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Sogamiga means “House with Special Beef”, or so I read somewhere. It is the first of two Korean restaurants set up in Alabang, a long long time ago, at the height of the Korean migrants’ influx into the country. Darkly lit, both outside and inside, tucked in a corner just beside the perimeter fence of what is now the Molito Complex, almost as if its spot was deliberately chosen to be inconspicuous. Like a mysterious, shadowy figure in whodunnits. Or was that merely my imagination, fuelled by unsubstantiated whisperings? You see, rumor had it that it was owned by a Korean gangster boss and this was either a meeting place for his cohorts and other unsavory characters or a venue for money-laundering. Hmm. Just a rumor, mind you! It’s possibly some tale concocted by the waitresses serving us, claiming the staff were made to live in strictly guarded dorms. Or it was merely a fascinating but exaggerated story circulating among the residents. Whatever and whichever, the place had back then a mystique about it and that merely added flavor to the excellent wagyu rib-eye barbecue! What was definitely clear-as-day real was its delicious, authentic Korean food!

Today, Sogamiga stands prominent and brightly lit, both outside and inside. In fact, now, it seems almost undistinguished, ordinary, and… well, legit, so to speak. Still at that corner beside the perimeter wall. The menu has expanded from just the grilled meats to page after page of an extensive selection of classic Korean dishes. From Gun Mandu — similar to deep-fried Japanese gyoza but as large as a full empanada — to the traditional Bibimbap (rice toppings cooked in a hot stone pot) to Japchae (stir-fried sweet potato pancit). They still have, of course, the wagyu rib-eye barbecue for which they are known for.

For me, the prices are a bit high versus your typical Korean restaurant, but at least the food is authentic and delicious. Just ask the loyal Korean patrons who frequent the place. The restaurant is quite large and I have never seen it full to capacity but, just to be sure, you may call 8073008 to reserve a table or room. Sogamiga is at the back of where BMW Autozentrum is in the Molito Complex in Alabang.

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