I have had a love affair with Asian food since my folks first took me to a kitschy “Chinese-American” restaurant and got me a poo-poo platter. Coincidentally, that was also the genesis of my acute MSG addiction. Since then, I was thankfully converted to real Asian food through amigos of the Asian persuasion and we would all go out nearly every week to Chinatown in Boston for some REAL Chinese cuisine.
Outside of major metropolitan areas like Manila and Cebu, it’s not so easy finding consistently good Asian fare. Thankfull, Dumaguete has been blessed with a number of good Oriental (are we allowed to say “Oriental” anymore?) eateries. Among them are….
SOBAN KOREAN RESTAURANT
Soban is hands-down my favorite restaurant in Dumaguete. The food is consistently excellent, the service is spectacular and the aircon is nice and cool. We usually split the spicy pork entree (jeyuk bokkeum 320 p) and buy an extra rice. The meal comes with all the yummy sides (little bowls of kimchi, pickled eggplant, Korean pancake, and more) and free hot and ice tea. An excellent outing for about 350 pesos that will leave your belly quite full and satisfied. Soban is located across from Provincial Hospital on the North Road.
POWER UP CHINESE RESTAURANT
Power Up just opened this year, and it was quite nice to run across it. Unlike Dumaguete’s other “Chinese” restaurant, Power Up has an actual Chinese chef, and the first few times there it was EXCELLENT! Unfortunately, they just got a new chef, and the food didn’t seem as good. Victuals there are served up ‘family style,’ so you can actually share the apparantly pricy platters. We usually go with the delectable stir fried spinich (kangkong water spinach) and split a seafood dish. Service is not spectacular and they seem to go through wait staff quite a bit. It would also be nice if the EXTENSIVE menu was footnoted in English. And yes, you can tell it’s good Chinese food due to the number of Chinese tourists there.
Power Up is located just off the boulevard where the old Zanzibar Club used to be.
MIFUNE JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Mifune is a sweet treat that is located right in the heart of the city. It’s been providing Japanese fare for years now and its Tuesday and Saturday All You Can Eat buffet (from 6 PM – to 9 PM) is quite the sushi-fest for only 330 pesos per person. Just be advised that it is first come, first serve. They also don’t take credit cards. Cash talks and credit cards walk at this establishment, so be sure to bring a good quantity of pesos.