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 In the second of our Buffet Buster series, Eats Now or Never explains how to get the most out of your money when visiting the many buffets in the metro. It’s not about eating as much as possible; it’s about choosing the most expensive food.

According to legend, Sambo Kojin is the Japanese Kitchen God who bestowed fire upon mankind to drive away evil and impurity. Interesting story, indeed, and quite apt for a restaurant that’s all about Japanese and Korean cuisine – simply because the dishes are mostly grilled and served in a hot and flaming fire. Samobo Kojin, brings quality cooking and eating to a whole new level.

ENON reviews Sambo Kojin and gives you a lowdown on how to get the best value for your money.

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Buffet: Sambo Kojin
Location: Eastwood Citywalk, EDSA Greenhills, West Avenue, SM Southmall
Price: P599+ for a weekday lunch, P699+ for weekday dinner, weekend lunch/dinner and holidays


What you should eat:
Ox Tongue (Lengua)
It’s not a popular first choice, especially since people always think of lengua as something to be eaten with a heavy tomato or cream based sauce, but grilled ox tongue or lengua is definitely something that you don’t want to miss. The meat is sliced thinly, and after grilling it, it has a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness that is different, but still distinctively lengua. To get your money’s worth, have six slices of this dish priced at P650/kilo in the market.

Smoked Beef Tongue on a White Plate

Supermarket Check:
P650/kilo 6 slices at 100 grams
Minimum amount to consume: 15 pieces (P162.5)
Amount to cover cost of whole buffet: 65 pieces (P704)


Tender Beef (Hanging Tender)
Steak fans and meat lovers should not leave without having a plateful of the hanging tender, also known as hanger steak or butcher’s steak, a prized cut of beef that is usually set aside by the butcher to keep for himself. Sambo Kojin labels this as “Tender Beef”, probably in order to make the customers think it’s beef tenderloin. When it comes to price, this costs P550 per kilo, so it’s a lot cheaper than tenderloin, but the quality is up to par for the price, which is why eat-all-you-can-buffets use it. Grab at least 8 slices of hanging tender, this is good value for your money.

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Supermarket Check:
P550/kilo 8 slices at 100 grams
Minimum amount to consume: 15 pieces (P103)
Amount to cover cost of whole buffet: 102 pieces (P701.25)



In a buffet table, shrimp goes very fast – even when it sometimes means getting messy because of all the peeling of shells. You can get 8 pieces of this succulent seafood weighing in around 100 grams a piece. You can either get the shrimp for direct grilling, or the ones wrapped in little foil pockets with lemon and dill, which end up getting steamed when you grill them. They also have tempura which is a classic buffet staple. Take advantage of all these shrimp options, and you won’t be bored with your grilled, steamed and deep fried shrimp.

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Supermarket Check:
P600/kilo (suahe) 8 pieces at 100 grams
Minimum amount to consume: 15 pieces (P112.5)
Amount to cover cost of whole buffet: 94 pieces (P705)


Salmon is another buffet staple, and Sambo Kojin serves imported Norweigian Salmon, which is delicious bright orange. It’s fatty and juicy, perfect for sashimi and sushi. You can also grill them lightly to add a different texture, but having it as just plain sashimi is already perfect. Sambo Kojin also has salmon in foil pockets with butter and vegetables which are excellent for grilling. Get the best value for your money by having a plateful of salmon. The price is at P850/kilo and can bring out a true dining experience.

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Supermarket Check:
P850/kilo 7 slices at 100 grams
Minimum amount to consume: 15 pieces (P182)
Amount to cover cost of whole buffet: 58 pieces (P704)


Marble Beef (Beef Shortplate)

Shortplate, or beef belly or beef plate, should be one of your top choices when it comes to buffets. Sliced thinly for grilling and for beef sukiyaki soup, shortplate is full of fat and flavor. They use it to wrap asparagus, kamote, enoki, but it is just just marinated in their Sambo Kojin marinade. Avoid the beef sukiyaki since the soup and the noodles will fill you up fast, but if you really can’t help it, make sure you put in a lot of beef. Have 4 slices of this (at 100 grams) and you’ll be in beef heaven.


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Supermarket Check:
P450/kilo 4 slices at 100 grams
Minimum amount to consume: 15 pieces (P168.75)
Amount to cover cost of whole buffet: 63 pieces (P709)


What to avoid eating:

You go to a buffet to try something new and not to try something old in a new environment. So remember that when you feast, avoid these things that can easily make you full. Remember the key is to maximize your dining experience – which includes the value (and the cost) of these dishes.

Soup: A sip may be okay but when you hoard these on your plate, expect a full tummy immediately. These are good for when you are sick or feeling blue, but avoid it on a buffet table.

Maki-rolls: Instead of having maki rolls which have a lot of rice, go for the sashimi.

Vegetable Tempura: Have shrimp tempura and fish tempura, but skip the vegetable tempura. These may be a healthier option, but you didn’t go to an eat-all-you-can buffet to diet. These will easily make your stomach full and your wallet sad.



Buffet Buster Blueprint

Sambo Kojin costs around P599 lunch on a weekday and prices go up as much as 20%  during the dinner time and on weekends. Search for the most expensive stuff as you visit any of their branches.

Ox tongue – 15 pieces (P162.5)
Tender beef (Hanging Tender) – 15 pieces (P103)
Shrimp – 15 pieces (P112.5)
Salmon – 15 pieces (P182)
Marble Beef (Beef shortplate) – 15 pieces (P168.75)
Total – P728.75

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Sticking to this kind of dishes may not be easy at first, especially if you are used to hoarding your plates with the usual carbs. It is recommended, though, that you try these first and then go on to the other stations. This is definitely your Sambo Kojin, busted.    

Which buffet do you think we should bust next? Leave us a tip in the comments below.-#EatsNowOrNever


Photo Credits: Facebook Page of Sambo Kojin,

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John Dale Quimpo

John Dale Quimpo

This article was written by John Dale Quimpo. He sells meat for a living. When he isn’t thinking about meat, he can be found nerding out with his friends, playing boardgames or looking for new places to eat. He regrets that he never got to eat at El Bulli before it closed, and hopes to eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro before it’s too late.
John Dale Quimpo

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