10 Delicious Dishes to Try for a Taste of Japan Around Manila
There's no need to wait for that seat sale.
(SPOT.ph) Still waiting for a seat sale to score a ticket to Osaka or Tokyo? With new restaurants and novel takes on classic Japanese fare now cropping up all over the Metro, you won’t have to travel far (and shell out big bucks) to get a taste of Japan. Read on as we round up 10 ways to eat Japanese here in Metro Manila.
Yayoi's Namban Teishoku
Teishoku is basically set-meal dining, almost similar to the bento concept. At Yayoi, your main is served with three additional sides and some soup. The first restaurant to bring in teishoku to the Philippines, Yayoi is set to please Japanese food enthusiasts with their tasty fare. Try the Namban Teishoku (P395), a fried chicken steak covered in a sweet and spicy glaze, and served with a tartar sauce that cuts through the heat and tanginess, taking it to the next level.
Yayoi is at 3/F Building B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.
Dohtonbori's Tonkotsu Yaki Ramen
While Osaka-born franchise Dohtonbori is best known for their okonomiyaki, the restaurant also shakes up their menu every once in a while with new dishes. A novel take on a Japanese favorite is the Tonkotsu Yaki Ramen, which is ramen cooked on a griddle. The usual ramen ingredients are present: noodles, vegetables, pork, and a little tonkotsu broth that thickens into a sauce once cooked on the hot griddle. This popular street food from Hakata, Japan will give your palate a treat that is both novel and familiar.
Dohtonbori is at 8 Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City; UG/F Main Building, SM City North EDSA, Quezon City; and 2/F Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
Aburi's Salmon Nigiri
At Aburi in Alabang, the star is of course aburi or sushi that’s been torched on top. The results are delicate bites that come with a smoky, charred flavor. There’s a bit of showmanship in the way the aburi is prepared here, too—the sushi is torched by the bar so better reserve a seat to get the best view of the action. A must-try is the Salmon Nigiri (P185), impressively fresh and delicate with a nice smoky touch.
Aburi is at 2/F Madison Galeries, 398 Don Jesus Boulevard, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Uma Uma's Spicy Chiasu Ramen
The best ramen places don’t need to rely on anything else but fresh ingredients to produce rich, meaty flavors, and Uma Uma is no different. The ramen shop from Fukuoka, Japan takes pride in serving MSG-free bowls. Their recipe for the heady broth starts with pork bones boiled for 16 to 20 hours to extract every tasty morsel that results to a rich, porcine taste. The difference it makes is immediately evident just from the first sip. For those who like fiery flavors, try the Spicy Chiasu Ramen (P360), with barbecued pork cooked in a spicy marinade giving the rest of the elements in the bowl—noodles, egg, spring onions, and black fungus—a bold pop in every bite.
Uma Uma is at 2/F S Maison, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; and 2/F Uptown Parade, Uptown Bonifacio.
Shaburi Japanese Shabu-Shabu's Shabu-Shabu
Make sure your bellies are ready for a hot pot feast when you head to Shaburi Japanese Shabu-Shabu. A hot pot meal here involves many delicious steps that start with picking your unlimited meat platter, only filled with Wagyu beef, then your choice from five different kinds of broth and three dipping sauces. Of course, no shabu-shabu is complete without vegetables, and Shaburi has a wide array to choose from, all beautifully crisp, fresh and ready for dipping. Don’t miss out on the appetizers, too! The peppery Wagyu Rice is a must-try.
Shaburi Japanese Shabu-Shabu is at 4/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
Chibo Okonomiyaki's Chibo Okonomiyaki
The okonomiyaki is relatively new compared to other Japanese favorites, but Filipino foodies quickly warmed up to this sweet-spicy Japanese pancake. Chibo Okonomiyaki in S Maison, Pasay City, offers the authentic Osaka dish plus other variants that cater to the Filipino palate. The signature Chibo Okonomiyaki (P380), filled with prawns, scallop, and beef, tempts to get on your Instagram feed, but you better eat it while it’s crunchy and fresh off the griddle.
Chibo Okonomiyaki is at 2/F S Maison, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.
Kantori Yakitori's Kantori Platter*
If you’re in the mood for some drinks and Japanese grub to go with it, head over to Kantori Yakitori, which offers excellent yakitori or grilled meat on a stick. First-timers or those who want a bit of everything should order the Kantori Platter (P498), with a good mix of tofu tempura, eggplants, chicken wings, chicken thighs, and pork belly. Pair it with Kantori’s Maple-Bacon-infused Sake (P78/30-ml single serving, P308/240-ml to share)—yes, we know it sounds strange but trust us when we say it’s a flavor that works.
Kantori Yakitori is at 51 D Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City.
*Kantori Yakitori has closed.
Godaime Chef’s Special Tempura from Tendon Akimitsu
While even the most casual of diners know of tempura, not many know of its donburi counterpart, the tendon, which is a shame because a bowl of rice topped with fried stuff is a sure win. Whether you’re a long-time tendon fan or new to this Japanese dish, get your fix at Tendon Akimitsu, which just opened a new branch with sister restaurant Ramen Nagi in Ayala at the 30th. If you want variety, try the Godaime Chef’s Special Tempura (P695), a bowl of steaming hot rice topped with fried Anago eel, prawn, oyster, shrimp, and vegetable tempura.
Tendon Akimitsu is at 4/F Terminal 3, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City; and G/F Trinoma Mall, Quezon City; and G/F Ayala Malls the 30th, 30 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.
Maisen's Vegetable Kushikatsu
When it comes to katsu, Maisen is definitely a favorite, but be sure to try other new items, exclusive to Maisen’s new branch in Bonifacio Global City. Maisen in BGC boasts a full bar, so it only fitting to offer grub that pair well with alcohol. Kushikatsu is fried food on a stick, popular in Osaka, and Maisen’s offers theirs in meat, seafood, and vegetable varieties. The Vegetable Kushikatsu (P200) is a good way to trick your body into getting some veggies, with breaded shiitake mushrooms and minced pork, young corn, and cherry tomatoes wrapped in bacon.
See a list of Maisen branches
LeTAO's Double Fromage
Just when we thought we were finally ready to let go of our Japanese cheesecake obsession, this new dessert from Japanese sweets shop LeTAO is set to steal our hearts all over again. The Double Fromage (P1,150) is a double-layered Japanese cheesecake, with a top layer of frozen cheesecake and a second layer of baked cheesecake for a bite that is mildly sweet and deliciously creamy. LeTAO is also the sister company of Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, so you know that what you’re getting here is only the best in terms of dairy.
LeTAO pop-ups are at 2/F Greenbelt 5, Makati City, and Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.