THE GREAT BUDDHA CAFÉ: A Great Dining Experience

LOCATION: 2nd Floor UBE Tower, 628 Ongpin Street, Binondo1, Manila 1006 Metro Manila2

The Great Buddha Café is a casual Chinese restaurant located in a three-storey building at the heart of Binondo1. Its menu is inspired by Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine and it is a good option for dining with family (including kids) and friends.

It is called Great Buddha because the (Eng Bee Tin) owners want guests to feel happy and contented – feelings that are embodied by the golden Buddha statue sitting inside the restaurant’s premises. Their use of quality ingredients ensures that customers get value for money.

Do you know what Eng Bee Tin means? Eng stands for “forever”, Bee stands for “beautiful” and Tin stands for “precious”. Eng Bee Tin in Hokkien literally means “ever beauty precious”.

Eng Bee Tin popularized ube3 hopia4 and eventually ventured into other pastries and other related products.

The company making this favorite and iconic hopia brand is helmed by Mr. Ube himself, Mr. Gerry Chua, a third- generation Chinese entrepreneur, whose grandfather, Chua Chiu Hong, came to the Philippines from Xiamen, China, and established a small stall on Nueva Street in 1912.5

Gerry always wears a violet t-shirt and matching eyeglasses. He is also known to have formed an active volunteer community firefighting organization.

A trial opening of The Great Buddha Café was held on from February 10 to 20, 2019, in time for the Chinese New Year. It then closed on February 21 for the finishing touches and reopened thereafter.

The Great Buddha Café is open 8am till 10pm daily, but, sorry, no reservations are accepted. It easily gets packed and parking is a problem so, either have a driver drop you off, come early to get a parking space, or just use Grab6 service to get there without any stress.

1-ground flIt offers Chinese dishes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. But wait! There’s more! Imagine stepping into a one-stop-shop building where the ground floor offers all your favorites Eng Bee Tin goodies – mooncakes7, hopias4, tikoy8, Chinese deli and bakery products, mochi9, noodles, etc.

1-eng bee tin goodies-ok

There is also an escalator which easily brings you to the second floor.1-2nd-fl-1-ok

1-2nd-fl-shop-okOn this floor, you not only feast your eyes on Chinese charms and decorations but also on native bags, fans, etc. in an open-style souvenir-shop display. I bought a beautiful rattan bag and a couple of lucky charms. Of course, this floor is also where you can dine and enjoy Chinese cuisine.

1-2nd-fl-buddha-okThe café looks so spacious and what will attract your attention on one side of the dining area is the huge golden buddha statue with two intricately carved wooden chairs on each side. Guests may take turns posing with the buddha and/or seated on the chair/s. This is indeed a welcome feeling of space compared to other restaurants in the area.There is also free wi-fi.

Coming soon would be the Eng Bee Tin museum on the third floor. I guess they will feature the history of this brand and the process of making their famous hopia4.

I read somewhere that this building has a wheelchair-accessible lift. I will check it out next time I visit.

Here is the menu:

1-menu-1-dimsum-ok                                                                          Dimsum10 

1-menu-2-claypot rice-ok                                                                         Claypot Rice 

1-menu-3-roastings-ok                                                                          Roastings 

1-menu-4-side orders-ok                                                                           Short Orders 

1-menu-5-noodles=congee-ok                                                              Noodles and Congee11 

1-menu-7-squids-ok                                           You can also order squids dishes

1-menu-8-siomai-frice-okFried Shrimp Wonton, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Chicken with Anchovies and Black Pepper Beef are also available

1-menu-6-desserts-drinks-ok.jpg                                                            Desserts and Drinks 

Sorry, no alcoholic beverages are offered.

And now, for my dining experience in this restaurant:

The senior citizens in my group, including myself, appreciated the automatic glass door and the Chinese deli and goodies shop on the ground floor (a must stop before leaving this building for “pasalubongs12”); the escalator to bring us to the second floor; the souvenir shop on the second floor, a few steps away from the escalator; and of course, the very spacious, well-lit, and air-conditioned dining area complete with its smiling and friendly service staff.

1-2nd-fl-dining-okI had lunch here with four other family members. The air-conditioning temperature was just right even when the dining area was full.

We ordered: Hainanese Chicken, Salt and Pepper Fried Squid, Pork Ribs Glazed with Honey Garlic Sauce, Beef Tendon Claypot Rice, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Xiao Long Bao13, Pork and Shrimp Siomai14, and Sun Cake ala Mode.

1-order-1-hainanese chixThe Hainanese Chicken (PHP600 for a whole chicken) was served hot. The chicken was so tender and flavorful and I really enjoyed it along with the Ginger Sauce, made of ginger, garlic, sesame oil and chicken broth. I like the idea that the sauce was portioned per person so we do not have to take turns getting from one large container.

1-order-2-squid-okThe Salt and Pepper Fried Squid (PHP340) was fried and seasoned just right. The chopped red and green pepper not only improved its appearance, but its overall taste as well.

1-order-3-pork ribsThe Pork Ribs Glazed with Honey Garlic Sauce (PHP320) was delightfully savory. The pork was very tender and crispy, and the flavorful honey-garlic glaze was so magical to my taste buds.

1-order-4-claypot riceThe Beef Tendon Claypot Rice (PHP260) was good for one generous serving. The tendon was very tender and the sauce tasted just right with the beef tendon and plain rice.

1-order-5-fried rice-okThe Yang Chow Fried Rice (PHP240) was served hot and the rice was pleasantly mixed with shrimps, meat, bits of scrambled egg and other colorful and flavorful ingredients. This was a welcome accompaniment for the main dishes we ordered.

1-order-6-xlb-okTheXiao Long Bao (XLB for short, PHP248 for 10 pieces) was served hot in a bamboo steamer basket. The skin is just right (not too thick, not too thin) and did not easily tear when lifted onto the Chinese soup spoon. The soup inside the dimsum10 was tasty and the meat filling was tender. We appreciated the portioned dipping sauce made of black vinegar and fresh ginger slivers.

The Pork and Shrimp Siomai14 (PHP128 for 4 pieces) was likewise served hot in a bamboo steamer basket. It was tender and very tasty, and we enjoyed it with a soy sauce-calamansi15-chili-garlic dip.

1-order-7-dessert-okI ordered the HK-Style Flaky Egg Tart (PHP58) but was told it was already sold out. Next time, I will come earlier and try it. Anyway, I settled for Sun Cake16 ala Mode. It was served with chocolate ice cream on top with chocolate syrup. I found it too sweet, so next time, I will request them not to place the chocolate syrup.

1-2nd-fl-dining-crew-okThe dining room employees were all very accommodating and efficient. Dishes were served at the right temperature and pace.

You can also request the waiter to buy your favorite milk tea17 at a nearby store. Now that is what I call SERVICE!

1-order-sauces-dips-okAccompanying sauces/dips were given to each person which we really appreciated. Oh, you can also ask for more, just in case you are partial to them, like the ginger sauce for the Hainanese Chicken.

Cash is the only form of payment accepted.

The restrooms are on the third floor, a bit far from the second-floor dining area, especially for senior citizens, but are very well maintained. Both the men’s and ladies’ restrooms smell good and are very clean, with automatic faucets and well-supplied soap and toilet paper.

The escalator from the second floor to the ground floor was much appreciated after our meal, and prior to a much-awaited stop to shop at the ground floor to buy “pasalubongs”12.

We will definitely come back for more and even try other food/beverage items.

Contact information: Telephone Numbers (02) 288 8888, 288 8881 local 129, and 241 9999; Instagram @greatbuddhacafe and @loveengbeetin

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.  Tohsiah! (“Many thanks!” in Hokkien)

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

1Binondo is the Chinatown of the Philippines, considered the oldest in the world, established in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. It is a district in Manila and the hub of Chinese commerce, according to the Wikipedia page “Binondo”.18

2Metro Manila is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Metro Manila”.19

3Ube is the Filipino term for purple yam (Dioscoreaalata). It is a kind of vividly violet to bright lavender colored yam or tuberous root vegetable, with origins in the Asian tropics. It is also called greater yam. It is used in a variety of desserts as well as a flavoring for ice cream, milk, and a variety of pastries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Dioscorea alata”.20

4Hopia is the Filipino term for bakpia, a popular, inexpensive, Philippine and Indonesian bean-filled mooncake7-like pastry, originally introduced by Fujianese immigrants in these countries’ urban centers during the turn of the 20th century. It is also a favored gift for families, relatives and friends. The flaky type uses Chinese puff pastry while the cake-dough type uses a soft cookie-dough similar to Japanese bean cakes. There are four traditional and popular fillings: mung bean (called “mongo” in Filipino), azuki (red mongo), purple yam (called “ube” in Filipino), and pork. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bakpia”.21

5https://www.manilatimes.net/mr-ubes-quest-sweet-success/346473/

6Grab is a private car for hire service provider.

7A mooncake is a Chinese baked pastry, traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, held late September to early October, with a full moon. It is typically round, with a rich thick filling, usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste, surrounded by a 2-3 mm thin crust, and may contain 1-2 yolks from salted duck eggs in its center, according to Wikipedia page “List of Chinese bakery products”.22 It is usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by tea. It is offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival. It is also customary for businessmen or families to give mooncakes to clients or relatives as presents. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mooncake”.23

8Tikoy is the Filipino term for niangao or Chinese New Year’s cake, originally from China, and widely consumed in the Philippines. It is eaten all year round but is considered good luck to eat it during Chinese New Year (on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, i.e., between January 21 and February 20) and traditionally during Duanwu Festival (held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, i..e, between the end of May till mid-June). This sticky rice cake is usually sliced, dipped or coated with beaten egg, fried until crispy but chewy inside, and enjoyed among all members of the family for closeness or unity, due to its sticky nature since it is made from glutinous rice flour. It is sweetened with brown sugar, giving it a dark yellow to light brown color, often prepared with different flavors. It also means “raising oneself taller in each coming year,” symbolizing a higher position, higher income, the growth of children, and generally, the promise of a better year. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nian gao”.24

9Mochi is a chewy Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grained japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. It is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year (held December 31/January 1 till January 4), and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. In Japan, it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mochi”.25

10Dimsum refers to fully cooked, ready-to-serve, small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. The term literally means “heart’s delight” or “touch heart”. They are usually served with tea and together, form a full tea brunch. In some Cantonese teahouses, carts with dimsum are served around the restaurant. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Dimsum”.26

11Congee, or conjee, is a type of thick, Chinese rice porridge or gruel, popular in many Asian countries. It can be eaten plain, served with side dishes. Meat, fish and flavorings can be added. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation. Culture also often dictates the way congee is cooked and eaten. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Congee”.27

12 Pasalubong is the Filipino term for the tradition of giving gifts or souvenirs, from a destination visited by a Filipino, to family and friends upon one’s return home.

13Xiao long bao (XLB), literally “small basket buns”, are steamed dumplings or buns, named after Xiaolong, the small bamboo steaming baskets they were traditionally steamed in. It is a kind of tang bao (“soup bun”) or guantang bao (“soup-filled bun”). This soup dumpling is served piping hot and has a delicate skin that encases a pork-based filling and a gelatinized meat broth created by wrapping solid meat aspic inside the skin. During steaming, the broth liquefies, poaching the pork in a rich, savory soup. As the dumpling cools, the broth solidifies and the skin hardens, so eat this quickly but carefully. How? Place your Chinese soup spoon close to the dumpling. Grab the dumpling close to the knot with your chopsticks, and gently lift it from the steamer. If the dumpling sticks to the bottom of the steamer, peel it off slowly; do not tug so as not to rupture the skin. Remember, you want to savor the soup intact and inside the skin. Do not put the whole, hot dumpling in your mouth because it might be too hot, scald you, and cause you pain. You need to let the steam out and let it cool for a few seconds. In a fine dining restaurant, you could be given a big spoon so you can take a smaller bite along the side. The broth then drains into the spoon and you can decently sip it. In regular Chinese restaurants, you can nip off the top of the dumpling, or nibble off a piece of the skin on the side of the dough ring using your front teeth, pause to give it a few moments to cool, and savor the rich broth by sucking the juice directly out of the skin. You can then easily devour the rest of the dumpling in one slurp. You just need a little amount of the dipping sauce made of black vinegar and fresh ginger slivers. You have 4 options: you can put the sauce in your empty spoon before scooping up the dumpling; you can dip the dumpling in the sauce before putting it in your spoon; you can place the dumpling in your spoon then drizzle the vinegar over it; or, you can add the sauce to the drained dumpling after you have slurped all the broth out.28, 29, 30

14Siomai is a traditional Chinese dumpling, usually served hot as a popular snack item in the Philippines. It is usually made of seasoned ground pork with bits of shrimp, mushrooms, and other preferred ingredients/seasonings.

15Calamansi is a small (about 30-mm in diameter), tangy-sour citrus fruit with a thin, green skin (which turns yellow-orange when ripe), with a yellow/orange pulp. The juice is used in various food and beverages as a major/minor ingredient, seasoning or dipping ingredient for siomai14 and lugao31.

16Sun Cake is a round Taiwanese dessert with a flaky crust and filled with condensed malt sugar. It is usually sold in special gift boxes as souvenirs for visitors. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Suncake (Taiwan)”.32

17Milk tea is a Hong Kong-style tea drink made of black tea, sweetened with sweet evaporated milk21 or condensed milk, usually part of lunch in Hong Kong tea culture, according to the Wikipedia page “Hong Kong-style milk tea”.33

18“Binondo,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binondo

19“Metro Manila,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Manila

20“Dioscorea alata,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_alata

21“Bakpia,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakpia

22“List of Chinese bakery products,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_bakery_products

23“Mooncake,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooncake

24“Nian gao,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nian_gao

25“Mochi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mochi

26“Dimsum,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimsum

27“Congee,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congee

28https://thetakeout.com

29https://www.thrillist.com

30“Xiaolongbao,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongbao

31Lugao is the Tagalog term for a slightly thick congee11, seasoned, and boiled with ginger, onion and garlic. The stock depends on the desired taste/topping: ground pork, chicken, fish, liver, kidney, tripe, with a hard-boiled egg, or just served plain. It could be garnished with chopped green onions and toasted garlic, and served with fresh calamansi15, fish sauce and pepper.

32“Suncake (Taiwan),” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suncake_(Taiwan)

33“Hong Kong-style milk tea,” accessed January 4, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong-style_milk_tea.

CEV: Ceviche Heaven in Siargao

LOCATION: Loose Keys Moto Culture, Tourism Road, municipality of General Luna, Siargao Island, province of Surigao del Norte

Picture this: You are in Siargao Island and staying in General Luna and it is your first night, or your next night/s after surfing or island hopping. Do you want to go to a bar yet try something different to eat? Well, why not go to Cev?

0-cev-1Loose Keys-Cev, located along Tourism Road, municipality of General Luna, Siargao

Loose Keys, the bar part of this establishment, opened sometime mid-2018, while the kitchen part, called Cev, opened on November 2018.

You cannot miss this cevicheria-bar, owned by David del Rosario, a surfer with a culinary course from the USA, who claims to be “living his best life” in Siargao.

Cev is along Tourism Road, the main road of the municipality of General Luna. It is near a popular restaurant called Bravo.

The open-air atmosphere in Loose Keys-Cev is cozy and perfect for relaxation after surfing or island-hopping. What’s that? You don’t drive, and have not rented a motorcycle? No worries. Just ride a tricycle. Pay PHP20 per person, and the driver will drop you right in front of this place.

Operating hours are 11:00 am till 9 pm daily.

0-cev-2

0-cev-3

0-cev-4Take three steps up the entrance, and to your left are the items for sale (shirts, surfing boards, etc.).

0-cev-7To your right is a billiard table and high stools with the wooden frame of the restaurant’s border where you can place your cold beer or cocktail while playing billiards, or when just chilling and enjoying a drink while facing the main road, watching people and vehicles pass by.

0-cev-5A little further to the left are two small dining tables for four, then a bar, where customers can sit, order drinks and chill.

To the inner right are longer tables for bigger groups to gather, eat ceviche1 and kinilaw2 dishes, drink, and enjoy each other’s company.

51724465_809269626098180_2493690086873366528_oCev is busy at night, so come early! (Photo from http://www.facebook.com/cevsiargao)

0-cev-9-ok                                          Wall Menu, Loose Keys-Cev, Siargao

BeFunky-collageDave del Rosario with the catch of the day (l-r): Mahi-mahi3 (the favorite fish),  Cobia (delicate, plump, almost sweet; 21 kilos in pic), Talakitok or Bigeye Jack (8.5 kilos in pic), all for Cev’s ceviche dishes and kinilaw rice bowls.  (Photos from http://www.facebook.com/cevsiargao)

0-cev-10-ok                                                    Menu Card, Loose Keys-Cev, Siargao

Serving portions of two colorful and eye-appealing ceviche1 dishes, PACIFICO and SANTA FE (at PHP320 each), are big enough to be shared by two to three persons.

0-cev-16-pacifico-okWe enjoyed Pacifico: fresh fish prepared with calamansi4 juice, cilantro5, and red onions, made creamy with coconut milk,and complemented in texture and taste by soft boiled sweet potatoes and soft sweet corn kernels, as well as the crisp fried sweet potato strings and tortilla chips. I surmise that the leche de tigre6 added a certain appeal to the dish among male customers (see the footnote below). You must try this ceviche1 creation!

0-cev-13-santa fe-okWe also ordered Santa Fe. This ceviche1 is very interesting! The fresh fish is prepared with calamansi4 juice, and flavored with red onions, and cilantro5, along with tomato puree. The tortilla chips and cucumber slices gave a contrasting texture and added flavor, and the fried bananas and popcorn offered an added treat for this dish.

Colorful and visually attractive kinilaw2 rice bowls (at PHP280 each), good enough for sharing between two seniors, are available: General Luna (named after the town it is located), Daku, Guyam, and Naked (named after three popular islands in Siargao). Mix all the ingredients well so you get a bit of everything per spoonful. See their descriptions in the menu above.

0-cev-14-guyamWe only ordered two kinilaw2 dishes. The Guyam kinilaw2 rice bowl, made of garlic rice, grilled pork belly strips, along with the fresh fish, made tangy with sweet calamansi4 and coconut vinegar, was very satisfying. The ginger, pickled papaya, red and green onions gave enough spiciness, while the crunchy cucumber slices and roasted corn provided added texture plus an element of surprise to this dish.

0-cev-15-gen lunaThe General Luna kinilaw-garlic rice bowl features grilled eggplant, made creamy with coconut milk, and the fresh fish is combined with coco vinegar, ginger and red onions. The surprise was the combination of spiced mango cubes, fried sweet potatoes and black beans.

0-cev-11The alcoholic beverages offered are: Signature Cocktails (Drunken Monkey, Open Water, Sunken Sailor, and Treasure Chest), Classic Cocktails (Amaretto Sour, Margarita, Mojito, and Piña Colada), House Specials (Bacardi & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Jack Daniel & Coke, Rum & Coke/Sprite, Vodka Cranberry, and Vodka Soda), and Beers (San Miguel Light, San Miguel Pale Pilsen, Beer na Beer, Brew Kettle, Red Horse, and General Luna Ale7).

Our male companions ordered beer, which was served well chilled.

0-cev-12Non-alcoholic beverages include: hot or iced coffee (americano, cappuccino, espresso, latté, mocha), hot or iced signature drinks (almond, chocolate, salted caramel, toffee), juices and smoothies (banana, calamansi4, cranberry, mango, watermelon), and soft drinks (Coke and Sprite).

0-cev-17-drinksI ordered a watermelon smoothie. It was served in a highball glass with a bamboo straw, which I appreciated because of their non-plastic policy. This drink was just right: it was refreshing, creamy and not that sweet. Duirng our next visit, I ordered a Margarita. This cocktail was balanced, with the right amount of tequila, sourness, bitterness and sweetness. I definitely enjoyed this drink.

So, when in Siargao, why not stop by at Cev to drink a cold beer/cocktail along with Pacifico Ceviche (PHP320) while playing billiards, and/or order our favorite Guyam kinilaw rice bowl (PHP280) for lunch/dinner? Besides, you can get to meet the most friendly, hospitable, good-looking, and hands-on restaurant owner in Siargao, just ask for Dave!

Contact information: Instagram: @cevsiargao;  @loosekeysmotoculture;  http://www.facebook.com/cevsiargao

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

Did you find this post informative? Have you tried Cev? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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

1Ceviche is a popular Latin American dish where the raw cubed fish or shrimp is diced and “cooked” in citrus juice, then mixed with other ingredients like red onions, cilantro5 and chilis, according to the Wikipedia page “Ceviche”.8

2Kinilaw is the Filipino term which literally means “eaten raw”. It usually refers to a raw fish or seafood dish, native to the Philippines, similar to ceviche1, although lightly grilled meat and vegetables may also be used. It basically relies on (coconut or cane) vinegar to denature the ingredients, and has a souring agent like calamansi4, balimbing9, dayap10, green mangoes and kamias11. It is flavored with salt and spices like black pepper, chili peppers, ginger and onions. The dish could be served as an appetizer, as a finger food (pulutan in Tagalog) with alcoholic beverages. There are many Filipino regional variations. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kinilaw”.12

3The mahi-mahi, or common dolphinfish, is a surface-dwelling ray-finned, compressed-bodied fish with a single, long-based dorsal fin extending from the head almost to the tail, found in off-shore, temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters worldwide. Males have a prominent forehead protruding well above the body proper while the smaller females have a rounded head. This colorful fish has a golden side, bright blues and greens on the sides and back, and an iridescent blue pectoral fin. Its color fades to a muted yellow-grey upon death. The name comes from the Hawaiian language which means “very strong”, through the process of reduplication. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mahi-mahi”.13

4Calamansi is a small (about 30-mm in diameter), tangy-sour citrus fruit with a thin, green skin (which turns yellow-orange when ripe), with a yellow/orange pulp. The juice is used in various food and beverages as a major/minor ingredient, seasoning or dipping ingredient.

5Cilantro, coriander, or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb where the leaves, with citrus overtones, and dried seeds, with a warm, nutty, spicy, lemony-orange flavor when crushed, are the parts most traditionally used in cooking worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Coriander”.14

6Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) is the citrus-based spicy marinade used to cure the fish in classic Peruvian ceviche1. Thus, it is the leftover juices of a ceviche, which usually contains a bit of fish juice, fresh lime juice, sliced onions, cilantro5 leaves, chilis, chopped celery ribs, thinly sliced garlic cloves, finely grated ginger, kosher salt and pepper.15, 16, 17 It is said to be the Peruvian version of Viagra and has aphrodisiac properties.18

7subject to availability

8“Ceviche,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceviche.

9Balimbing, carambola, or star fruit, is an edible fruit with the scientific name Averrhoa carambola, native to the Philippines and Indonesia. The oval fruit is about 5-15 cm (2-6 in.) in length, has (usually 5) distinctive ridges running down its sides, and commonly eaten out of hand. It has a smooth, thin, slightly waxy skin. The flesh is crunchy, firm, and very juicy. It does not contain fiber, and has a texture similar in consistency to that of grapes. The small type is sour/tart while the larger type is sweet. It is best consumed shortly after it ripens, just after all traces of green have disappeared, with brown ridges at the edges, and still fells firm. If you cut this fruit crosswise, each slice is shaped like a star. It can also be used in cooking, and can be made into juice drinks, preserves and relishes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Carambola”.19

10Dayap is the Philippine variety of key lime (Citrus x aurantiifolia), a citrus hybrid (C. micrantha x C. medina). This spherical fruit is 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in.) in diameter. It is usually picked while it is still green and turns yellow, when ripe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Key lime”.20

11Kamias is the Filipino term for Averrhoa bilimbi, an ellipsoidal, elongated fruit, measuring 4-10 cm, and sometimes faintly angled. The smooth to slightly bumpy skin is thin and waxy, turning from light green, to yellowish-green when ripe. The flesh is crisp and the juice is sour and extremely acidic, and therefore not typically consumed as fresh fruit itself. In the Philippines, it is often planted in backyards, and the fruits eaten raw or dipped in rock salt. It can also be sun-dried then preserved, used as a souring agent for Filipino dishes, or used to make salad, mixed with tomatoes and chopped onions, with soy sauce as dressing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Averrhoa bilimbi”.21

12“Kinilaw,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinilaw.

13“Mahi-mahi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahi-mahi.

14“Coriander,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander.

15www.bonappetit.com

16www.popsugar.com

17www.saveur.com

18www.miamiculinarytours.com

19“Carambola,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carambola.

20“Key lime,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_lime.

21“Averrhoa bilimbi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averrhoa_bilimbi.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS: A SATISFYING WESTERN TREAT

Location: 4th floor, Uptown Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Fort Bonifacio Global, Taguig City, Philippines

Admit it, dearest Seniors, there are times when you crave for guilt-free dining. And, one way is to succumb to a Western treat when you are in BGC! So, off we trooped to BUFFALO WILD WINGS (BWW) at Uptown Mall1.1-bw

It is open from 11 am till 11 pm and offers wi-fi as well as outdoor seating.

We came early for lunch so we were one of the first diners for that day.

But first, here is a very brief background of the restaurant. Buffalo Wild Wings is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the USA, Canada, India, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Founded in Ohio in 1982 by Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery, it specializes in buffalo wings2 and sauces, and is also well known for chicken tenders3and legs. It was called “Buffalo Wild Wings &Weck” (BW3) till 1998, since it also served “Beef on Weck”4.

Entering through the main glass doorway, you will immediately step into a spacious and modern sports dining area that is well lit with adequate indoor lighting, plus natural light through the outer glass walls. Brown, yellow and off-white colors exude a relaxing ambiance. The outer glass walls and the inner brick walls are dotted with wide/flat-television screens showing various sporting events. Sports memorabilia/murals and framed pictures are also showcased on the walls. The mood is definitely casual yet cozy.2-bw

The pub-style bar is a just few steps away from the entrance and you will be greeted and escorted to a table, depending on the number of people in your group.3-bw

The staff’s uniform is a jersey-like t-shirt and pants. The number 82 is printed on the sleeves, signifying the year when the chain was established.5-bw

There is a place for kids to play video games. Now, this feature, dearest seniors, would be helpful if we, adults, have not had enough of our conversations, and the kids are restless and bored. It will definitely allow us more mileage to continue our stories and exchanges.

Once seated, we were given menu cards and so, we focused on the available options, eager to satisfy our hungry tummies. Going over the menu, I could picture family and friends enjoying and sharing buffalo wings, along with different US beef and pork dishes, or the younger generation getting together with friends after a hard day at work, to relax and unwind watching their favorite sports on television screens, and all of that while enjoying a glass of cold draught beer!

6-bw

The restaurant offers a variety of tempting platters, all served with a platter of dirty rice (PHP1,495): Most Valuable Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub5, honey barbecue ribs, and grilled pork belly); All Star Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and teriyaki pork belly); and, Three Point Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and fried pork chop).

You can also order: Crispy Pork Hock (slow-cooked and deep-fried crispy pig’s trotter, paired with balsamic vinegar dip, PHP795); The Big Ribs (oven roasted fall-off-the-bone honey barbecue half or full ribs, served with fries, PHP695, PHP1295); Double-Thick Herbed Chop (grilled herb chop served with brown pepper sauce and dirty rice, PHP495 for 400 grams); 3/5/9- piece Crispy Fried Chicken (PHP345, 560, 995); or, 3/5/9-piece Classic Roasted Chicken (PHP 465, 695, 1195).

Three burgers are available to choose from: Mozzarella Burger (topped with pepperoni slices, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, drizzled with parmesan garlic sauce and parmesan cheese flakes, PHP595); Smokehouse Burger (grilled juicy burger topped with a slice each of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, drizzled with honey barbecue and smoked aiolisauce, PHP545); and, Buffalo Bleu Burger (with dill pickle chips, bleu cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with the signature medium sauce, PHP545).

A wide selection of beverages is offered: soft drinks (PHP105), Red Bull Energy Drink (PHP130), lemonades (PHP145), limeades (PHP155), fresh fruit juices (PHP130), domestic, imported and draft beers (PHP105-395), coffee and tea (PHP95), and drinks of the season (PHP155-275).

We ordered only two food items: Baby Back Ribs, and a large order of Buffalo Wings with an extra order of Blue Cheese Dip, plus beer, and soft drinks. It is a bit pricey, I must say, so dearest Seniors, do not forget your Senior Citizen cards! Portions of orders are good for sharing though.

The Baby Back Ribs were delicious. The meat was very tender and flavorful. The accompanying fries and slaw were prepared and seasoned just rightand complemented the ribs well.

The large order of Buffalo Wings was crisp, tasty and juicy. An extra order of the Blue Cheese Dip was needed to complete our enjoyment of the Buffalo Wings.

The beverages were served cold.

Overall, the taste of the food was good.

Service was fast. The staff was good at offering menu suggestions and was also great when dealing with kids.

The rest room is clean and well-maintained.

Reservations are recommended. Contact information: (02) 801-5993; 09157946102

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant. If I come back, I will try their nachos, burgers, chicken salad, spinach artichoke dip, and mango shake.

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 interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Uptown Mall, formerly Uptown Place Mall, is a shopping mall at the 36th Street of Uptown Bonifacio complex in the northern part of Bonifacio Global City, in Taguig City, Metro Manila. It is owned and managed by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, a subsidiary of Megaworld Corporation, according to the Wikipedia page “Uptown Mall”.7

2A Buffalo wing is an unbreaded chicken wing drumette8 or flat9, generally deep-fried, then coated and/or dipped in a mild, medium hot, or hot sauce made of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper, hot sauce and melted butter/margarine prior to serving. It is a popular American dish generally served hot, along with celery stalks and/or carrot sticks, with blue cheese dressing for dipping. All information were from the Wikipedia page “Buffalo wing”.10

3Chicken tenders is a common American chicken snack made of deep-fried breaded chicken meat prepared from the pectoralis minor muscles11 of the said fowl. It is also called chicken fillets, chicken fingers, chicken goujons, chicken strips, or tendies. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

4Beef on Weck is a sandwich made with roast beef on a soft kummelweck roll13. It is found primarily in Western New York State in the USA, particularly in the city of Buffalo. The meat on the sandwich is traditionally served rare, thin cut, with the top bun getting a dip au jus and spread with horseradish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Beef on weck”.14

5A dry rub is a mixture of dried spices and herbs, usually with salt and sugar, rubbed directly into raw meat prior to cooking. It does not have any wet ingredient. It creates a crust on the meat and enhances its flavor without adding moisture.15

6Aioli is a Mediterranean sauce basically made of garlic and olive oil.

7“Uptown Mall,”accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uptown_Mall.

8A drumette is the top section of a chicken wing which is meatier than the two lower parts, called the wingette or flat9, and wing tip or flapper, respectively, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

9A flat or wingette is the second or middle section of a chicken wing, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

10“Buffalo wing,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_wing.

11The pectoralis minor muscles of the chicken is a thin, triangular muscle, located on either side of the breastbone, under the breast meat. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

12“Chicken fingers,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_fingers.

13A kummelweck roll is a large, crusty, glazed roll made in Buffalo, New York, USA, made from white wheat flour. “Kummel” means “caraway” in German, and “weck” means “bread roll”.17

14“Beef on Weck,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_on_Weck.

15www.primermagazine.com

16“Poultry,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poultry.

17www.cooksinfo.com

PLEASING THE PALATE AT PEOPLE’S PALACE

Location: G/F, Garden Side, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Centre, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

People’s Palace is a delightful modern Thai-Asian restaurant located in Greenbelt 3. It showcases a casual, spacious yet cozy dining experience, even for groups. Dishes are MSG free, and some vegetarian-friendly dishes are also offered. It is owned and operated by Riselaw Restaurant, Inc., the same company behind Sala Bistro and Sala Restaurant.

9-entrance-ok

As a brief background, Scottish restaurateur Colin Mackay arrived in the Philippines from Hong Kong in 1996, and joined business partners Chico Angeles and Kerwin Go to open People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3 in 2005.*

Now, I know what is in the minds of my readers who are not familiar with Greenbelt and its parking. Well, worry no more because Greenbelt Mall offers extensive basement pay parking with entrances on Makati Avenue and Esperanza Drive. You can also avail of valet parking operated by the mall along Esperanza Drive fronting Greenbelt 2. There are 2 drop off points for clients with chauffeurs: one along Makati Avenue (between Greenbelt 3 and 4) and one along Esperanza Drive (fronting New World Makati Hotel).*

People’s Palace is open daily with hours of operation as follows: Monday to Friday (11AM – 2:30PM) for lunch; Monday to Thursday (6PM-11PM) and Friday (6PM -12 midnight) for dinner; and, all day on Saturday (11AM – 12 midnight) and Sunday (11AM– 11PM).

The simple, yet elegant and modern dining area has a high ceiling with just the right amount of lighting for a comfortable ambiance at night. It offers seating for 88 guests, with additional casual dining at the long white glass bar.*

The glass walls along the walkway of the Garden Side make this restaurant seem even more spacious than it is.

The al fresco garden dining area, fronting the restaurant, can accommodate 50 guests. The lounge area offers huge leatherette “day beds” where up to 50 guests can order cocktails or dine casually at low bench tables.*

Food orders may seem pricey, but the portions are good for sharing. (So dearest Seniors, keep this in mind when ordering.) Table booking is recommended because this restaurant gets packed during lunch and dinner.

And now for our dining experience.

(insert pic – PP-2)

We called ahead of time to reserve a table. We were warmly greeted when we entered the restaurant.10-reception-okHospitable People’s Palace staff – Cashier Kaye Valerio and Assistant Restaurant Manager Gerald Tan

After confirmation of our reservation, we were immediately shown to our table, with the server forewarning us of the higher level of our table location, so we would have safe footing. I appreciated that because I have the tendency to walk fast and presume that the level of the flooring is always even!

The server briefly left when we were all seated, but quickly returned with a tall stool for our bags. Again, a gesture I appreciated, instead of us asking for it.

Rectangular menu/beverage cards were handed to us. I noticed that the format was friendly to first-time guests since the former indicated “must try” dishes and spicy dishes (although you can request to lighten the spice level, if desired), while some special/unfamiliar beverages indicated tastes/major ingredients. Take note that quoted prices do not include the 10% service charge.

I also liked the idea of separate cards since I did not have to flip through different pages. There are separate cards for:

Hot Soups and Appetizers, Cool Salads (front of card) –4-soups-salads-ok

Curries, Stir Fries, Rice and Noodles (back of card) –5-curries-ok

Sweets and Hot Beverages –6-sweets-ok

Refreshing Juices, Smoothies and Shakes –7-juices-ok

Softies (soft drinks and mineral waters); Local and World Beers; and Spirits/After Dinner Liqueurs and Mixers –8-softies-ok

The members of my group, as usual, were very hungry after shopping/working-out so we went over the menu card and selected five items: Thom Yum Thalay; Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad; Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce; Chicken Pandan; and, Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream. We did not order any beverage that day.

The Thom Yum Thalay (PHP460) is Hot and Sour Seafood Soup. It was served hot, with just the right amount of sourness. The assorted seafood was fresh, and cooked just right.

The savory and creamy Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad (PHP480) was so refreshing and delicious. The presentation was colorful and so appealing with the generous large chunks of sweet and juicy pomelo, succulent prawns, onions, cilantro, and crunchy nuts. The coconut cream and the chili-fish sauce accompaniments, when added to the salad with its vinaigrette dressing, complemented the combined textures and flavors of the ingredients. Guess what? We asked for another order!11-salad0ok

The Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce (PHP390) was very tasty so we had to ask for another order too.3-lumpia-ok

The Chicken Pandan (PHP420) was a safe order for kids and kids at heart. The chicken was juicy and tasty. By the way, we requested the wrapping to be removed.12-chicken-ok

The Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream (PHP290) was a refreshing dessert, with just the right amount of sweetness.2-dessert-ok

The best feature I experienced in this restaurant was the fast and efficient service of the staff, something I seldom get from other restaurants. My group had dinner, and, even though the dining area was packed, the orders were speedily paced and served. Requests like extra dips/condiments were promptly brought, and reheating of the soup for a late diner was quickly done. Water glasses were replenished even without our asking, and several courtesy checks were made to ensure our dining experience would be satisfying. Yes, dearest Seniors, you will be very satisfied with the service in this restaurant!

Requesting the bill and waiting for the change as well as the return of our senior citizen cards were likewise swiftly executed.

So, kudos to the management for instilling the value of quality in food/beverages and service for a very satisfying dining experience. Hats off also to Scottish chef, Colin Mackay, for the very brief waiting time and well-paced serving of orders even with an almost full house.

A minor comment though: personally, I found the round table good for six persons a bit small for comfortable elbow room and for our five orders.

But, overall, we left this restaurant very satisfied and will definitely come back.

On my next visit, I will try their other popular offerings like: Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad, Crispy Lapu-Lapu,Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Mango Relish, Mussaman Curry of Lamb, Pad Thai, Stir-Fried Prawns, Thom Kha Gai, Thom Yum Goong, Tod Man Pla, Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Seed Ice Cream, Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova, Panna Cotta with Cardamom and Spice Apricots, and Thai Iced Tea. Definitely, so many reasons to return!

For reservations, call (02) 729-2888, to be sure you will have a table waiting for you during peak hours.

People’s Palace is also available for hire as an exclusive venue for private events (50 or more guests) any day of the week, along with a tailored package based on your specific requirements*:

  1. Private lunch events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down lunch from 11AM to 3PM, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP150K (Monday to Friday), PHP200K (Saturday), or PHP225K (Sunday);
  2. Private dinner events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down dinner from 6PM to 12 midnight, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP300K;
  3. Private garden events at the partially-covered garden area can accommodate 50 guests for a sit-down dinner or 100 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, from 6PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP120K; and,
  4. Private lounge events can be held in the lounge dining area, which can accommodate up to 50 guests for private cocktail events, with optional occasional seating on the ottomans and sofas, from 6:30PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP60K.

By the way, credit cards are also accepted so even if you are short of cash, you can still dine and unwind in this restaurant.

You may also contact the restaurant by Email at reservations@peoplespalacethai.com, or  by visiting its website at www.peoplespalacethai.com

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

Did you find this post informative? Have you dined in this restaurant? Tell me about it! I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the top right part of this post and click “Leave a comment.” Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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*www.peoplespalacethai.com

GINZADON: JAPANESE AND KOREAN CUISINE TOGETHER

Location: 2/F, Maxims Hotel, Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

The name of this fine dining Japanese-Korean restaurant, GINZADON, is a combination of two words: “Ginza”, the upscale Tokyo district, and “don”, the Korean term for money. Together, these terms assure the customers that they get the best of authentic Japanese and Korean dishes, served together for a “thrilling interplay of textures and tastes.”1

0-intro

This authentic Japanese-Korean restaurant is open from 11 am till 12 midnight, daily. It has a casual, yet comfortable, dining facilities.

It offers a wide range of dishes2:

  • SASHIMI3 (PHP200-1,100): Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp), Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Hotate (Scallops), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Ise Ebi (Live Lobster – PHP1,250/100g), Kanibo (Crab), Madai (Snapper), Madai Ozukuri (Thinly Sliced Snapper), Madako (Octopus), Maguro Tataki (Seared Tuna), Shake (Salmon), Shake Tataki (Seared Salmon), Shime Saba (Marinated Mackerel), and Tamago (Baked Egg).
  • Sushi4 (PHP100-440): Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp), Ebi (Shrimp), Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Hotate (Scallops), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Kanibo (Crab), Madako (Boiled Octopus), Madai (Snapper), Maguro (Tuna), Shake (Salmon), Shime Saba (Marinated Mackerel), Tamago (Thin Egg Omelet), Unagi (Eel), and Uni (Sea Urchin).
  • PLATTER (PHP900-2,160) – Sashimi and Sushi Moriawase (Sashimi3 and Sushi4 Platter), Sashimi Moriawase Matsu (Special Assorted Sashimi), and Sashimi Moriawase Take (Regular Assorted Sashimi)
  • URA MAKI5 (PHP370-1,500) – California Ura Maki (Inside-out Roll with Mango, Cucumber, and Crab Meat), Canadian Maki (Inside-out Roll with Mango, Crab Meat, Salmon, and Crispy Salmon Skin), Crazy Maki (Crunchy Maki Topped with Crabstick Salad), Dragon Roll Maki (Mango, Cucumber, and Crab Meat, Wrapped in Grilled Salmon Skin), Ebi Avocado Maki (Prawn and Avocado Roll), Futo Maki (Big Sushi Roll), Kani Maki (Soft Shell Crab Roll), Maguro Aburi Maki (Seared Tuna Roll), Maguro Ura Maki (California Roll with Tuna), Rainbow Maki (Avocado, Mango, Salmon, Tuna and Snapper Rolls), Shake Aburi Maki (Seared Salmon Roll), and Yulonagi Maki (California Roll with Eel Teriyaki)
  • SOUPS (PHP95-2,540) – Chawan Mushi (Steam Egg Custard), Hamachi Misoshiru (Yellow Tail Head Miso), Kani Misoshiru (Crab Miso, PHP398/100 g), Misoshiru (Plain Miso), Sakana Osuimono (Fish Clear Soup), Shake Misoshiru (Salmon Head Miso), and Yose Nabe (Seafood and Vegetable in Broth)
  • SALADS (PHP620-1,000) – Kanibo Salad (Crab Sticks, Cucumber, Tobiko6 and Japanese Mayonnaise), Poke Salad (Sliced Tuna and Green Ice Salad), Seared Tuna Salad (Lollo Rosso Leaves Topped with Seared Tuna), Shake Poke Salad (Sliced Salmon & Green Ice Salad), and Spicy Tuan Salad (Lollo Rosso Leaves Topped with Spicy Tuna in Special Sauce)
  • TEMPURA7 (PHP310-860) – Chicken Katsu (Deep-fried Breaded Chicken), Ebi Tempura (Shrimp), Ika Ring Karage (Fried Squid Rings), Kisu (Japanese Whiting Fish), Mixed Furai (Deep-fried Breaded Meat and Seafoods), Tempura Moriawase (Assorted Tempura), Tori No Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), and Yasai Kakiage (Deep Fried Vegetable Strips)
  • YAKIMONO8 (PHP280-2,490) – Aspara Bacon (Bacon Wrapped Asparagus), Butayaki (Pork Barbecue), Ebi No Shioyaki (Prawn with Salt), Gindara Teriyaki (Black Cod in Special Sauce), Hamachi Okashira Shioyaki (Grilled Yellow Tail Head), Kani Bacon Maki (Crab Sticks and Bacon Maki), Shake Harasu Yaki (Salmon Belly), Shake Okashira Shioyaki (Grilled Salmon Head), Unagi No Kabayaki (Thin Snapper), Uzura Bacon (Bacon Wrapped Quail Egg), and Yakitori (Chicken Barbecue)
  • TEPPANYAKI9 (PHP240-4,750) – Asparagus in Butter, Bean Sprouts, Chicken Teppanyaki in Teriyaki Sauce, Fillet of Salmon (Salmon Steak), Fillet of Yellow Fin Tuna (Tuna Steak with Pepper, Onion and Mange Tout), Green Capsicum, Local Lobster Teppanyaki (PHP1,288/100 g), Seafood Teppanyaki (Mixed Seafood Cooked with Sake in Special Japanese Sauce), U.S. Wagyu Beef Ribeye, U.S. Wagyu Striploin (Snake River Farms, Meat Marbling Standards A4, and Yasal Itame (Stir-fried Vegetables), and Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)
  • VEGETABLE DISHES (PHP205-620) – Agedashi Tofu (Deep-fried Tofu with Special Sauce), Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings), Gyutama Okonomiyaki (Pancakes with Beef and Eggs), Mabu Tofu (Braised Beancurd in Sweet Chili Sauce), Okonomiyaki (Japanese Cake with Vegetable and Seafood), Tofu Steak (Beancurd Steak)
  • RAMEN10 (PHP440-570) – Chasu Rane (Ramen Noodles with Pork Barbecue in Special Japanese Soup), Miso Ramen (Ramen Noodles with Japanese Miso Soup), and Shouyu Ramen (Ramen Noodles with Japanese Soya Sauce)
  • SOBA11/UDON12 (PHP360-830) – Hiyashi Chuka (Summer-Style Cold Noodles), Hiyashi Somen (Cold Thin Noodles), Tempura Soba (Japanese Thin Noodles Topped with Tempura in Special Soup), Tempura Udon (Japanese Thick Noodles Topped with Tempura in Special Soup), Tenzaru Soba (Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Tempura), Yaki Soba (Stir-fried Japanese Thin Noodles with Pork, Seafood, and Vegetables), and Yaki Udon (Stir-fried Thick Japanese Noodles with Pork, Seafood, and Vegetables)
  • RICE (PHP95-240) – Gohan (Steamed Japanese Rice), Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice), and Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Hand Molded Rice)
  • RICE TOPPINGS served with Miso13 Soup (PHP550-1,570) – Ebi Katsu Don (Deep-fried Braised Prawn on Steamed Japanese Rice), Gyudon (Black Angus Beef Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Katsudon (Japanese Pork Cutlet Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Tendon (Ebi Tempura Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Tori Don (Grilled Chicken Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Unagi Don (Grilled Eel Teriyaki Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), and Yakiniku Don (Stir-fried U.S. Beef Striploin Topped in Japanese Steamed Rice)
  • KOREAN BARBECUE (PHP800-1,320) – Kalbi Sal (Black Angus Beef Short Rib), Kkeot Ssam Gysop Sal (Grilled Pork Belly), L.A. Kalbi Gui (Barbecue Beef Spare Ribs), and Yang Nyeum Tweji Kalbi (Grilled Pork Belly)
  • PORRIDGE (PHP160-570) – Hobakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge), Jun Bok Juk (Rice Porridge with Abalone), and Patjuk (Seared Salmon Sashimi)
  • CLASSICS, served with rice (PHP330-1250): Bibimbap (Steamed Rice Topped with Beef and Vegetables), Bul Go Gi (Stir-fried US Beef with Vegetables), Dak-Dori-Tang (Spicy Chicken Casserole), Ddeok Mandu Guk (Rice Cake and Korean Dumplings in Ox Bone Soup), Doen Jang JjiGae (Soy Bean Paste Stew), Gal Bi Jim (Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs), Haemul Kalguksu Bukkeum (Stir-fried Kalguksu14 Noodles with Seafood and Vegetables), Haemul Pajeon (Seafood and Spring Onion Pancakes), Hobak Jeon (Pan-fried Stuffed Zucchini), Hweh Dup-bop (Raw Fish Topped on Japanese Steamed Rice), Japchae (Sauteed Sweet Potato Noodles with Vegetables and Beef Strips), Kimbap (Korean Style Roll), Kim Chi JjiGae (Kimchi Stew), Mandu (Korean Dumplings), Nak Ji Bok Keum (Stir-fried Baby Octopus with Fine Noodles), O-Jing-uh Bukkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Squid), Sengseon Jurim (Spicy Braised Fish), Seol Leong Tang (Ox Bone Soup with Fine Noodles and Sliced Beef), Shin Ramen (Korean Instant Noodles), Sundubu (Spicy Korean Stew), Ugeoji Galbitang (Beef and Cabbage Stew), and Yuk Gae Jang (Spicy Beef Soup)
  • DESSERTS (PHP140-235) – Anmitsu (Assorted Fruits with Jelly in Sweet Red Bean Paste, Mochi and Ice Cream, Back Sesame Ice Cream, Deep-fried Matcha15 Ice Cream (Green Tea Ice Cream Coated in Crunchy Deep Fried Bread), Kanten Yose (Mixed Fruits Gelatin), Kohe Kanten (Coffee Jelly), Kwail (Assorted Fruits), Nuk Cha (Green Tea Ice Cream), and Shiratama Zenzai (Sweet Red Beans with Rice Balls)
  • BEVERAGES, alcoholic and non-alcoholic (PHP150-270) –Fresh Juices and Smoothies, Lemon Iced Tea, Sodas, Bourbon, Brandy, Local and Imported Beers, Rum, Sake16, Scotch Whiskey, Soju17, Gin, Tequila, Vodka
  • COFFEE AND HOT CHOCOLATE (PHP120-160)

It also offers special monthly and seasonal treats.

0-menu

When we dined in Ginzadon, they offered an Eat All You Can Menu for only PHP888 net per person, consisting of the following, inclusive of 3 pieces of Salmon Sushi and 3 pieces Ebi Tempura:

  • SUSHI4 AND URU MAKI5 – California Maki (California Roll), Futo Maki (Big Sushi Roll), Kanibo Salad (Crabstick, Cucumber, Tobiko6 and Japanese Mayonnaise), Madai (Snapper), Maguro (Tuna), Shake Maki (Salmon Sushi Roll), Tamago (Japanese Omelette), and Tekka Maki (Tuna Sushi Roll)

0-sushi

  • SOBA/UDON/RAMEN – Chashu Ramen (ramen noodles with pork barbeque in special Japanese soup) and Yaki Soba/Udon (Stir-fried Japanese noodles with pork, seafood and vegetables)
  • YAKIMONO – Butayaki (Pork Barbecue), Kani Bacon (Crabstick Rolled in Bacon Strips), Shake Okashira (Salmon Head, subject to availability), Tori Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), and Yakitori (Chicken Barbeque)

0-yakitori

  • KOREAN SPECIALS –Doen Jang Jigae (Soy Bean Stew), Gohan (Steamed Japanese Rice), Japchae (Sauteed Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef), Kimchi Jigae (Kimchi Stew), Misoshiru (Miso Soup), and Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)

0-soup-rice

  • DESSERTS – KoheKanten (Coffee Jelly) and Nukcha (Green Tea Ice Cream)

0-desserts

A customer can pay cash, through credit card, or points18. Prices are VAT inclusive and are subject to 10% service charge.

If you want to dine in this restaurant but find it a bit pricey, why not book online to avail of promotions. I surfed (but have not tried) and found www.eatigo.com which offers 10-50% discount, depending on the time slot. You just need to present your Eatigo booking confirmation to the reception staff before being seated.

Now let me describe our dining experience. We availed of the Eat All You Can Menu I mentioned above.

0-appetizers-x                                                         We were given appetizers.

Overall, the taste of the food was good but not much to rave about.

My group included a 6-year old kid and we chose dishes he liked and he was satisfied with what we asked him to try and eat.

The dining staff were accommodating. Service was paced, but a bit slow.

The comfort room was clean and well maintained.

For reservations, call (02) 9088888.

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 interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1www.rwmanila.com

2https://www.rwmanila.com/web/ginzadon/; prices and menu items are subject to change without prior notice; prices are VAT inclusive and are subject to 10% service charge

3Sashimi 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 – wasabi paste (the hot Japanese green paste made from the wasabi rhizome), grated fresh ginger, and ponzu (Japanese dipping sauce made of fish flakes, lime juice, soy sauce and vinegar). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.19

4Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared (medium grain white rice or brown) rice, usually with some sugar and rice, combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits), served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

5Ura maki, literally “inside-out roll”, is a medium-sized cylindrical piece with two or more fillings, developed as a result of the American creation of the California roll21, as a method originally meant to hide the nori22. The (avocado, carrots, crab meat, cucumber, mayonnaise, tuna) filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and optionally an outer coating of some other ingredients, such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

6Tobiko is the Japanese word for flying fish roe. The eggs are small (0.5 to 0.8 mm), naturally red-orange in color, with a mild smoky or salty taste, and a crunchy texture. It is used to make sushi more attractive so sometimes it is colored to change its appearance: squid ink to make it black, yuzu23 to make it pale orange, and wasabi24 to make it green and spicy. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tobiko”.25

7Tempura is a Japanese dish, usually consisting of seafood (e.g., shrimp, squid rings) or vegetables (e.g., strips of carrot, eggplant, onion) that have been battered and deep fried. It is eaten hot immediately after frying, and may be sprinkled with powdered green tea and sea salt, or yuzu and salt, before eating. It is commonly served with tentsuyu sauce (about 3 parts dashi26, 1 part each of mirin27 and shoyu28) and grated daikon29. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tempura”.30

8Yakimono is a Japanese grilled or pan-fried dish, often served as an appetizer, made of pieces of marinated, skewered and grilled meat. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Japanese cuisine”.31

9Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.

10Ramen is the Japanese term for a noodle soup consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles, a meat/fish-based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, with various toppings (e.g., chashu or sliced pork, menma or lactate-fermented bamboo shoots, negi or green onions, and nori or dried seaweed). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.32

11Soba is the Japanese term for buckwheat. It usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. They contrast to thick wheat noodles, called udon12. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Soba”.33

12Udon is a type of Japanese thick wheat flour noodles, often served hot as a noodle soup, according to Wikipedia page “Udon”.34

13Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and sometimes rice, barley, seaweed, or other ingredients. It is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. It is typically salty, but its flavour and aroma depend pn various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Miso”.35

14Kalguksu is a traditionally considered seasonal Korean noodle dish consisting of homemade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles, served in a large bowl with broth (e.g., dried anchovies, shellfish) and other ingredients (like vegetables, often aehobak36, potatoes and scallions), usually seasoned with salt, consumed most often in summer. The term literally means “knife noodles” since the noodles are not extruded or spun, they are cut. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kalguksu.37

15Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. It is used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi38 and soba11 noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes, and a variety of Japanese wagashi39 confectionery, as well as hot tea in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Matcha”.40

16Sake is a rice wine which is the national beverage of Japan.

17Soju is a clear, colorless, distilled Korean beverage which is traditionally made from rice, wheat or barley, with an alcoholic content of 16.8-53% alcohol by volume. It is usually consumed neat. Modern producers often replace rice with other starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Soju”.41

18You can earn points when you shop, dine, or gamble in Resorts World Manila. You can then redeem points the next time you visit said hotel and dine in Ginzadon, among others.

19“Sashimi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimi.

20“Sushi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi.

21A California roll, or California maki, is a makizushi42 sushi roll that is usually rolled inside-out and contains avocado, crab meat or imitation crab, and cucumber. Sometimes, crtab salad is substituted for the crab stick, and often the outer layer of rice is an inside-out roll (ura maki) is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, tobiko6 or masago (capelin roe). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “California roll”.43

22Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia. It has a strong and distinctive flavor. It is shredded, rack-dried, formed into sheets, and sold in packs in grocery stores for culinary purposes. It is uses chiefly in Japanese cuisine as an ingredient to wrap rolls of sushi4 or onigiri44. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nori”.45

23Yuzu is the Japanese term for a round, yellowish citrus fruit with fragrant, acidic juice, used chiefly as a flavoring. It is called yuja in Korean. This fruit looks like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Citrus junos”.46

24Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi4 and sashimi3, made from the wasabi plant.

25“Tobiko,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobiko.

26Dashi is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or fish stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented skipjack tuna. It forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, and many kinds of simmering liquid. It can also be mixed into flour base of some grilled foods. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Dashi”.47

27Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mirin”.48

28Shoyu is the Japanese term for soy sauce, according to the Wikipedia page “Soy sauce”.

29Daikon, literally “big root,” is a mild-flavored winter radish. It is originally native to Southeast or continental Asia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Daikon”.49

30“Tempura,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempura.

31“Japanese cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_cuisine.

32“Ramen,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen.

33“Soba,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soba.

34“Udon,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udon.

35“Miso,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miso.

36Aehobak, Korean zucchini or Korean courgette, is an edible green to yellow-green summer squash which belongs to the species Cucurbita moschata, commonly used in Korean cuisine. It is shaped like a zucchini but with thinner, smoother skin, and more delicate flesh. It is usually sold in shrink-wrapped plastic. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Aehobak”.50

37“Kalguksu,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalguksu.

38Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grained japonica glutinous rice, pounded inot a paste, and molded into the desired shape, traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki, and commonly sold and eaten during Japanese New Year. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mochi”.51

39Wagashi refers to traditional Japanese confections/sweets that are often served with tea, especially those made of anko (azuki bean paste), fruits, and moch138. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Wagashi”.52

40“Matcha,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha.

41“Soju,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soju.

42Makizushi is a cylindrical piece of sushi4, formed with the help of a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. It is usually cut into 6 or 8 pieces, which constitutes a single roll order. It is also called norimaki or makimono. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

43“California roll,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_roll.

44Onigiri is a popular staple food in Japanese restaurants worldwide, made from (sometimes lightly salted) boiled white rice, fried rice, o-kowa or kowa-meshi (sekihan, glutinous rice cooked/steamed with vegetables like red beans), maze-gohan (“mixed rice”; cooked rice mixed with preferred ingredients), formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes, and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). It can be filled with umeboshi (pickled ume fruit), katsuobushi (dried fish prepared in hard blocks from skipjack tuna), kombu (dried, dark brown seaweed), miso13, okaka (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna), salted salmon, tarako (plain, salted sacks of Pollock or cod roe), tsukudani (small seafood, meat or seaweed simmered in soy sauce and mirin), pickled fruit and vegetables, fried foods, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. It is also called omusubi, nigirimeshi, or rice ball. It is not a sushi4. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Onigiri”.53

 45“Nori,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nori.

46“Citrus junos,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_junos.

47“Dashi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashi.

48“Mirin,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirin.

49“Daikon,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daikon.

50“Aehobak,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aehobak.

51“Mochi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mochi.

52“Wagashi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagashi.

53“Onigiri,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onigiri.

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) –

12-seared-ok

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.

ARABELA: Awesome Coffee Shop at the Foot of Mount Banahaw

Location: 503 Rizal Street (the street parallel to Gat Tayaw Street with all the footwear shops), Liliw, Laguna, Philippines

I have been a frequent diner of this coffeeshop-restaurant for about a decade. I remember sneaking out with my graduate school buddies in between classes when I was taking my Doctorate degree in Education in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, just to savor its various treats and then to return, obviously late, for our afternoon classes.

BeFunky Collage-1                                 Arabela, 503 Rizal Street, Liliw, Laguna, Philippines

Arabela (Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop) is a cozy, casual restaurant located in the small highland town of Liliw1, at the foot of Mount Banahaw2. Liliw is known as the Flip-flops Capital of the Philippines, with one long main street full of footwear shops.

Arabela offers delightful dishes, sweets and drinks, all of which make me feel like I am dining in Metro Manila, even if I am about 100 kilometers away. The food selection is good for kids too. Happy tummies for all!

It is located at the lower portion of a renovated 20th century house. It has a low-ceiling since it was originally intended as a storeroom. So, tall persons need to stoop a bit while walking to a designated table – a small inconvenience for an enjoyable dining experience. The long cue of wannabe-diners patiently waiting, or opting to just dine on tables set up on the side street outside the restaurant, attests to its popularity.

It opened on 2002, with two tables used to sell cakes and pastries within the neighborhood. It is owned by Bobby and Antonette “Tonet” Camello who named the restaurant after their two daughters – Ara and Bela. They started with cakes and brownies, and then re-launched on October 23, 2003 as a coffeeshop-restaurant with five tables. Eventually, they maximized their seating capacity to 50, and offered an Italian menu that included appetizers through desserts, along with hot and cold beverages, and now, even wines.

First time diners will definitely feel good knowing that after hours of walking along the main street of the town buying different footwear and pasalubongs, they have a place to finally rest from shopping and to satisfy their palates with the food and drinks offered by Arabela.

 

The interior is a mixture of cool and refreshing yellow painted walls filled with paintings and photos. The air-conditioning provides a comfortable dining temperature even during sizzling summer days, and the staff skillfully escorts you to an available and appropriate table. Tables are cramped, yet diners do not mind this layout at all because of the quality of the menu selection.

Arabela-in-1

Once you enter, you will immediately realize the low ceiling. Up ahead from the entrance is a tempting, refrigerated display of different cheesecakes and pastries to make you crave for a sweet ending to your meal.

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Various wines are also displayed on a small table to the right, suggesting the appropriate libation companion for your orders, before you turn left for more tables.

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Straight ahead, thereafter,are the hand-washing area and restrooms — with an even lower ceiling — but these are well-maintained, and are much appreciated features in such a simple town.

The finishing touches of the dishes/desserts as well as the beverage preparation are seen by diners since the pantry area is open, along with the cashier’s section, the latter surrounded by inviting “pasalubongs3” of different chocolate, assorted nuts, and local goodies.

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Seniors, get your fill from the following:

StartersFresh Salads (Caesar, House, Insalata Mare, Pecan Crusted Chicken, Sicilian Chicken, and Walnut – PHP 300-320), Salads (Macaroni, and Potato – PHP 100/120), Appetizers (Chicken Fingers, French Fries, Mojos, and Onion Rings – PHP 70-110), Soups (Asparagus, Chicken, Mushroom, and Squash – PHP 100-120), and Bread (Garlic, and Stuffed Pizza – PHP 10/40)

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Pizzas – Bacon-Chicken-Mushroom Melt, BBQ Chicken, De Luxe, Garden Veggie, Four Cheese, Hawaiian, Kesong Puti3, Margherita, Meat Supreme, Mediterranean, Pepperoni, Prosciutto – Large (PHP320), XL (PHP360) and Thick (PHP420-430)

PastaBaked (Baked Macaroni, Baked Ziti4, and Beef Lasagna – PHP120-130); Pasta in White Sauce (Alfredo, Carbonara, and Fettuccine – PHP 120-130); Pasta in Red Sauce (Eggplant, Italian Style, Marinara, Pinoy Style, Pomodoro, and Puttanesca – PHP120-140); House SpecialtiesOlive Oil (Fish in White Wine; Fortulana; Fusili; Pancetta Magreta; Spaghettini with Aglio de Olio; Spaghettini with Anchovies, Black Olives and Tomato; Spaghettini with Italian Sausage, and Vongole – PHP 270-300); Pesto (Plain, Grilled Chicken Pesto, Penne in Creamy Pesto Sauce, Salmon in Creamy Pesto, Seafood in Creamy Pesto Sauce, Seafood Pesto, and Shrimp Pesto – PHP280-320); Tomato-Based (Chicken Parmigiano, Eggplant Parmigiano, Grilled Chicken in Marinara Sauce, Mediterranean Grilled Fish, Penne Arrabiata, Pescatora, Ratatouille, Seafood in Marinara Sauce, Seafood Puttanesca, Shrimp Pomodoro – PHP 270-320); Creamy Tomato (Baked Penne Florentine, Penne Al Telepono, Pink Salmon Pasta – PHP280-300); and Cream-Based (Grilled Chicken in Alfredo Sauce, Fettucine in Alfredo Sauce with Prosciutto, Seafood in Alfredo Sauce, Sirloin Fettucine, Veneziana – PHP290-300)

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Seafood – Blue Marlin, Boneless Bangus4 Belly, Cartoccio, Grilled Fish in Caponata Sauce, Mixed Seafoods, Pan Grilled John Dory, Parmesan Crusted Fish, Pink Salmon, Sinaing na Bangus4, Tanigue5, and Tortilla Wrapped Fish – PHP240-320, mostly with vegetables/salad and rice/mashed potato

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Pork – Grilled (Country Style Pork, Korean Pork BBQ, Pork BBQ on Stick, Pork Chop – PHP 160-240) and Baby Back Ribs (Baby Back Beef -2 pieces, ¼ slab, PHP250/300); Baby Back Pork ¼ slab – PHP250

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Desserts – Bread Pudding, Brownies (Plain, Fudge Walnut Brownie, Ghirardelli6 – PHP17-60) and Cheesecakes (Affogato7, Black Velvet, Blueberry, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chips, Choco Lava, Choco Mousse, Dulce de Leche, Oreo, Red Velvet, Strawberry & Mango, Tiramisu – PHP120-145)

Waffles – Plain, Blueberry, Cheese, Chocolate, Mango, Nutella and Strawberry – with cream (PHP70-90) or ala mode (PHP85-110)

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Coffee– Café Americano, Café Latte, Café Mocha, Cappuccino, Crème Brulee Latte, Espresso, Hazelnut Cream, Irish Cream, Long Coffee, Macchiato, Mocha Chocomint, Peppermint Mocha, Turtle Latte, White Choco Peppermint Mocha, White Mint Cappuccino (PHP80-130)

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Specialty DrinksHot (Café Mocha, Cinnamon Mocha, Hot Chocolate Float, Real Hot Chocolate, White Heat – PHP120), Ice Coffee (Cappuccino, Dark Arabica, Latte Arabica, Mocha Arabica – PHP100), and Other Cold Drinks (Chocolate & Almond Float, Cold Chocolate Drink, Frappuccino, Green Tea Matcha, Irish Mocha, Milky Way, Mocha Cream, Mocha Float, Strawberry Frappe, White Rabbit – PHP 130-140)

Other DrinksItalian Soda (Blue Mojito, Green Apple, Green Apple Mint, Green Soda, Green Soda Mint, Kiwi, Kiwi Mint – PHP120), Juices (Apple Nectar, Grape Nectar, Lemon, Mango, Orange Nectar, Peach Nectar, Pineapple – PHP85), Fresh Fruits Shakes (Avocado, Celery, Green Mango, Lemon, Mango-Grape-Strawberry, Ripe Mango, Strawberry, Watermelon, and Watermelon-Mango-Grape – PHP130-140), Sodas (Coke, Coke Light, Coke Zero, Mountain Dew, Mug, Sprite, 7Up), and Lemon Iced Tea (PHP70)

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So, when you get tired walking from one footwear stall to another in Liliw, Laguna, do visit Arabela. Be aware that it has a limited capacity (for 50 people only) and easily gets packed, but is totally worth the eventual wait.

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This restaurant opens daily at 11:15 AM, after the team prays together, and closes at 7 PM. Yes, you read it right, 7 PM, so come early for dinner since last orders are taken at 6:45 PM!

I have witnessed and honestly appreciate improvements in this restaurant through the years yet somehow yearn for the early days when portions and ingredients were quite generous. Nonetheless, current presentations and portions are just fine with me.

Here are my favorites, over the years: Walnut Salad, Seafood Puttanesca, Seafood in Alfredo Sauce, Baby Back Ribs, assorted cheesecakes, and Watermelon Shake.

Arabela-food-3                                                            Walnut Salad, yum!

The Walnut Salad was very refreshing, with the combination of colors, textures and tastes.

Arabela-food-15Seafood pasta, whether in Putanesca or Alfredo Sauce, makes my tummy happy!

The Seafood Puttanesca was savory and the seafood were fresh and cooked just right. The Seafood in Alfredo Sauce was very creamy and tasty. The niidles in both orders were cooked al dente, just the way I want it!

The Baby Back Ribs was very tender and fall-off-the-bone quality. The meat was lean and juicy. However, through the years dining in this wonderful restaurant, I long for the early years when this dish was served in bigger portions.

Arabela-food-12                                     Assorted cheesecakes for my sweet tooth!

I always order Watermelon Shake when I dine in this restaurant (see picture above). It is so refreshing and served with just the right amount of sweetness. Sipping this beverage between savory orders really makes me enjoy my dining experience every time I visit Arabela.

Some consider the prices of menu items as high but I consider the food/drinks worth it and still go to this restaurant to-date, entertaining visiting family and friends.

The staff are efficient, attentive and friendly. Service is relatively fast, even during peak hours.

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

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you dined in this restaurant? Tell me about it! Do leave a comment, either on the upper right corner of this post by clicking “Leave a comment”, or type/enter your comment on the “Leave a Reply” box. Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab, and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

Contact information: Telephone: (049) 5632495; Mobile Numbers: 0917-2041447 and 0927-3860639; Facebook: Arabela

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

1Liliw is a small highland town in Laguna, located at District 4. It is bounded on the northwest by the town of Sta. Cruz, west by Nagcarlan, northeast by Magdalena, east by Majayjay, and on the south by Dolores, Quezon. The One Town One Product (OTOP8) of this fourth class municipality9 is footwear which is like Marikina City10, in Metro Manila. It is also known for its cold-water spring resorts, native homemade sweets, and its Baroque11-style parish church, all to be featured in future posts. Information derived from Wikipedia page “Liliw”.12

2Mount Banahaw is an active, three-peaked volcano located between the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, in the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. It is the tallest mountain in the CALABARZON13 region, with an elevation of 2,170 meters, so it is a favorite among mountain climbers. It is also considered a “sacred mountain” and pilgrims visit its sacred springs, caves, streams and boulders. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Mount Banahaw”.14

3Kesong puti, literally “white cheese” in Tagalog, is a soft, unaged, white cheese made from unskimmed carabao’s milk, rennet15 (or vinegar) and salt. It is similar to cottage cheese, with its soft texture and slightly salty taste. It is a popular breakfast item, eaten with pan de sal16 in the Philippines. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Kesong puti”.17

4Bangus, or milkfish, is the local term for the (unofficial yet commonly considered) national fish of the Philippines. This elongated fish is the sole living species in the family of Chanidae, with the binomial name of ChanosChanos. It usually measures no more than 1 meter (39 inches) in length, but can grow to 1.80 meters (5 ft. 11 inches) in length. It has an almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins and a sizeable forked caudal fin. Its body is colored olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. Its mouth is small and toothless. It feeds on algae, cyanobacteria and small invertebrates. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Milkfish”.18

5Tanigue, or tangigue, refers to the following fishes in the Philippines: Indo-Pacific king mackerel (Scomberomorusguttatus), narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomoruscommerson), striped bonito (Sardaorientalis), Wahoo (Acanthocybiumsolandri), Scomberaustraliscus, Scomber japonicus, Scomberomorusqueensladicus, and Scomberomorus semifasciatus.19 It is commonly cut crosswise into thick “steaks” and then fried or grilled, dipped in soy sauce with calamansi, and served with steamed rice in the Philippines.

6Ghirardelli refers to the chocolate product line of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the United States division of Swiss confectioner Lindt &Sprüngli. It was founded by, and named after, Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli who settled in California, according to Wikipedia page “Ghirardelli Chocolate Company”.20

7Affogato is an Italian coffee-based dessert, usually consisting of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream, topped with a shot of hot espresso. Amaretto, Bicerin, or other liqueurs may be used instead of espresso, according to Wikipidea page “Affogato”.21

8OTOP stands for One Town, One Product, a promotional program of the Philippine government that aims to promote the best goods and products of Filipino towns, cities, and regions, and provides funding for micro, small and medium-scale businesses. Said program is administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and was launched in 2004. It covers tangible products and skills-based services: agri-based products, arts and crafts (e.g., bamboo, coco coir, paper artistry, weaves, and wood), home and fashion/creative artisanal (e.g., décor, fabrics, furniture, garments, houseware, gifts, souvenir items, textiles and toys), processed food, and skills-based services (e.g., hilot, sculpting, personal care and wellness products).22

9A fourth-class municipality is the fourth income classification (out of six) of a municipality or town in the Philippines, and has an annual income of PHP25,000,000-34,999.999 during the previous four calendar years. NOTE: The highest level is a first-class municipality with at least PHP55 million, followed by, in descending order, a second-class municipality with PHP45 million-54,999,999, a third-class municipality with PHP35 million-44,999,999, a fifth-class municipality with15 million-24,999,999, and the lowest level is a sixth-class municipality with at most PHP15 million. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.23

10Marikina City is a highly urbanized city in Metro Manila known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, producing almost 70% of the shoes manufactured in the country, according to Wikipedia page “Marikina”.24

11Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, art and music that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the late 18th century, following the Renaissance style, and preceding the Neoclassical style. Baroque churches were designed with a large central space where the churchgoers could be close to the altar with a dome or cupola overhead, allowing light to illuminate the church below. A Baroque-style church also features, among others, the quadrature with lavish paintings of saints and angels on the ceiling, connected by architectural details with the balustrades and consoles, giving an impression of real figures as if one looks up to heaven, according to Wikipedia page “Baroque”.25

12Liliw”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liliw.

13The CALABARZON region, Southern Tagalog Mainland, or Region IV-A, is an administrative region in the Philippines, named after the acronym of its five provinces: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

14“Mount Banahaw”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Banahaw.

15Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in the stomachs of ruminant mammals such as cattle, antelope, deer, goats, kangaroo, sheep and yaks26, which acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions.27

16Pan de sal is the popular and common bread served for breakfast in the Philippines made of flour, eggs, salt, sugar, and yeast. It literally means “salt bread” in Spanish.

17“Kesong puti”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesong_puti.

18“Milkfish”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkfish.

19www.aboutfilipinofood.com

20“Ghirradelli Chocolate Company”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghirardelli_Chocolate_Company.

21”Affogato”,accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/affogato.

22www.dti.gov.ph

23“Municipalities of the Philippines”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

24“Marikina”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marikina.

25“Baroque”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroque.

26“Rennet”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennet.

27“Ruminant”, accessed June 1, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruminant.

HANA: HAPPY TUMMY ALL THE TIME!

Location: National Highway, Barangay Sampalocan, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines

Konnichiwa (“Hello”) from Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, or simply HANA, my family’s third place1! You have to try this restaurant when you go to, or pass by, the town of Pagsanjan!

I was told by Eileen Christina Nishino, the wife of the current owner, that “shin” means “first” and “hana” means “flower”.

Hana, the favorite Japanese restaurant in Pagsanjan of my family, was established in 2004 by Masami Nishino. It had an original total seating capacity of 35. When he passed away, his son, Masami Nishino, Jr., took over and, in 2014, had it renovated to its current state.

You cannot miss this restaurant which is located along the national highway in Pagsanjan. Coming from Sta. Cruz, Laguna and driving towards Pagsanjan’s famous arch, it is easy to spot Hana to the right of the Iglesia ni Cristo church.

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It has parking good for only 5 vehicles so come early, or double park, but you may be requested to move your vehicle when needed.

It has a casual, but cozy, dining area, and business hours are daily from 11 am till 10 pm.1-Hana-interior-left

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The sushi bar and pantry are open so you can see how orders are made. During busy hours, the owner himself prepares orders like maki2, sashimi3 and sushi4.

Hana offers different kinds of: maki2, sashimi3, sushi4, soups, salads, agemono5, onigiri6, donburi7, bento8, teppanyaki9, yakkimono10, nabemono11, ramen12, soba13, udon14,angus beef15 selections, desserts and drinks.

You are warmly greeted by a female waitstaff once you pass through the sliding entrance door.  She escorts you to an available, and appropriate, table for your party/group. Menu cards are distributed and orders are taken.

Complimentary tazukuri16 is served while orders are prepared. Disposable wooden chopsticks are provided. You may request for their complimentary house rice tea, and fork/spoon, if you so desire.

1-Food-Rice tea        a welcome treat: complimentary house rice tea, Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant

Dearest Seniors, do not hesitate to inquire about their bestsellers and what the Japanese terms are, if you are not familiar with certain Japanese dishes. The cheerful and efficient waitresses are very helpful and will patiently explain menu items to customers. I hope my footnotes in this post will somehow help you too.

Hana offers the following maki2: California Maki, Crab Maki, Futomaki, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Salmon Maki, Tamago Maki, Teka Maki, and Unagi Maki.1-Hana-Menu-maki

1-Food-Maki collage    Marvelous Maki (l-r): CALIFORNIA MAKI, FUTO MAKI, KEPPA MAKI and TEKA MAKI                    (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

There are seven kinds of sashimi3: crab, salmon, sashimimoriwase, shimesaba, squid, tamagoyaki, and tuna.1-Hana-Menu-sashimi

1-Food-Sashimi Moriawase-fr Hana                                                           SASHIMI MORIAWASE                                                                                (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Eight variations of sushi4 are available: crab, ebiko, salmon, shimesaba, squid, tamago, tuna, and unagi.1-Hana-Menu-sushi

1-Food-Sushi collage                        Sushi delights – KANI SUSHI and MAGURO SUSHI (limited period)                                  (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Two soups (Miso Soup and Tamago Soup) and four salads (California Salad, Crab Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Potato Salad) are offered as well.1-Hana-Menu-soup-salad

Different kinds of agemono5 are available: Agedashi Tofu, Atsuage Tofu, Chicken Karaage, Chicken Katsu, Ebi Fry, Kisu Fry, Korokke, Crab/Fish/Shrimp/Vegetable/Mixed Tempura, and Tonkatsu.1-Hana-Menu-agemono

1-Food-Agemono collage                  Savoring shrimps at Hana – EBI TEMPURA and SHRIMP TEMPURA                                     (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

1-Food-Chicken Karaage-fr Hana                                                            CHICKEN KARAAGE                                                                              (photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Hana also offers the following variations of onigiri6: Gohan, Hiya Yako, Kimchee, Ochazuke, Okaka, Oshinko, Plum, Salmon, Wakame Kyurisunomono, and Yaki Meshi.1-Hana-Menu-onigiri

There are nine kinds of donburi7: Chicken/Pork Katsudon, Chicken Teriyakidon, Gyudon, Kakiagedon, Kimchidon, Oyakodon, Tendon, Unadon, and Yakiniku Don.1-Hana-Menu-donburi

1-Food-Donburi collage              Yummy Donburi: CHICKEN TERIYAKIDON, GYUDON and KATSUDON                                (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Different versions of bento8 are on the menu: Chicken Teriyaki, Hana, Korroke, Salmon Teriyaki, Tempura, Tonkatsu, Torikatsu, and Beef/Pork Yakiniku.1-Hana-Menu-bento

1-Food-Beef Yakiniku Bento              BEEF YAKINIKU BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Potato Salad                              Plain Rice and Dessert, at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

1-Food-Chicken Teriyaki Bento-ok          CHICKEN TERIYAKI BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Potato Salad,                         Plain Rice and Dessert, at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

1-Food-Hana Bento               HANA BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Shrimp Tempura,                                                          Beef Yakiniku, Potato Salad, Plain Rice and Dessert,                                                                   at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

Hana offers the following teppanyaki9 dishes: Chicken, Gyoza, Salmon/Tofu Steak, and Yasaiitame.1-Hana-Menu-Tepanyaki

1-Food-Tepanyaki collage                           Tempting Tepanyaki: BEEF TEPANYAKI and SALMON STEAK                                         (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

There are eleven different kinds of yakkimono10: Beef/Chicken/Salmon Teriyaki, Saba/Salmon/SanmaSioyaki,Shougayaki, Unagi Kabayaki, Beef/Pork Yakiniku, Yakitori.1-Hana-Menu-yakimono

1-Food-Beef Yakiniku-fr Hana                                                                   BEEF YAKINIKU                                                                                        (photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

1-Food-Chicken Teriyaki and Plain Rice-OK                                  CHICKEN TERIYAKI, served with Potato Salad,                                                                           Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

Hana also serves: two nabemono11– Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki; four ramen12– hiyashi, miso, shoyu, and yakiniku; seven soba13– kitsune, niku, tanuki, tori, ten zaru, yaki, and zaru; and five udon14– kitsune, niku, tanuki, tori, and yaki.1-Hana-Menu-nabemono

1-Hana-Menu-ramen

1-Hana-Menu-soba

1-Hana-Menu-Udon

1-Food-Curry-Udon-Hana                                                    CURRY UDON (limited period;                                                                          photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Angus beef15 selections are offered: Beef Teriyaki/Usuyaki/Yakiniku; Gyudon; Hana Bento; Kimchi Don; Niku/Soba/Udon; Shabu-shabu; Sukiyaki; Yakiniku Bento8/Don7/Ramen121-Hana-Menu-angus-beef

Hana also offes desserts and assorted drinks.1-Hana-Menu-desserts-drinks

1-Food-Shira Tama-OK                                       SHIRA TAMA, Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant

We recommend our favorites: Miso Soup, Salmon Sashimi3, Grilled Chicken Salad, Sukiyaki, Japanese Fried Rice, Shrimp Tempura, Chicken Teriyakidon and Tempura Ice Cream. I consider the price mid-range, although some people find it high.

1-Food-Miso soupTHE MISO SOUP is served hot and I enjoy this as a low-calorie/fat appetizer. It is not salty and the portion is just right.

1-Food-Grilled Chicken Salad           The GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD is perfect for the diet-conscious guest                                                            or the guest  who wants to eat light. Try it!

1-Food-Sukuyaki SUKIYAKI (with egg) is served hot and good for sharing, dear Seniors! Just ask for smaller bowls. The broth is savory. The combination of all the ingredients results in the richness of this satisfying dish.

Food-Ebi-Tempura-fr Hana-okWhen I crave for fried food, I order SHRIMP TEMPURA. This delicious dish is served hot with a crispy coating of reasonably-sized shrimps. The dip is fine but I request for more grated horseradish.

1-Food-Tempura Ice CreamI order the TEMPURA ICE CREAM beforehand, and request that it be served when I have finished my main dish since it takes time to prepare and I want to enjoy it just right after preparation. Delightfully cold vanilla ice cream is covered with  a crispy tempura batter with the right amount of chocolate syrup, drizzled on top, prior to serving. It is the best way to finish a full meal at Hana! Seniors without diabetes, this is also for sharing.

Cash and credit card payments are accepted. Seniors, do not forget to present your Senior Citizen card for a discount.

The common rest room is decent, clean, and well-supplied. The sink for washing one’s hands is located immediately outside the rest room. Liquid soap, folded paper napkins are available and easily thrown in a garbage can.1-Hana-interior-3

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

Contact details: Cell phone Number – 09178752165; Facebook – Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant; Email: shinhanajapanese@gmail.com

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Do leave a comment, either by clicking “Leave a comment” on the upper right corner of this post, or type/enter your comment on the “Leave a Reply” box. Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab, and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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For those not familiar with Japanese or certain terms used in this post, I hope these footnotes will be helpful:

1A third place is a social venue for socializing. It could be a neighborhood restaurant, café, bar/pub, church, clubhouse, park, etc., as long as it accessible, welcoming/comfortable, free/inexpensive, involves regular/habitual congregation, and facilitates/fosters interaction among people. NOTE: The first place is one’s home; the second place is one’s workplace (for those working) or school (for those studying). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Third place”.17

2Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled sushi4 formed into a cylindrical piece using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sushi”.18

3Sashimi 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 – wasabi paste (the hot Japanese green paste made from the wasabi rhizome), grated fresh ginger, and ponzu (Japanese dipping sauce made from fish flake broth — simmered from a mixture of fish flakes, mirin, rice vinegar and kombu, then cooled and strained — plus lime juice and soy sauce). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.19

4Sushi 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, wasabi, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sushi”.18

5Agemono is the Japanese term for deep-fried dishes.

6Onigiri are Japanese rice balls made from white rice formed into balls, squares, cylinders, triangles or any novelty shape, filled and/or topped with desired ingredients. Onigiri are often wrapped in nori.

7Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of fish, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients simmered together and served over rice. It is sometimes shortened to “don”. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Donburi”.20

8Bento 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/shrimp or meat, and pickled or cooked vegetables. It can be a home-packed meal or a take-out meal. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Bento”.21 In Hana, bento orders also come with miso soup and dessert.

9Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.

10Yakkimono is a Japanese dish, often served as an appetizer, made of pieces of marinated, skewered and grilled meat.

11Nabemono refers to Japanese hot pot dishes.

12Ramen is the Japanese term for a noodle soup consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles, a meat/fish-based broth (often flavored with soy sauce or miso) with various toppings (e.g., chashu or sliced pork, menma or lactate-fermented bamboo shoots, negi or green onions, and nori or dried seaweed). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Ramen”.22

13Soba is the Japanese term for buckwheat. It usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. They contrast to thick wheat noodles, called udon14. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Soba”.23

14Udon is a type of Japanese thick wheat flour noodles, often served hot as a noodle soup, according to Wikipedia page “Udon”.24

15Angus beef is meat that comes from the Aberdeen Angus, originally a Scottish breed of small beef cattle, according to Wikipedia page “Angus cattle”.25 The meat is well marbled, more tender and flavorful than regular beef.

16Tazukuri refers to the crispy, candied anchovies or baby sardines, combined with sesame seeds and coated in a sweet honey soy sauce-sake glaze, usually served as a complimentary appetizer in Japanese restaurants, while waiting for one’s orders.

17“Third place”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place.

18“Sushi”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi.

19“Sashimi”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimi.

20“Donburi”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donburi.

21“Bento”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bento.

22“Ramen”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen.

23“Soba”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soba.

24“Udon”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udon.

25“Angus cattle”, accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_cattle.

Capricious Indulgence: CASA ITALIA Gelato Café

Location: Shop 5, Burgos Park Building, Forbestown Center Fort Bonifacio, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Casa-1Facade, Casa Italia Forbestown

I was walking with three members of my family along Forbestown Road in BGC and was craving for a good place to have coffee and dessert, when we chanced upon CASA ITALIA GELATO CAFÉ and decided to try their gelato1 and coffee.

The original owners are Italian, but this is now a franchise of Gelateria Italia, Singapore’s successful gelato chain established in 2010. Recipes were developed by Chef Donato Mazzola.2

Casa Italia Forbestown opened on December 2015, and is a modern-casual, two-storey, gelateria- café, with a seating capacity good for about 100 people. Kristoffer Kevin Pantaleon is the Business Development Executive.

Casa-1JGround Floor Dining Area, Casa Italia Forbestown

It has a cozy, homey, Italian interior ambiance, great for quiet dining with family/friends or just being alone, enjoying free wi-fi with a gelato or an Italian treat.

Casa-1BIt also offers al fresco dining for about 22 people.

It is open from 9AM – 12AM (Sunday-Thursday) and 9AM – 1AM (Friday-Saturday). I was told that there is paid parking in the basement of the building.

It is also kid-friendly since the gelato is produced using only fresh milk and natural sugar from the ingredients, according to the Forbestown Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata. Kids can also enjoy babyccino, Casa Italia’s own version of steamed milk with a dark chocolate powder garnish.

Casa-2-gelati-display-okGelati Display, Casa Italia Forbestown

Upon entering the door, to your left are two big glass display cabinets packed with a wide selection of gelati. My eyes feasted on all the yummy flavors and I could not decide on what to order. It was good that the server was willing to give us free samples of different flavors, so we kept on pointing to a lot LOL! However, all tasted so good that in the end, I still could not decide!

Casa-1EGelati Selection, Top (l-r): Mama’s Cookies, Hazelnut, Brente Pistachio, Formaggi, Japanese Matcha; Bottom (l-r): Mama’s Cookies (almost gone), Salted Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Whiskey

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Formaggi (yellow color), Japanese Matcha, Earl Grey Tea, Red Velvet, Apple Pie; Bottom (l-r): Whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream, Tiramisu, Strawberry Cheesecake, After 8 (Mint)

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Nutella, Dark Truffle, Banana Split, Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry; Bottom (l-r): Guanaja Chocolate, Dark Truffle (almost gone), Crunchy Mocha, Cappuccino

Casa-1H

Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry, Forest Berries Yogurt, Raspberry, Forest Berries Sherbet; Bottom (l-r): Coconut, Melon, Philippine Mango, Strawberry

Casa-1ZTheir premium, handcrafted gelato comes in 5 sizes: Piccolo (1 scoop, PHP130), Medio (2 scoops, PHP195), Grande (3 scoops, PHP260), ½ Vaschetta (200 grams, PHP600), and Vaschetta (400 grams, PHP1,150).

Casa-1IOne can also enjoy Liquorato – gelato with a kick, i.e., with one or two shot/s of liqueur/liquor (Bailey’s Irish Crème or Black Label Whiskey) for PHP 160/190.

Casa-1MNon-alcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1LAlcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1DThe Charming Barista, Casa Italia Forbestown

Beverages offered range from non-alcoholic: sodas, sparkling water, home-blend teas, juices, bottled water, teas, hot or iced specialty coffee/chocolate/babyccino in three sizes (piccolo, medio and grande); to alcoholic: local and imported beer (PHP90-130) and red and white wines, by the glass (PHP225-275) or by the bottle (PHP700-1500).

Casa-1CTempting cakes and pastries, best enjoyed with coffee or tea, are also on the menu.

Casa-1YWall Menu, Casa Italia Forbestown

And for bigger appetites, Casa Italia serves Italian cuisine: appetizers (PHP125-380), panino (Beef Steak Baguette, PHP335), pasta (PHP220-275), pizza (PHP250-355), and main dishes (PHP305-995).

Casa-1S

Casa-1Q

Casa-1R

Casa-1O

Casa-1N

Casa-1P

Casa-1VA weeknight (Monday-Friday, 6PM till closing time) promo is a local beer bucket (6 bottles) with a Nacho Italiano or Quattro Formaggi Pizza for only PHP580, to “wine and dine the night away”.

We already ate in a nearby restaurant, so we just wanted gelato and coffee during this visit. I was craving for something not so “sinful” and I finally opted to order just one scoop of Forest Berries Sherbet. It was so refreshing, not sweet at all, and berry-licious!

Casa-1TForest Berries Sherbet, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1UPartially consumed Philippine Mango Gelato, Casa Italia Forbestown

My companions ordered a scoop each of Philippine Mango, and Dark Truffle, and one ordered a brewed decaf coffee. I was able to taste all orders. The Philippine Mango gelato was so yummy and the Dark Truffle one was like eating genuine, rich chocolate in cold form. All gelati ordered were just right in terms of sweetness. The brewed decaf coffee was also delightful.

Service was prompt. The staff were so accommodating and cheerful.

Casa-1XCasa Italia Forbestown’s Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata

Truth be told, I returned alone the next day for the same order!

I paid for all orders and all comments are personal.

Next time, we will try other gelato flavors (like Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Crunchy Mocha, Coconut, and Mango-After 8 combination) as well as their Italian treats.

Contact details: telephone number: (02) 753-6263, 813-8138; website: http://www.casaitalia.com.ph/; Facebook: CasaItalia PH; Instagram: @casaitaliaph

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1Gelato is a dense, rich, Italian-style ice cream made from milk, cream, sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat than other ice creams, and typically contains less air and more flavoring than other frozen desserts.

2www.news.abs-cbn.com

THAI BBQ ORIGINAL RESTAURANT: Tasty Thai Treats

Location: Ground Floor (beside Glorietta 4 mall entrance), Glorietta 4, Ayala Malls, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

2-ThaiSawatdeeKah! Hello from THAI BBQ ORIGINAL RESTAURANT, Glorietta 4!

This casual dining, family-style, Thai restaurant, originally from Los Angeles, USA, was established by Pat and Tammy Ngamari in 1978. In the website www.thaibbqla.com, they claim that their family has been perfecting recipes and styles of Thai cooking for three generations, spanning over 50 years. This restaurant was awarded Thai Select* for authentic Thai Cuisine by the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand.

3-ThaiGround Floor Entrance and stairs to 2nd Floor, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

However, I was not in LA last April, dearest Seniors, I was in Makati City! Thanks to No Limits Food Inc. – a food and beverage company based in 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City – which obtained the franchise, we can all enjoy another Thai restaurant in the metro! Yes, it is the same local company behind KPub BBQ, Modern China, Modern Sichuan, Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant, Oppa Chicken, and Tony Roma’s. Visit its Facebook account – No Limits Food Inc.

4-ThaiSecond Floor Dining Area, right next to the stairs

This is the fourth branch (see the three others below) in Metro Manila. It had a soft opening on December 17, 2017 and is operated by Roasted Meat Concepts Corporation. It is open daily, from 11AM – 10PM.

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14-ThaiMenu Card, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The menu is extensive: appetizers (PHP280-420); soup entrees (PHP320-380); salads (PHP280-380); beef entrees (PHP380-640); chicken entrees (PHP340-640); pork entrees (PHP380-640); seafood entrees (PHP420-900); noodles (PHP320-420); rice (PHP70-420); vegetables (PHP280-380); desserts (PHP180-420); and, beverages – iced teas, beers, shakes, mineral water (PHP90-140).

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S2JT01525352956Beverage Menu, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

It also offers the following House Specials served with Shrimp Fried Rice, and – except for those items marked with an * — with Cucumber Salad and Peanut Sauce: BBQ Spare Ribs Dinner* (PHP680), Beef/Chicken/Pork Sate Dinner (PHP580-740), Sate Combination (PHP580-720), Gaiyang (BBQ ½ Chicken) Dinner* (PHP620). Just in case you want to order Cucumber Salad along with the marked specials*, add PHP120.

5-ThaiSecond Floor Dining Room, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

My group of five arrived early for lunch. We opted to dine at the second floor and were warmly greeted by a waitstaff in Thai attire. The tables are good for four or more, and the chairs are comfortable to sit on. Menu/Drink cards were immediately given to us.

Orders were served promptly and efficiently by the attentive waitstaff. The house specials have generous portions that seem to be intended for sharing. So, dear Seniors, it would be best to bring your family or friends along.

10-ThaiSpring Rolls, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The SPRING ROLLS (PHP280) were served hot. They were crisp, flavorful, and best enjoyed with the accompanying vinegar dip.

8-ThaiThe COMBINATION SOUP (PHP320) was served hot and was tasty.

9-ThaiPomelo Salad and Lemon Grass Iced Tea, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The POMELO SALAD (PHP380), with its dressing, offered a combination of texture, and sweet-sour taste, as well as a bit of aromatic kick from the cilantro. I had to ask for additional cilantro! Personally, this was the ideal dish to eat before the House Specials were served.

11-ThaiGaiyang, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The GAIYANG (PHP620) is a Thai mild-spiced, tender, barbecued chicken, that was well complemented by the honey sauce. It was served with a generous portion of Shrimp Fried Rice.

12-ThaiSate Combination, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The SATE COMBINATION (PHP720) is an excellent choice for sate lovers since this savory order offers three kinds of tender and flavorful sates – beef, chicken and pork. The accompanying Shrimp Fried Rice, peanut sauce and cucumber salad were good counterpoints for this dish. The marinated and grilled meats were cooked just right and were flavorful and mildly spicy – perfect for seniors and kids.

I enjoyed sipping the refreshing LEMON GRASS ICED TEA (PHP120) in between courses. It had a good balance of sweetness and lemon grass taste.

Overall, I would recommend this restaurant to satisfy your Thai food cravings. The food is good, and the prices are reasonable since servings are generous enough for sharing.

Prices quoted were as of April 2018, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. I paid personally for our meal and all comments are personal.

Cash and credit cards are accepted. Table booking is recommended. Contact details: (02) 751-9008/2903/2371; 09171112121; Facebook – THAI BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4; IG – #thaibbq.manila

There are three other branches in Metro Manila: (1) Ground Floor, The Fort Entertainment Complex, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City – M-Su: 11 am-3pm; 5:30-11pm – (02) 846-0000, 09178950000; (2) 2/F, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Triangle Exchange, North Avenue, Quezon City – M-Su: 11am-10pm – (02) 364-0068; (3) Level 5, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Main Wing, Shaw Boulevard corner EDSA, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City – M-Th: 11am-9pm; F: 11am-10pm; Sa: 10am-10pm; Su: 10am-9pm – (02) 246-9069 ext. 886.

I will return to taste their Fried Calamari, Yum PlaDook Foo (Catfish Salad), Pad Thai (Fried Noodles), Tom Yum Goong (Thai sour shrimp/prawn soup), Crispy/Honey Duck Dinner, BBQ Spare Ribs Dinner, Panang Beef Curry, Pineapple and Bagoong Fried Rice, and Thai Milk Iced Tea. So many reasons to return, definitely another cheat meal for sure!

Did you find this post informative? I have not been to the original LA outlet of Thai BBQ Original Restaurant. Why don’t you tell me if the quality and taste are the same as in Metro Manila? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the top right part of this post and click “Leave a comment.” Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

You might also like to read about a Greenbelt Thai restaurant which I posted – SIMPLY THAI: Simply Delightful!

KhobKhunKah (Thank you)!

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*Thai Select is a program of the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, the Royal Thai Government, that certifies and promotes authentic Thai cuisine worldwide, as well as the appropriate hospitality and ambiance. Good for three years and renewable, it is a seal of approval granted to Thai restaurants outside of Thailand that serve authentic Thai food, and to companies that produce Thai food products. It aims to increase the recognition of quality Thai restaurants and processed Thai food products, as well as to encourage Thai restaurateurs and food producers to raise their quality and authenticity. www.thaiselect.com