Much has been written about Nomama‘s artisanal ramen that I’ve expected little else probably worth sampling on a visit to shoot for a magazine. So the Kitayama Flank Steak came as a very pleasant surprise. It took me over an hour to finish my to-shoot-list and I expected the steak to be a bit tough after an hour of sitting on its dish but no, it was very, very tender (made me wonder how much more tender it was hot off the grill). The liberal use of Miso butter lent an irresistible, exquisite taste so much so that even if I just had a bowl of ramen, I managed to finish the steak by myself. The crispy tofu slices are a nice foil to the meat, not that my taste buds quickly grew satiated to the flavor.
A Koreantown in Angeles City? We’re probably too used to the concept of Chinatown that this idea seemed like a novel concept. Driving along the stretch of Friendship Highway, we passed a strip of establishments sporting signages in Korean with no English translations. Which ones are restaurants, it’s hard to tell. But for a taste of kimchi (the best one here for miles, so says our guide-friend, Tin, from the Angeles City tourism office), we bypassed Koreantown and headed to Balibago for Yu Fu In.
The restaurant is located in a sizable structure located across the town park. We later learned that it is in fact, the largest freestanding Japanese restaurant in the Philippines with a dining area spread across three stories — the main dining area on the ground floor, a Yakiniku area complete with the requisite stove and exhaust fan on every table on the second, and an open air area on the third. It’s a strange curiosity to find kimchi in a Japanese restaurant but as we taste the food, we find there’s more to like there.
I have only a few expectations when it comes to airport food. But lately, some good restaurants have located their branches in terminals making people in transit like us have better choices when it comes to food. When we arrived in Changi Airport in Singapore, the group ate at Pasta de Waraku, a Casual Japanese Pasta and Cafe Restaurant. Waraku in Japanese means “Peace and Harmony” and seeing the warm interiors, nicely-decorated walls filled up with patterns of their plated dishes and a welcoming staff, I was already looking forward to enjoy their meals.
Truth is, there is no shortage of Japanese-themed restaurants here. Some are more authentic than the others, some far removed from their Japanese roots. Which begs the question: is there really space for a new one? The people behind Nama Sakana believe that with their fusion cuisine, there is always room.
But first things first – what’s in a name? Nama Sakana is Nihongo for “raw fish”, an apt name for the restaurant has an extensive sushi bar. But as happyfoodies found out, this upscale Japanese restaurant has more than sushi to offer. Talk about Nobu-style Japanese fushion cuisine where traditional Japanese fare is tweaked to offer the diner a tasty twist on their favorites. Chef Rolly, who has worked for Nobu London for more than a decade, does a fine balancing act in coming up with Japanese food that tastes familiar and yet offers something new for the taste buds.
We venture to Mile Long and Makati Cinema Square every now and then and pass the small road leading to Makati Square. We often see the SERYNA signage flanking the side entrance to the Little Tokyo complex and wonder what’s inside. Not that the place has received little media publicity but we always wanted to sample what’s been written about and what the steady stream of diners (evidenced by the endless flow of cars parked on the strip) has been dropping by for. Last weekend, we got a chance to do just that when a trip to another restaurant didn’t go as planned.