“Kko Kko is my baby,” news anchor and TV host Grace Lee was overheard saying during the grand launch of Kko Kko, the Home of Seoul Chicken.
A rebranding of her earlier culinary venture Hoolala, Kko Kko promises a more contemporary take on Korean dining.
“The ambience is really different. We wanted it more cozy and warm. Hoolala was very fast food ang dating. Now that we’re branching out and going into malls and other big developments, we have to recreate the entire brand identity. Since we were gonna do that, we went ahead and changed the name as well,” explained Grace who is also among those behind Buta Wagyu in SM Aura and Atelier Vivanda in Forbes Town Center.
Though some of the traditional dishes from Hoolala were carried over to Kko kko, a lot of modern items were added to the menu such as the Chicken Cheese Fondue. “Fondue is an influence of modern cuisine that’s going on in Korea,” she shared.
Kko Kko’s kitchen is helmed by Grace and her mother, Song Soon Il. Together, they invented the Oh-my-garlic sauce which top’s Grace’s list of favorites. It is among the three options for the Yang Nyum (crispy fried chicken), the other two are Sweet Chili and Classic Soy.
“We have a couple of things that we’re proud of,” she said. And mentions the dosirak which is the Korean equivalent of Japan’s bento box. The dosirak at Kko Kko is a throwback to the nickel-silver lunch boxes used by Korean students in the 70’s and 80’s. Recently, the use of nickel-silver dosirak boxes has re-emerged as a popular trend in Korea with the growing popularity of reminiscing about past cultural trends.
There are five choices for the dosirak — Galbi Jim (beef rib stew), Dakdori Tang (spicy chicken stew), Daiji Bulgogi (pan-fried spicy marinated pork), Beef Bulgogi (pan-fried marinated beef), and Samgyupsal BBQ (barbeque pork belly tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce). Everything is served with sweet dilis, stewed kimchi, and a sunny side up egg.
Their placemats tell you how to enjoy the dosirak. First, you must eat a small portion of your order (mainly to make room in the lunch box for better mixing when you shake). Then you pour the Kko Kko special sauce over the rice, meat, and vegetables. After that, you must put the lunch box cover back on and proceed to the fourth and most fun part, shaking the lunch box!
Kko Kko’s server, Kisses (who became quite familiar with my love life during the course of dinner, as evidenced by her spot-on song suggestion, turn up the volume to hear what she said) showed us how to #DosiRockIt.
For the uninitiated in Korean cuisine, Grace assures that their palate will “not be shocked”.
“Korean is very similar to Filipino cuisine in the sense that we have a lot of Chinese influence in the Filipino culinary scene, the soy sauce and all of these things are very familiar to the palate of the Filipino people so we’re already used to these kinds of flavors so it’s not a big risk that you’re taking, there are no unknown spices and herbs,” she assured. “Sometimes Korean food can be really spicy so if you love spicy food you should definitely try it,” she added.
Kko Kko aims to provide its diners with the opportunity to learn and dine like a “real Korean” would, mixing and matching the individual dishes in a meal.
I think we got the combination right during our dinner. We had a bit from each of the three categories they offer – Korean Fried Chicken, dosirak, and Korean Street Food. The seaweed roll which apparently is a street food classic was a pleasant surprise for all of us. It had us noodled-out though so we hardly touched our Japchae.
When I return, I intend to try their Bibimbap and Bulgogi.
I’m sharing Kko Kko’s menu here so you can plan your visit too and take your pick even before you step inside the restaurant.
Kko Kko is located at the Sapphire Bloc, Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For inquiries, call (02) 5357689 or (0916) 7460764.
Check out Kko Kko’s social media accounts, @KkoKkoPH on Facebook and Instagram.