Forget “Japanese fastfood” joints that serve unauthentic junk, and delicious but overpriced Japanese hotel restaurants. There are places in Manila where you can get fantastic, authentic Japanese food at affordable prices. Here are four of our favorite haunts in the Little Tokyo enclave, right in the heart of Makati.
Have Tonkotsu Ramen at Maruchan
Tonkotsu or pork broth ramen is a rich variant of Japanese ramen that hails from the southern region of Kyuushuu. One of my favorite versions of tonkotsu ramen is served by Maruchan, along Gil Puyat in front of Makati Cinema Square. Their broth is rich, and yet not the least bit cloying, and the noodles are firm and tasty. Try dropping by for lunch to take advantage of their huge tonkotsu ramen lunch set (with appetizer, salad, ramen, chahan, gyouza, and dessert!) for just PhP 280. Just be careful your boss doesn’t catch you dozing off on the job after such a large meal 😀
Have Takoyaki at Hana
Takoyaki (also known as Japanese octopus balls) is one of Japan’s most beloved street foods, and is a mainstay at school festivals and temple night markets. Hana in Little Tokyo serves what is arguably the best takoyaki in the city — and at great prices too! Have a plate or two, or — if you happen to drop by on a weeknight, take advantage of their beer-all-you-can promo from 6PM to 8PM, Mondays to Thursdays. Hana also serves savory homestyle Japanese dishes, as well as delicious desserts like coffee jelly and kakigoori (shaved ice).
Have Okonomiyaki at Kagura
If okonomiyaki or Japanese savory pancakes are more your thing, then Hana’s next door neighbor Kagura in Makati’s Little Tokyo enclave is sure to please. Serving everything from classic okonimayaki combinations like egg noodles and shredded cabbage to more modern twists like bacon and cheese. Sit at the bar to watch the cooks prepare your meal in front of you, or feel at home in their tatami tables meant for four or more.
Have Yakiniku at Urameshiya
Everybody loves yakiniku — grilled meat, and even more so if it’s eat-all-you-can yakiniku. Drop by Urameshiya in Little Tokyo for some of the best yakiniku in the city, and if you’re lucky enough to come on a Tuesday it’s yakiniku-all-you-can night. For a little over PhP 400 per person, enjoy a round of rice and fresh green salad, plus all the beef, pork, chicken, and sausages plus iced mugi tea you can put away.