummy straws, mini-tapioca pearls and vanilla ice cream.IMG_1295

Island Shave Ice is owned by Patty Mendiola and Andrew Ellinson. Patty’s sister Celeste Mendiola, a pastry chef at Oahu Country Club in Honolulu, flew in from Hawaii to help with the preparation of the menu and flavors.

Patty Mendiola said most of their ingredients are from Hawaii.

Soon, she said, Island Shave Ice will also have ice pops with a variety of flavors for the health-conscious.

For inquiries or reservations, email

First published at the Marianas Variety here

A cold or hot pot of bibimbap

SOME like it hot, served on a sizzling stone pot. Some like it cold, served fresh and ready to eat.

I had never considered bibimbap — a signature Korean dish with mixed vegetables, sautéed and seasoned, sliced or ground meat, and fried or raw egg at the bottom — a favorite dish, until I got to know it better not too long ago.

Monte Vista Moomin Mura
Nam Dae Woon Sam Ho Garden

One of my buddies always ordered cold bibimbap and I would crinkle my nose each time. I would watch her mix the ingredients and eat then with gusto. Then another friend took me to Seoul One Restaurant in Garapan for a taste of dolsot bibimbap which was served in a hot stone pot.

A food staffer brought a tray with six little platters of side dishes and a big stone pot with carrots strips, mongo sprouts, lettuce and raw strips of beef topped with raw egg. There was no way I was going to eat that!

Handing me a spoon, my companion instructed me to stir the contents of my stone pot. I never expected the pot to be that hot, turning the rice at the bottom into crispy, golden brown color just the way I liked it. The vegetables and the raw beef crackled in the heat, emitting a very mouth-watering aroma that made me hungry.

Very soon, everything in my bowl was cooked the way I wanted it — egg and beef strips and all flavors blending in. I took a tentative bite and another until the next thing I noticed, I had cleaned the bowl — a rare thing to happen.

Bibimbap, which means “mixed rice,” is famous in Jeonju, Jinju and Tongyeong in Korea.

Sashimi House Seoul One

“Bibim” means mixing, and “bap” means rice. The history of bibimbap dates back to “Siuijeonseo,” an anonymous cookbook from the late 19th century. Some scholars say bibimbap originated from the traditional practice at an ancestral rite of mixing all the food offerings in a bowl before they partook of it.

Because of the convenience of its preparation, bibimbap has become famous in other countries and is also being served on many airlines that fly to South Korea.

Other variations of bibimbap use seafood such as salmon, tuna, tilapia or octopus.

On Saipan

Bibimbap is always available at any of the Korean restaurants on island. Each restaurant serves a different version. For instance, Seoul One and Monte Vista Restaurant serve raw egg while others top it with a sunny side up or a well-done egg.

If you haven’t tried bibimbap, check out any of these restaurants:

Seoul One is on the second floor of Sushi Restaurant across from GIG Discotheque in Garapan. It is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Credit cards are accepted. For reservations, call 233-1900 or 233-7776.

Monte Vista Steak House Restaurant is on Navy Hill and is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries and reservations, call 322-3324 or visit

Sam Ho Garden Restaurant in San Antonio is open for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Credit cards are accepted. For reservations or inquiries, call 234-3535.

Nam Dae Woon is in Garapan. Just follow the road besides Dollar Days heading toward Middle Road until you see the big sign by the road. It is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Only cash is accepted for now. For inquiries or reservations, call 233-2324.

Sashimi House in San Antonio is at the Silver Hotel Building, is open from 10 a.m. until 5 a.m. For more information, call 234-8787.

Moomin Mura in Garapan is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, and from 5:30 to 9 p.m. for dinner every day. Major credit cards are accepted. For reservations or inquiries, call 233-5097.

First published at the Marianas Variety

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