Blame all the Korean drama series I watched. I cannot anymore remember when my addiction to samyeopsal started. Years ago, finding a Korean restaurant in Manila is quite a challenge. Thankful to all the brave and innovative entrepreneurs, having a Korean meal became accessible and affordable to Filipinos. Every now and then, a Korean grill restaurant is sprouting in the city.

I've been wanting to introduce Samgyeopsal to my least adventurous family members. But at the back of my mind, it might emerge expensive. Maybe, it's still better to stick with the Php 500 rate offered by most Korean restaurants. But weeks ago, one of my cousins tried the homemade or DIY samgyeopsal. She spent around Php 1,000 for the DIY samgyeopsal, with four of us who shared. If we went to a restaurant, we would probably spent around Php 2,000 for the restaurant bill alone. In effect, I was encouraged to try the DIY approach last weekend.

Here's a breakdown of the cost of each ingredient

One kilogram of Pork Belly in bacon cut = Php 246.23
One bottle of Kimchi = Php 135
Lettuce = around Php 60

Side dishes (optional)
Kikoman Soy sauce = Php 30.75
Garlic = used the existing supply at home
Seasame Oil = Php 109. 50
Seasame Seeds = Php 22
Spring Onion = Php 20
Indian Mango = used the existing supply at home

Sauce (optional)
Seasoned Soybean Paste = Php 250
1 bottle of oyster sauce (For marinating the pork belly) = around Php 50
2 pieces of lemon (marinating the pork belly) = Php 50

I spent Php 973.48 for my first DIY samgyeopsal. There were three of us who ate, so each costed Php 324.49 per head. 

My version emerged expensive because of the side dishes and sauce. If you wish to have the basic grill and lettuce, it will obviously appear cheaper. Given the costs, it would only take around Php 441.23 to prepare a basic Samgyeopsal (pork belly, lettuce and kimchi) for three persons. 

Will I recommend the DIY samgyeopsal? Yes, especially for a group of 3 to 5 persons ... with an average level of appetite. :p It might appear as a different story for people with extreme appreciation for samgyeopsal. I have a friend who was able to finish 15 trays of beef and pork belly in one our foodie adventures. :p

We decided to marinate our pork belly. We used oyster sauce and lemon, in effect, our meat did not appear to have that fresh red color. Also, my parents prefer to have a well done grill.  In effect, it's far from the usual grilled pork belly from restaurants.

Korean Spicy Green Onion Salad - I discovered this side dish made of spring onions from this blogger. It's a very cheap side dish! Though I added some slices of indian mangoes and skipped the chili flakes to alter the taste.

A few things I discovered from this rare DIY foodie adventure

1. Pork Belly in bacon cut can get sold out in supermarkets. It's a validation that most Filipinos are doing Samgyeopsal in the comforts of home.

2. Watch out for the fats of the bacon cut pork belly - We removed the excess fats of the pork belly before grilling. We were able to fill a small bowl of pork fat. :( I'm not sure how to avoid this since most pork belly sold in supermarkets are already pre-cut. I also noticed, most Korean restaurants in the Philippines serve meat slices with lots of fat, especially on your third to fourth tray of unlimited meat.

3. Still on pork belly, the one I bought from SM Supermarket is still, relatively thick for a bacon cut meat. I discovered that Rustan's Supermarket also offers pork belly for samgyeopsal. However, it is expensive at Php 389 per kilogram. In the future, I still want to try Rustan's meat. I have a feeling that it's better (less fat) and comes in thinner slices.

Update as of March 3, 2019 - I bought pork belly slices from Shopwise. It's a little expensive than SM Supermarket but I have to say, the meat is way better. The slices are thinner and the fats are lesser. A kilogram costs around Php 389. I also discovered they have pre-packed slices in their frozen section. I bought one tray at Php 93 and sure enough, the meat was better. In effect, I would recommend getting pork belly slices from Shopwise.

4. There are different types of lettuce. I knew a lot of friends who mistakenly bought the thick butterhead or iceberg type of lettuce. Choose the thin version, the lollo bionda or lollo roso type.

5. It's cheaper to buy lettuce from the local wet market.

6. Almost all local supermarket offer bottles of Kimchi in different brands and sizes

7. You don' need to own a grilling pan set. A non-stick pan can already work. In most Korean restaurants, we simultaneously do the cooking and eating. Since we don't have a grilling set, we grilled all the meat before eating. I think we somehow missed the fun of cooking and eating at the same time. ;) Nevertheless, we still enjoyed.

8. As far as I know, Koreans don't marinate their pork belly. But since I'm a Filipino and my taste buds always prefer the flavorful type, I decided to marinate the pork belly with oyster sauce and lemon. Calamansi and other spices can also work.  On my next attempt, I wish to infuse something spicy in the marinate.