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.

1-Hana-exterior

1-Hana-facade

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

1-Hana-interior-cubicle

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

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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.

KOREAN VILLAGE YAKINIKU RESTAURANT: Still a Knockout!

Location: 566 J. Nakpil Street, Malate, City of Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Hey, Baby Boomers who frequented the Malate area in the ‘70s-90s, do you remember this restaurant? This Korean-Asian restaurant started in 1977 and was originally located in Adriatico Street. It moved to its current address in 2007. One can tell that this is a favorite dining place because it fills up fast, and, based on the rapport among the waitstaff and guests, that it has a sizeable number of “repeat” customers.

2-Koreanfacade, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

I had a delightful workout with blissful stretching and my companions had an enjoyable tennis match in a nearby country club one Sunday afternoon in April 2018. We were so hungry and thought of going to this restaurant for an early dinner, even though it was only 5:30PM. It was a wise decision since the limited parking space for 4 vehicles was soon full.

3-Koreanground floor dining area, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

This restaurant is closed on Mondays but is open the rest of the week from 11:30AM-2:30PM and again from 5:30PM-10:30PM. It has two floors, for about 60 persons per floor, ideal for families and groups.

5-KoreanEach table has its own grill since this is a yakiniku1 restaurant.

This 41-year old restaurant offers: appetizers, Korean barbecue, fried and grilled dishes, hot pots, noodles, rice, soup, stews, and desserts. Beverages include: hot and cold drinks, beer and wine.

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14-Koreanmenu, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Immediately after being seated, menu cards were handed over to us. Favorites were ordered and complimentary banchansoon followed – kimchi3, kongnamul4 (bean sprouts in sesame oil), myulchibokkeum5 (stir-fried anchovies), seasoned tofu, marble potatoes, and seasoned spring onions-leeks. Now that’s fast service, perhaps because we came early LOL!

4-Koreancomplimentary banchan, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The miso soup was disappointing but was served hot so that much was appreciated.

The steamed rice was served hot in individual metal bowls with covers. The quality of the rice was good.

6-KoreanBeef Bulgogi, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

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15-KoreanWrap pa more at Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant!

The meat orders were cooked in a smokeless tabletop grill. The Beef Bulgogiwas very flavorful. We enjoyed the lettuce wrap using whatever we had on the table – the different pastes, banchan, rice, etc. Definitely, we had to request for extra lettuce.

16-KoreanTeresa cooking Chicken Fillet, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

17-KoreanTeresa preparing Beef Short Ribs, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The Chicken Fillet and Beef Short Ribs were cooked one after the other. Our favorite is the delicious Chicken Fillet, with the accompanying dips. My taste buds were very happy! I also enjoyed the tasty and tender Beef Short Ribs.

9-KoreanThe Shrimp Tempura was good but I personally prefer a crispier batter.

18-Koreanpineapple slices and Melona ice bar, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Free, fresh, sweet, and pre-sliced pineapple was served along with our order of Melona, the melon-flavored ice bar as dessert! Happy tummies indeed! Burp!

This restaurant is old but has a simple, homey, and cozy ambiance. I commend the fast, courteous and cheerful service of the waitstaff. For the ultimate dining experience, look for Teresa, the very efficient and friendly server. Yes, dear Seniors, she has been there for 36 years! All the waitstaff were very attentive to our needs. Orders arrived quickly, and empty dishes were bussed promptly. Food and drinks were served at the right temperature. A pitcher of cold water was also given for our table. I consider the price reasonable too.

So, the next time you are in the Malate area, have a craving for Korean food, and are not particular about fancy ambiance, why not drive early to this restaurant (since parking is a problem), order your old Korean-Japanese favorite dishes and I am sure memories will rush to your minds while waiting for your orders. However, you have to be quick in reminiscing because the service is really fast! LOL

The night was still young and we could have gone to nearby bars but we were so tired after a good workout/game so we decided to just go home early. That visit to Malate bars will be a future post.

I will definitely come back and will try other items like Beef Spareribs, Beef Stew, Bibimbap Stoneware, Fried Rice Special, Spicy Cold Noodles, Shrimp Korean Barbecue, and different popsicle flavors. Another cheat meal to plan LOL!

Table booking is recommended if you cannot come early. Plan where to park or find a driver to drop you off and pick you up. Cash and cards are accepted. Contact details: Telephone (02) 524-4958

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For those who are not that familiar with Korean cuisine, I hope these footnotes will be helpful:

1Yakiniku is the Japanese term for “grilled meat”. It is simply Japanese barbecue.

2Banchan refers to a group of Korean side dishes. It is served as a selection of appetizers or accompaniments to grilled dishes in this restaurant.

3Kimchi is Korean fermented vegetable, usually made of Napa cabbage.

4Kongnamul is a banchan2 which is made of lightly seasoned bean sprouts with sesame oil.

5Myeolchi-bokkeum is a banchan2 made of stir-fried dried anchovies.

6Beef Bulgogi is a Korean beef dish where thin slices of beef are marinated and traditionally grilled.