AMID the cacophony of voices bubbling around the restaurant, and the clinks of glasses filled to the brim with carbonated drinks, one sound stands out. When the succulent piece of pork hits the sizzling hot grill, the delicious sound of meat being seared fills the room, followed by a mouthwatering aroma that permeates the area and then your clothes.
As simple as the setup can be, Korean barbecue, otherwise known as samgyeopsal, is a flavorful commemoration of life and the goodness of pork. Served with a wide variety of banchan or side dishes, ranging from kimchi pancake and kimchi jjigae to fresh lettuce, it’s no wonder why this filling meal has won the hearts and bellies of many Filipinos.
While some Korean barbecue places in the Philippines and in Cebu have adjusted the recipes and flavors to cater to the Filipino palate, there are others that remain authentic. One of them is Yamichan.
Owned by Korean couple James Jeon and Jehi Yu, Yamichan first opened on July 25, 2017.
According to James, a lot of their friends and family suggested that they open a restaurant. Although they were hesitant, the barrage of compliments and encouragement pushed them to finally give in.
The first branch, Yamiga, is located in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. While running operations in their first branch, they noticed that a good amount of their clientele were Filipinos.
“To spread the culture of Korean cuisine and make it accessible, we decided to open Yamichan,” said James.
Yamichan is one of three branches of Yamiga/Yamichan. It is also the only restaurant open to cater to customers as quarantine restrictions continue to be in place as of writing.
Something that adds to the authenticity of Yamichan is Jehi’s being hands-on in the kitchen. From the ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce) and tofu stew to the fried chicken and many others, Jehi has imparted her touch on the restaurant’s dishes.
“We don't have a specific reason why we use my wife's recipes, but it was just natural for us since I am not as good as my wife at cooking.”
Apart from the restaurant’s authentic Korean food that takes one back to their spring adventures in Myeongdong and Hongdae, James said the success of the restaurant is also attributed to their employees’ roles. He further elaborated that their employees provide excellent service to their customers.
“In addition, I would say that the difference is the quality of the meat that we use! We source good quality meat to provide the best experience in K-bbq,” James said.
Yamichan is located in One Paseo Banilad, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prepare to be immersed in the world of Korean cuisine as Yamichan serves a slew of delectable dishes including those popularized by Korean dramas like Bibim Guksu (spicy mixed noodles), Yangnyeom chicken (sweet double-fried chicken), bulgogi and unlimited samgyeopsal for P399.
Top off the experience with only the best Korean ice cream and popsicles available in the restaurant. If alcohol’s more your thing, make sure to try out makgeolli. James will teach you how to drink the Korean rice wine if it’s your first time—he personally prefers the drink unshaken.
For those who want to try out Yamichan’s food but prefer to enjoy it without leaving home, the restaurant delivers to anywhere in Cebu City. You may message Yamichan on Facebook (@yamichankfood) or through mobile (0995 100 4486 / 0915 605 0497).
Raise your shots of soju and deliciously creamy Korean ice cream! Yamichan is the only Korean barbecue place you need to be grilling at.
Location: One Paseo, Banilad, Cebu City
Operating hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Unlimited samgyeopsal - P399
Premium samgyeopsal - P899
Bibim guksu (spicy mixed noodles) - P300
Korean fried chicken - P600
Dolsot bibimbap (stonepot mixed rice with vegetables) - P350
(Mobile phone emoji) Social Media account and contact details: Facebook ( ), 09562203331.
BONUS ROUND: Steer clear of soju and cleanse your samgyeopsal-infused palate with makgeolli! James, one of the owners, will personally teach you how to drink makgeolli if it’s your first time. It may be just one drink, but simply shaking the content in the bottle creates a flavor that’s different from the unstirred one. Yamichan is an authentic Korean samgyeopsal restaurant with distinctive flavors that bring you to the heart of Hongdae.