Thursday, April 21, 2011

Little Tokyo Experience: Hana

When we had a lunch out at Omasake, we thought of eating at Little Tokyo before Tanja and Ruel would finally transfer from Makati to QC. A day before their last day, we met up at Rufino to go to Little Tokyo in Makati.

Little Tokyo is a popular place in Makati where there are a lot of authentic Japanese restaurants. Here, you can taste the authentic Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and other Japanese dishes. you will surely have a feel of Japan in this place. It is located along Pasong Tamo near Amorsolo Street. Fom Rufino, we walked to get there. If you'd do the same thing we did, you just walk until you reach a Shell gasoline station, from there you should turn left and continue walking until you reach a small arch marking the entrance to Little Tokyo. You can notice that there are a lot of Japanese restaurants along the way. This place is lined with lots of it. There are also convenient stores near where you can buy Japanese product. It really feels like a small Japan in the middle of the city.

Once you enter, the ambiance is really Japanese like. The zen garden that you walk along makes it looks like the animes that I usually watch. When you reach the center of the place, you are greeted with a lot of tables lined with the restaurants in it. Each crew will be greeting you in Japanese. There is also a garden at the middle of the place and the breeze makes it a cool place to dine in. I think it is much better to dine outside here since you can really feel the ambiance that you are in Japan.

Landscapes as you enter Little Tokyo
 We scanned the whole place looking for what we like. I on the other hand, spotted immediately what I am looking for here. The Takoyaki at Hana Restaurant.

Hana is the first restaurant that greeted us when we entered the place. I quickly took a mental note that I would buy their Takoyaki which is being cooked outside their restaurant. Based on the articles I read before, the one cooking the Takoyaki is the Japanese owner, however, that time, it was only their crew. I wonder if there are any difference in taste depending on who cooked it.

After we scanned the place, we decided to eat at Hana since the place looks nice and welcoming. Also, we think that their price just fare and also, I could get to order my Takoyaki.

We settled in a table inside. We didn't realize that it is much better to be seated outside since it was steaming hot there. There is also a small room where a group could fit and they would have to sit on the floor. There is also chairs on the bar just like those in Japan. The menus posted on the wall has a Japanese and English translation, and so is the menu that was given to us.

Inside Hana Restaurant
 We scanned it and it was very difficult to choose. I just opted for a Takoyaki since it is what my tummy and brain is screaming the moment I arrived there. The other dishes we ordered are Miso Ramen, Dashi Maki Tamago, Spicy Tuna Maki and Beef and Asparagus Maki.

Miso Ramen (P180)
 It took a while before the dishes to arrive but surely, they were hot and yummy. It instantly made us super hungry at that time. The Miso Ramen was first to arrive. The whole dish was good enough for two and we got overwhelmed with it. It has some leaks, carrots, monggo sprouts and other veggies on top of the noodles and hot miso broth. It was topped with a slice of boiled egg. It was hot and yummy and I imagined it is good for those cold rainy days.

Dashi Maki Tamago (P150)
 The Dashi Maki Tamago is something I tasted before in a Korean Restaurant. It is like an omelet, cut into bite size pieces and is served as a side dish. It tasted like the egg has some milk added to it making it a bit sweet on the bite. It was a good side dish to pair up with a rice meal, too bad we didn't ordered rice meals here, however, it is still good on its own.

Spicy Tuna Maki (P200)
 The Spicy Tuna Maki is another new favorite of mine there. The outside of the maki is a bit crispy. I'm not sure how it was done but it was good to have some texture on what you eat. The rice complements the tuna which is at first not that spicy but as it spreads in your mouth, you can feel a its spiciness. It was just the right spice and it what's makes me like the dish.

Beef and Asparagus Maki (P180)

The Beef and Asparagus Maki is served with some greens on the side. The asparagus is wrapped in beef strips which is then grilled. They drizzled it with some sauce which is also good combination with the greens. I like the taste of the beef which has a hint of the smokey flavor. it was good but it was quite heavy on the tummy.

Takoyaki (P120)
 My most awaited dish came last, the Takoyaki was freshly cooked and served right out of the molds in their small Takoyaki area outside. It is drizzled with Takoyaki sauce and Mayonnaise and topped with some strips of seafood which is moving because of the heat of the food and is really fun to watch. As you bite into it, you can taste the soft and creamy outside of it and as you bite more, you can get a taste of some octopus meat which is quite chewy but is very yummy. It is nothing like the Takoyaki's that are sold in malls. This one is the best one I ever had.You should try for yourself to see what I am talking about since there are no words to describe it but simply delicious!

We finished all the dishes and our stomachs are all full but we still want to experience more of Little Tokyo so we rested to make room for more food. We went outside and enjoyed the small area of this small Japan in the city.

So when you're in Little Tokyo, make sure to experience Hana's Takoyaki and I bet that you will crave for it the way I do.

Diners at Little Tokyo

Itadakimasu!! :)

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