GENKI SUSHI: AN INTERESTING JAPANESE DINING EXPERIENCE

Location: 2nd Level, Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, 31st corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, Philippines

My husband and I were craving ramen1 while walking in BGC when we chanced upon an interesting Japanese restaurant – Genki Sushi!

1-entrance

We were enticed by the promotional announcements on the glass wall: a must-try Shoyu Ramen2 with a very big picture; premium bentosets; and, take-away party sets (see below).

18-shoyu ramen-ok

 

We said: “What the heck, let’s try their ramen1 as a snack!” When I repeated the name of the restaurant in my mind, I recalled that I read about it as a Japanese casual fast-food dining concept featuring the conveyor-belt method of serving sushi4, using a miniature high-speed train system. So, we entered this restaurant and were immediately greeted by the wait staff.

3-entrance-ok

But first, let me give a brief background. Established in 1990 in Japan, Genki Sushi is a chain of conveyor belt sushi4 restaurants.

This restaurant started with 24-year-old Japanese sushi6 chef, Fumio Saito, who dreamed of creating a modern sushi6 restaurant with an unusual feature known as “kaiten” (literally translated as “revolving”). In December 1968, he created the concept of “kaiten sushi” and pioneered the use of a revolving conveyor belt to serve sushi, combining serving traditional sushi with modern technology.7

This new concept caught on fast in Japan and appealed widely to the masses since it offered quality sushi at affordable prices, served using an innovative manner, delighting even children.7

In 1991, a year after it was established, Genki Sushi Co. Ltd listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. With its dedication to freshness, the company quickly gained public support and successfully expanded further throughout Japan.7

Genki Sushi went international in 1992. Expansion was rapid with Genki Sushi outlets opening in Hawaii, Singapore, and subsequently in Malaysia and Taiwan. In March 1995, the first Genki Sushi opened in Hong Kong. Today, Genki Sushi operates a total of 40 outlets in Hong Kong.7

The chain has expanded to currently include locations in Japan, Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and the USA (California, Hawaii and Washington), according to Wikipedia page “Genki Sushi”.5

In the Philippines, Genki Sushi is a brand under Mother Spice Food Corp., with other brands that include Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro, and Cocina Peruvia.8

Genki Sushi in BGC is open from: 11:00AM – 10:00PM, Sunday – Thursday, and from 11:00 AM – 11:00PM Friday and Saturday.

The dining area is well-lit from the glass walls and adequate indoor lighting. The other walls are painted off-white with the lower half in light brown. Its ambiance is almost fast-food style featuring off-white tables good for four people, and red-cushioned booths, for more comfortable, yet casual dining.

Genki Sushi offers the following:

APPETIZERS (PHP90-230) –

4-appetizers-ok

GUNKAN(PHP70-180) –

6-gunkan0ok

MAKI MONO10 (PHP70-160) –

7-maki mono

NIGIRI11 (PHP70-150) –

9-nigiri-ok

RICE & NOODLES (PHP230-400) –

10-rice-noodles-ok

SASHIMI12 (PHP250/350) –

11-sashimi-ok

TEMAKI13 or HAND ROLLS (PHP90-120) –

13-temaki-ok

SEARED DISHES (PHP100-220) –

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TRIOS (PHP199) –

15-trio0ok

SIDE ORDERS (PHP90-290) –

14-side order-ok

DESSERTS (PHP80-220) –

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PREMIUM BENTO3 SETS – Chicken Black Pepper Bento (PHP480), Chicken Katsudon Bento (PHP480), and Shrimp Tempura Supreme Bento Set (PHP650)

23-bento sets-ok

TAKE-AWAY PARTY SETS – Small Salmon Set (PHP500); Roll Set (PHP800); Big Salmon Set (PHP1,000); Genki Cooked Set (PHP1,400); and, Genki Supreme Sushi Set (PHP2,300)

24-food-take-home

BEVERAGES – Coke in Can (PHP80), Coke Light in Can (PHP80), Sprite in Can (PHP80), House Blend Iced Tea (PHP100), Asahi in Can (PHP120), and Honey Citron (PHP130)

21-tab-ok

I remember hearing about this unique Japanese restaurant and its high-tech way of ordering and serving non-soup orders. Allow me to tell you about our dining experience.

Once seated, my husband and I curiously studied the wall-panel menu which was pretty extensive (see above).

22-wall menu

The wall partition on one side of each table-booth has colored pictures of the various items you can order (see below), with English and Japanese names and corresponding prices, excluding service charge. At the bottom, there is a legend for the icons used for the items: Genki recommended, spicy, and vegetarian. It also has a note: “pictures are only for reference; some dishes may contain fish bones”.

16-table

We finally decided to get two orders of Shoyu Ramen2 and one order of Salmon Sashimi12. We did not order any beverage since choices were limited and we are staying away from softdrinks. Anyway, they serve complimentary green tea.

The use of a touch screen (fixed on the side of the conveyor belt) to place one’s order is very interesting. The top of the screen offers seven categories (from left to right): Sushi4, Sashimi12, Washoku14, Dessert, Beverage, Promotion, and Take-Away. You just have to press the category of your desired orders, click the dishes you want, then press “Go!” on the train-like figure at the bottom left corner.

There are three notes at the bottom: “photographs are for identification purposes only”; “service charge will be added upon bill settlement”; and, “order confirmed cannot be cancelled”.

We pressed the appropriate orders on the screen, initially with the help of a server, and waited for our orders. Remember, all orders are final so always ask the help of a wait staff before you place your order. I was personally excited to witness how the orders will be served by the express tray.

We further observed the set-up in our booth. There was a sign which read: “Please keep arms and elbows clear” so we obediently did not extend any of our upper limbs.

A small ledge with a special track was positioned along the wall partition with the menu on one side of our booth to “deliver” our orders. A sign states: “Children below 7 years old are not allowed to sit on the inner area of the booth.” A caution sign reads: “Take your dishes only after the express tray stops. Never put your hands into the express tray area, except when taking off dishes.”

Each booth has a faucet for dispensing hot water, with appropriate notice of safety: “Caution: hot water”. There was a green tea container, a table napkin dispenser, and a chopstick container.

In the meantime, a server gave us black tea cups. We then helped ourselves to the complimentary green tea powder container on our table and carefully turned the lever of the faucet to pour hot water in our cups. The green tea was good and hot, and we enjoyed it while waiting for our orders.

Then, lo and behold, after about 15 minutes, my husband’s order of Salmon Sashimi12 “arrived” from the kitchen. The high-speed express train-tray which can accommodate 4 dishes per trip, swiftly sped along the track, and “parked” at the center of our table’s wall.

8-train-ok

My husband got his sashimi12 order from the train-tray. A waiter then brought the soy sauce and wasabi15. I asked for two glasses of water.

The Salmon Sashimi12 (PHP250) consisted of 4 fresh slices, and, according to my husband, it was fresh and tasted good.

19-salmon-sashimi-ok

A server then brought our Shoyu Ramen2 (PHP250) and water. The ramen1 was served hot. However, I personally prefer the broth to be richer and more flavorful, instead of being light and almost clear, like Filipino mami16. The pork could stand more curing to be tastier.

17-ramen-ok

It then came time for us to settle our bill so we pressed “view your bill”. The screen showed the items we ordered with the corresponding prices, the service charge and the total amount to be paid. I was looking for a Senior Citizen discount button but there was none, so we just waited for our server.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  21-tab-ok

Personally, I find this restaurant a bit pricey based on the serving portion and quality of the dishes that we ordered. However, its unique high-tech/automated feature could account for its novelty and relatively high price.

A server then approached us, and we gave our Senior Citizen cards for our total bill to be discounted. Credit cards are also accepted by Genki Sushi.

Overall, service was fast and the staff was courteous.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to use the rest room so I cannot comment on it.

Contact information: (02) 624-2867; Facebook: Genki Sushi Philippines; email: info@genkisushi.com.ph

So, dearest Seniors, if you plan to eat out with your grandchildren, why not try this restaurant, even just for its high-tech service which they could definitely relate to and enjoy? If BGC is not accessible to you, you can also visit the other outlets of Genki Sushi in: Ayala Mall the 30th (Meralco Avenue, Pasig City), UP Town Center (Diliman, Quezon City), SM Aura (BGC, Taguig), SM Megamall Mega Atrium (Mandaluyong City), and SM North EDSA (Quezon City).

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for the benefit of interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, or those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat/fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso17, served hot, with toppings such as chashu (simmered/braised pork), menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), and nori (dry seaweed), according to the Wikipedia page, Ramen.18

2Shoyu Ramen is the oldest kind of ramen1 which has a clear broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes, fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory, yet still fairly light on the palate. It is often adorned with menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), ninjin (carrot), kamaboko (fish cakes), nori (dry seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts or black pepper. It occasionally contains chili oil or Chinese spices. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

3Bento is a single portion Japanese meal, usually served in a square compartmentalized lacquerware, called a bento box, in Japanese restaurants. It generally consists of rice, fish or meat, picked or cooked vegetables.

4Conveyor belt sushi, literally “rotation sushi”, is a form of sushi6 restaurant common in Japan. In Australasia, it is also known as a sushi train. Kaiten-zushi is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt, or moat, that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table, counter and seat. Customers may place special orders. The final bill is based on the number and type of plates of the consumed sushi. Some restaurants use a fancier presentation such as miniature wooden “sushi boats” traveling small canals or miniature locomotive cars. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Conveyor belt sushi”.19

5“Genki Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genki_Sushi.

6Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared medium grain white rice or brown rice combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits). Sushi can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi20, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

7https://www.genkisushi.com.hk/en/about_us.php

8http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?Leisure&-introduces-5-new-dishes&id=147429

9Gunkan is a typical Japanese way of serving ingredients which would be difficult to serve on top of a nigiri11. It is usually made by wrapping a piece of nori (dry seaweed) around a ball of rice with plenty of space left on top to be filled with a variety of ingredients (e.g., potato salad, salmon roe, sea urchin, squid). Nori can be replaced with very thin strips of daikon, cucumber, and zucchini.21, 22,23

10Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled, or wrapped, sushi6 formed into a cylindrical piece, using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is also called maki mono or norimaki. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

11Nigiri is a hand-pressed sushi6 which consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that a chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta, typically fish, such as salmon or tuna), draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi20. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori (dried seaweed), most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

12Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments (wasabi15, grated fresh ginger, ponzu24). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.25

13Temaki, literally hand roll”, is a large cone-shaped piece of nori (dried seaweed) on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about 10 centimetres (4 in) long, and is eaten with one’s fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

14Washoku, literally “food of Japan”, is the Japanese collective term for traditional, well-presented, Japanese food. It is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, known worldwide as being delicious and healthy, with ingredients which blend together in a harmonious fashion and satisfies all the senses.26 It is made of 4 elements: a bowl of plain steamed rice; a small plate of konomono (pickled seasonal vegetables) or tsukemono (Japanese pickles); a bowl of ju (soup) which contains vegetables or tofu and uses the broth of kombu kelp or shavings of dried bonito, with salt and miso added for flavor; and, three sai (one main/two side dishes) which are cooked fish, tofu, vegetables with dressing, etc.27

15Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi6 and sashimi12, made from the wasabi plant.

16Mami is a Chinese egg noodle soup, served as a popular snack item in the Philippines. It has several variants: asado28, beef, chicken, wanton29, or combinations thereof. It is said to have been invented by Ma Wen-Lu, the founder of the Chinese restaurant, Ma Mon Luk.

17Miso is a Japanese seasoning which is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and even barley, rice malt, seaweed or other ingredients. It is typically salty, but can also be earthy, sweet, fruity or savory. It is used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixed with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

18“Ramen,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen.

19“Conveyor belt sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conveyor_belt_sushi.

20“Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi.

21https://shizuokagourmet.com/japanese-sushi-gunkanmothership/

22https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2038.html

23https://gurunavi.com/en/japanfoodie/2017/05/types-of-sushi.html?__ngt__=TT0f24985be002ac1e4ae5e7LKTJ0n-xYT8PuCv7YspawR

 24Ponzu is a Japanese dipping sauce made from fish flake broth — simmered from a mixture of katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna) flakes, mirin (rice wine), rice vinegar, and kombu (seaweed), then cooled and strained — plus citrus juice (e.g., daidai, kabosu, lemon, lime, sudachi, zuyu) and soy sauce. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ponzu”.30

25“Sashimi,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimi.

 26http://tsukiji-cooking.com/whatswashoku/

27http://tsukiji-cooking.com/whatswashoku/

28Asado is a variation of siopao31 or mami16 which is made of savory/sweetened stewed pork bits/chunks.

29Wanton, in Chinese cuisine, is a small dumpling with a savory filling of minced pork, usually eaten boiled in soup, or with mami16 noodles.

30“Ponzu,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzu.

31Siopao is the Filipino version of the Cantonese steamed bun called cha siu bao, served hot as a popular snack item in the Philippines. The filling/variant is either asado28 or bola-bola (ground pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or salted duck egg). NOTE: Siopao literally means “hot bun”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siopao”.32

32“Siopao,” accessed February 3, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siopao.

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