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Entertainment

Hoolala: Straight from the heart of Seoul

Tinnie P. Esguerra - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - When it comes to Korean food, nothing can be more authentic than homegrown recipes straight from the heart of Seoul.

Despite the rash of Korean-inspired restaurants mushrooming all over the metropolis, very few actually come close to the unique flavors of the genuine, traditional Korean dishes that have earned the nod of the world’s most discriminating chefs and food critics.

In the same way that not everything slathered in chili sauce or paired with kimchi can pass off for Gangnam-style cooking, neither should any of it be priced way beyond the reach of the average Pinoy foodie on the lookout for new culinary adventures.

At Hoolala Korean Chicken House, expect a gastronomic feast of epic proportions at fastfood prices. That’s the personal guarantee of owner and TV5 newscaster Grace Lee, who, together with business partners Paolo Bediones and Arnold Vegafria, recently hosted a dinner launch for her showbiz friends, family and some media colleagues at the restaurant’s first outlet along Escriva Drive, Pasig City.

Hoolala represents the fruition of Grace’s dream of showcasing her family’s closely-guarded culinary concoctions for several generations now. With her mom overseeing the kitchen’s day-to-day operations, Grace makes sure that all the little details ensure quality, consistency, as well as the restaurant’s claim to authenticity.

And just how good is the chicken?

According to Grace, “One thing that sets us apart is that we have about 30 variants of Korean recipes that you can enjoy — crispy on the outside, juicy inside and it’s not oily. We’ve learned it from Korea, and our sauces are amazing. And there is fun in choosing the flavor that you want so it’s a very exciting Korean chicken experience.”

Aside from their Original Fried Chicken, some of the bestsellers include the Snow Chicken, Yang-Nyum (in chili or garlic sauce), Garden Chicken and countless other meat, fish and veggie concoctions.

Kids will love the cheery chicken caricatures adorning the restaurant walls, lending a casual yet homey ambience.

But the best part of Hoolala’s sumptuous treats is the very affordable prices.

“We want to make authentic Korean cuisine affordable to Filipinos, and we want to shatter that false notion that Korean food is expensive,” states talent manager/advertising and PR wiz Arnold Vegafria.

Grace adds, “Here, you can get a decent lunch for less than a hundred pesos, and yet you can satisfy your belly and get your money’s worth.”

Thanks to their celebrity friends’ word-of-mouth testimonies on social media and the constant influx of diners within the vicinity, Hoolala now enjoys a steady stream of patrons until it closes during the wee hours of the morning.

Proud of their new venture, TV5 newscaster Paolo is optimistic about Hoolala’s expansion plans. “We’re looking at two more branches by the end of first quarter next year, and maybe follow-through exponentially when we’re really doing well.”

ARNOLD VEGAFRIA

AT HOOLALA KOREAN CHICKEN HOUSE

CHICKEN

GARDEN CHICKEN

GRACE LEE

HOOLALA

KOREAN

ORIGINAL FRIED CHICKEN

PAOLO BEDIONES AND ARNOLD VEGAFRIA

PASIG CITY

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