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Japanese

#Restaurants, Food

TAMPOPO たんぽぽ Philippines: Deluxe Black Pig Shabu Ramen and Top Grade Black Pig Tonkatsu! @tampopo_ph

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TAMPOPO is a ramen and tonkatsu specialty store founded by Takaaki Takagi in Singapore. Takagi is best known for starting Tonkichi, one of Singapore’s best Tonkatsu Restaurants. The name Tampopo, which literally means “dandelion”, is inspired by the 1985 Japanese “Ramen Western” film of the same name.  

The Philippine franchise, owned by George Huang, Chris Tiu, and TY Tang, is Tampopo’s first outside of Singapore. It is the first 2-in-1 Ramen & Tonkatsu specialty resto concept in the country. 

The search for the best ramen heats up in Manila with the opening of Tampopo! Check this out…

The BEST RAMEN in Manila Series 2013:

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#Restaurants, Food

MENTORE: High-End Coffee & Japanese Food Experience by UCC!

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We’re fans of UCC’s Hubert Young’s taste for good Japanese food, like UCC’s Tan Tan Mian Tonkotsu Ramen and MITSUYADO SEI-MEN’s Double Cheese Sauce TSUKEMEN!

So when we heard about his new venture, MENTORÉ, we decided to visit their standalone store beside Fairmont. We hesitated at first because it highlights itself as a “Coffee + Bar”, but I’m glad we still went because they actually have a full line-up of the latest in Japanese cuisine.

It’s a nice place to hang out with friends or meet with business partners over good coffee and a yummy selection of Japanese food.  

Check out our MENTORÉ experience…

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#Restaurants, Food

WAFU: Teppanyaki Omakase Buffet! (@WAFUgreenhills kicks off the Teppanyaki Craze in Manila?!)

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WAFU’s Teppanyaki Omakase Buffet is a 12-course, sit-down, Japanese-style iron grill feast curated by Wafu’s Executive Chef, Chris Oronce. But unlike traditional buffets where you can order anything, guests are required to go through all 12 courses first before they can order more of their favorites on the menu. The buffet comes with a sushi sampler, dessert, unlimited fried rice, and drinks.

We enjoyed our teppanyaki meal. I can’t help but think that this could be the start of the teppanyaki craze in Manila!

Here are some highlights from our own Teppanyaki Omakase Buffet experience with Executive Sous Chef Leslie Altura

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#Restaurants, Food

RAMEN NAGI BUTAO 豚王: Black King, Red King & Green King Ramen in Manila!

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RAMEN NAGI’S BUTAO 豚王 Ramen is hailed as the BEST Ramen in Hong Kong by most foodies. It was established by Ramen Master Chef Ikuta Satoshi in Shibuya, Tokyo in 2006. It’s a young, authentic and very creative ramen house which is easy to find by just following the long queues.

They have RAMEN NAGI branches in Shibuya, Nishi Shinjuku1F, and Kogame in Tokyo. In Hong Kong, they are popularly known as BUTAO with branches in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. They opened international franchises in Taipei, Jakarta, Indonesia and soon in Manila. (There’s no branch in Singapore.)

Recently, BUTAO held its first Pop-up Store to test and introduce the first ever bowls of Butao King (traditional pork-bone soup), Black King (Butao broth with squid ink), Red King (spicy miso-based soup) and Green King (Japanese-Italian fusion: olive oil, basil and cheese) in Manila 🙂

The BEST RAMEN in Manila Series 2013:

 

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#Restaurants, Food

GINZA BAIRIN MANILA: BEST Katsudon, Kurobuta Rosu Tonkatsu and Unagi Katsu @GinzaBairinPH

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GINZA BAIRIN pioneered the modern Katsu House in Japan in Ginza, the luxurious district in Tokyo, in 1927. It’s a boutique family-ran Katsu franchise with branches in Tokyo, Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and now in Manila.

Ginza Bairin’s claim to fame is that they invented the modern Tonkatsu sauce formulated by pharmacist epicurean patron,  Nobukatsu Shibuya. Its name is inspired by Bairin, or plum forest, which they say is the secret behind their Tonkatsu sauce. 

Also, Ginza Bairin’s Special Katsudon is hailed as the number one Donburi in Japan by Japanese Food authorities from culinary TV programs Asahi “Tokyo Restaurant Guide” and Fuji TV “VivaVivaV6” and as well as Iron Chefs Robusaburo Michibo and Yoshiharu Doi.

We were fortunate to dine with Masaya Shibuya, third generation owner of Ginza Bairin, who shared with us stories about Katsu and how to properly appreciate it the Ginza Bairin way.

Battle for the BEST Tonkatsu in Manila:

The Best Restos of New Glorietta in Makati:

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#Restaurants, Food

MAGOSABURO MANILA: Mago Kaiseki & Japanese Wagyu Steak on Lava Stone with Wine Pairings!

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MAGOSABURO is a posh Japanese restaurant and wine bar hailing from the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan founded in 2009. The Mago Manila franchise specializes on Mago Kaiseki which is a 9-course set (think degustation) with Japanese Wagyu steak cooked on a Lava Stone as the highlight.

Some foodies are familiar with the Magosaburou in Singapore which is known for its “Ultra-luxurious Japanese BBQ” concept. The Kaiseki focus and the wine-lounge concept sets the Manila branch apart from Magosaburo international franchises in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Thailand. 

We tried the 9-course Mago Kaiseki and sampled a selection of their famed Japanese wagyu steaks during an intimate lunch with the owner a few days after its soft opening.

Here’s what we like and some tips to have an awesome experience at Magosaburo Philippines:

What’s New in BGC Restaurants in 2013?

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#Restaurants, Food

YAKITORI ONE: What’s Your Favorite Yakitori @YakitoriOne?‎ @SMAuraPremier‎

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YAKITORI ONE specializes in Yakitori which is skewered grilled meat usually chicken, with a signature Tare (teriyaki-style) glaze.  It’s like chicken barbecue on a stick. 

They recently opened their first store at SM Aura Premier. This is owned by the same restaurateur couple of Jeroen and lifestyle blogger Cecile of Chuvaness.com that brought the Pepper Lunch franchise to Manila.

We ordered all the yakitori sticks and the side dishes, and here are our favorites:

 

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#Restaurants, Food

HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant: Cafe Juanita-Style Japanese Restaurant!

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The Japanese trend in Manila is in full swing. We’re seeing various home-grown and franchised Japanese restaurants specializing in Ramen, Tonkatsu, Teppanyaki, Yakitori and Yakiniku setting up shop. Full-service Japanese restaurants in Manila are getting cooler with higher quality of food.

HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant is the Japanese restaurant of Doc Efren “Boy” Vazquez of Cafe Juanita fame. They renovated the house beside the new Cafe Juanita (where Balay ni Juan used to be). Haru means “Spring”, a name chosen by Chef Tsutomu Yamazaki (formerly of Sugi).

We were invited to the formal opening of Haru, which was a private affair for Doc Vazquez’ family and personal friends. It was a historic moment for Doc because Cafe Juanita started out as a Japanese restaurant, then transformed into a Filipino resto, and now a Japanese resto sits beside it to complete the cycle.

Here’s a preview of our Haru Sushi Bar & Restaurant experience:

Kapitolyo Food Street Series:

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#Restaurants, Food

IKKORYU FUKUOKA RAMEN Philippines’ Black Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen! @ikkoryuph

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IKKORFYU FUKUOKA RAMEN is a Tonkotsu ramen from Yamagoya Ramen of Japan, which has been around since 1970, specializing in Chikuho noodles. Their original store in Manila is in the East Wing of Shangri-La Mall, and a bigger branch has opened in SM Aura.

Check out our Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen experience: 

The Best of Edsa Shangri-La Mall Series:

The BEST RAMEN in Manila Series 2013:

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#Restaurants, Bonifacio Global City, Food

SABOTEN Philippines: The Original Tonkatsu Flavor Now in Manila!

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SABOTEN is the original and largest Tonkatsu chain from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It has been serving its famous tonkatsu since 1966 and has branches in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand, and now in the Philippines. 🙂  The restaurant’s name means “cactus”,  inspired by the plant’s vitality and persistence despite harsh conditions.

Although the SABOTEN launch was pre-empted by YABU in Manila, we love how they offer different ways people can enjoy katsu and the unlimited-everything experience. 🙂

Here’s a rundown of our visit to Saboten Philippines…

Battle for the BEST Tonkatsu in Manila:

What’s New in BGC Restaurants in 2013?

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