Pieces Of A Wunderkind's Mind

Snippets of Life, Love, Food, Travels, Discoveries, and Whatnot

From [Little] Tokyo, With Love: A Photo Blog of Sorts

on September 28, 2010


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Little Tokyo in Makati is a treasure trove of authentic Japanese eats that is sure to provide some of the most remarkable gastronomic adventures. For the unacquainted, let me just share that Little Tokyo is a cluster of Japanese establishments that features certain specialties that distinguish one restaurant from another. It is located in the Pasong Tamo-Amorsolo area right across Makati Cinema Square [if you’ll be coming out from Plaza Fair]. This quaint place never ceases to amaze and deliver. Walking past the entrance, marked by the unambiguous, red Torii gate, you will be led to the restaurants through a long, narrow path. The view is typical of a Zen garden… there’s a small strip of manicured lawn, bonsai all around, carved stone lanterns and multi-storied pagodas, red Japanese paper lanterns, Nobori banners, and set-up for al fresco dining. Little Tokyo is worth visiting at any time of the day but at night, the landscape becomes breathtaking and more picturesque.


HANA



Hana became one of my favorites immediately after a lovely first encounter with their takoyaki. To say that the takoyaki in Hana is delicious would be an understatement. Hana’s serves THE takoyaki! Hana’s takoyaki are bigger than usual and is made with daikon, a secret takoyaki mix, and lots of octopus chunks. A sweeter okonomi sauce is used with bits of nori, tenkatsu [dried fish], spring onions, and Japanese mayonnaise to top them. An order of 6 costs P120. Takumi, the takoyaki man himself, makes these delicious balls from scratch and patiently turns them as they cook.


CHOTO STOP



Choto Stop is actually the Japanese grocery known as Manila Seikyo Co-op aka ‘the P75 store’ along the Mile Long Strip. After they have relocated to Little Tokyo, the store has been renamed Choto Stop. Most of the items are still priced at P75, but now there is a section for Japanese wine and other more pricey stuff such as meat and vegetables. At the back part of the grocery is an eatery that serves really impressive bento, ramen, and rice sets. Don’t forget to grab some Japanese ice cream for dessert.

Tip: You MUST try their Beef Cube Steak Bento and/or miso ramen.


KAGURA



Kagura is known for serving scrumptious, authentic okonomiyaki — a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled”. The batter and other ingredients are fried on both sides on either a teppan using metal spatulas that are later used to slice the dish when it has finished cooking. Kagura offers Osaka-style okonomiyaki where ingredients mixed atop the batter ranges from green onion, meat [generally bacon or chicken skin], octopus, squid, shrimp, cabbage, and cheese. Cooked okonomiyaki is then lavishly drizzled with ingredients of your choice which include otafuku/okonomiyaki sauce [similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter], aonori [seaweed flakes], katsuobushi [bonito flakes], Japanese mayonnaise, and beni shoga [pickled ginger]. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki are also available. The difference between the Hiroshima-style and the Osaka-style okonomiyaki is that ingredients in the former are layered [rather than mixed together] and noodles [yakisoba/udon] are used.


OISHINBO



The unassuming, little corner of a restaurant casually invites anyone who enjoys good food. The restaurant serves fresh sashimi and most of the Japanese classics — dashimaki tamago, tempura, curry rice, edamame, yakitori… the works. Oishinbo can roughly be translated to mean ‘gourmand.’ It’s a quirky merging of the Japanese word oishii, meaning delicious and kuishinbo, which refers to someone who loves to eat.


SERYNA



Right beside the red Torii gate just across Plaza Fair stands Seryna. It is where you may find the freshest sushi/sashimi served in the most generous portions. The best time to visit would be during the lunch hours. The restaurant offers their lunch specials for a marked down price. The bestseller would be the Kaizen Gozen [aka Chirashi-Don]. It is actually a meal in a double-tiered bento box consisting of 2 kinds of salad, miso soup, vinegared Japanese rice, fish fillet, pickeled vegetables, an abundant assortment of [salmon, tuna, saba, ebi, uni, ika, tako, tamago] sushi and sashimi, and slices of sweet navel oranges. A glass of cold tea completes the meal. Part of the whole Seryna experience is watching the Japanese sushi-chef, Chef Hoseki, work his magic. Only the freshest goes into your plate [err, box] once Mr. Hoseki preps up your food.


Tip: The place is always packed so placing a reservation days before would really be advantageous.


If you’re a sucker for authentic, exceptional Japanese like me, Little Tokyo would definitely be an instant hit. At the same time, it may be an ideal place to exercise your Nihonggo while you say itadakimasu before eating, and gochisousama deshita after finishing your satisfying meal.



Hana Restaurant
Little Tokyo
Telephone: 339-3855

Choto Stop Japanese Grocery
Little Tokyo entrance [Pasong Tamo side]
Telephone: 759-5560

Kagura
Little Tokyo
Telephone: 894-3856

Oishinbo
Little Tokyo
Telephone: 819-5008 to 09

Seryna
Little Tokyo entrance [across Plaza Fair]
Telephone: 894-3855


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2 responses to “From [Little] Tokyo, With Love: A Photo Blog of Sorts

  1. […] The place also offers a good selection of bento meals, gyoza, other ramen dishes, and rice meals to to appease one’s appetite. Choto Stop may be a homey grocery store that doubles as a restaurant. But regardless of the way one sees this co-op store as, I find it simply as a great place to make notable dining experiences with the luxury of shopping for affordable but authentic Japanese food items, on the side. If you haven’t yet, you may read more about Choto Stop here. […]

  2. […] Japanese food items, on the side. If you still haven’t, you may read more about Choto Stop here, better yet, pay it a visit at the address […]

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