Sunday, August 30, 2015

Little Tokyo: Itadakimasu!

August 18, Tuesday, I clocked out of work at exactly 5:30 in the afternoon and headed straight to that little food district dedicated to Japanese cuisine—Little Tokyo.





Little Tokyo is composed of five Japanese restaurants: RioZen, Hana, Uramesiya, Noda, and Kagura. RioZen was the one I saw upon arriving. 



There were very few people when I arrived that I actually thought that the place was still closed, not to mention how quiet it was. Most likely because I arrived early. The later it is, the more Little Tokyo is alive.

I was thrilled to see several Japanese restaurants standing side-by-side all in one place. I walked around first to check each of them before having a meal.

Outdoor tables and chairs for the different restaurants

Outdoor tables and chairs for the different restaurants

Inside Uramesiya

Uramesiya offers various kinds of alcohol
Uramesiya's raw meat for grilling displayed outside
You could say that they offer almost the same dishes, but each of them actually have their own specialty. Hana’s signature dish is the famous Japanese street food, Takoyaki. Kagura specializes in Okonomiyaki, which is the dish I tried the last time I visited Little Tokyo. Noda’s area of expertise is handcrafted sushi, sashimi, and maki. While Uramesiya’s forte is Yakiniku or grilled meat.
After several minutes of checking the restaurants, I decided to start my dinner with Hana’s Takoyaki. It took long before it was served because the waitress still had to heat up the metal where the Takoyaki balls are cooked.
Takoyaki balls being cooked in front of me
While waiting, it was getting darker and I couldn’t help but notice these glowing and beautiful Japanese-style lanterns.



The Takoyaki was worth the wait because each of the six pieces was very plump and every bite brought overflowing octopus flavor to my tongue.



The Takoyaki balls were soft on the inside that it was almost jelly-like to the bite.

Chewy octopus pieces inside the Takoyaki ball
Halfway through the meal, I asked the waitress for more Japanese mayonnaise because why not? You can never have enough of it, to be honest. It’s not too sour unlike the ones we have here in the Philippines. I was overall satisfied with the dish. 
After having my Takoyaki appetizers, I went to Noda to have a helping of Chicken Katsudon, which I have been craving for the past few days.
Unlike in Hana, the dish was served in a quick. Even without tasting the dish, I was already satisfied with its size and appetizing presentation. 


I grabbed my chopsticks, split it into two, and had a spoonful (or should I say chopsticks-full?) right away. The first flavor that welcomed me was the familiar savory sweetness of every Katsudon meal I’ve had so far. It’s highly worth its price because each ingredient that formed the meal was added in generous portions. Tender breaded chicken slices and egg covered the top of the huge bowl, strips of onion in every bite, flavorful rice because of the sauce that was distributed all throughout.


I was busy chowing down my meal yet I couldn’t help but be in awe of the situation. Out of all the Japanese restaurants I’ve tried, it was in Noda that I literally felt like I was in Japan. The food was Japanese. My fellow diners were Japanese chattering in Nihongo. The interior design was Japanese. Even the television channel was Japanese. Honestly, all I could hear and see was Japanese.

Fresh and raw seafood used for sashimi and sushi. Displayed at the sushi bar.
Japanese baseball game playing on the television
Customers who didn't eat at the sushi bar had their meals on tables with short legs and chairs that didn't have any.

The most striking part of my visit was the following scene: a Noda customer ordered sashimi and the head chef was quick to his feet and stood up to make the dish. It was very heartwarming and inspiring to see a very old man, most likely in his 80s, making sashimi with such enthusiasm and a huge smile on his face. It was evident that he has been doing this art for his whole life. He also greets and smiles at every customer, whether they’re coming or going. He never forgets to express his sincere thanks as well. He’s the type of person I’d like to call “happily tired”.

Little Tokyo is a place I’m sure I’ll go back to again and again. There are a lot of dishes I have yet to try and it never fails to give me the feeling of being in the Land of the Rising Sun.


Prices:

Takoyaki - P140.00
Katsudon - P280 w/o the tax; P313.60 w/ 12% VAT

7 comments:

  1. Your blog is amazing!! Do you want to support each other by following each others blogs? http://lucylikespineapple.blogspot.co.uk/, let me know by clicking the follow button on my blog and I will follow you right back! :)

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    1. Hey! Followed you already! Thank you :)

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  2. I heard from a friend that Hana's ramen is also good? I can't remember if he said it was Hana. Also, its high school baseball season in Japan, I bet that's what's playing on the tv. lol

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    1. Hi Ray! OMG just saw your comment now :c Let's go to Little Tokyo sometime! :D

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  3. OMG! This is an awesome place! I need one near me in south Florida!

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    1. Hi again Julie! I hope South Florida gets their own version of Little Tokyo soon! :)

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  4. OMG! This is an awesome place! I need one near me in south Florida!

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