The search for Little Tokyo (Pasay Road) has been a long and winding road and the best way to get there is not to plan at all.
That’s how I got there.
Just say: “I want Ramen” and like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement, the mysterious door appears in front of you! Then you go through this drunken sakura alley and next thing you see is Little Tokyo with the takoyaki ladies and the la-la-lanterns. Pick your choice dining place and eat like it’s the Meiji era.
How we ended up at Hana was a combination of accident, timing and good lighting. Since this was an unplanned trip, I never had the chance to research on where to eat, much less how to read signs in Japanese. However the takoyaki lady in Hana who also alternated as waitress and direction giver found the opportunity to seat the wanderers and so we obliged.
No reason can explain why I did not order the takoyaki balls which are quite a steal at P120. Perhaps this gives us a good reason to return. Unplanned of course!
The tako karaage was supposed to serve as the pescatorian appetizer (domo) and was ungreasy and very tender, despite the form of the animal it originated from. To be dipped in salt, ah yes, quite an under the sea re-enactment.
The Tempura Soba was the highlight of my meal, warm and sweet—just perfect for my cold! With perfectly fried tempura and chewy soba noodles making the ensemble, it was a fabulous dish for anyone in search of the perfect noodles! Sadly for me who cannot just delight in ramen (because of the pork stock) the soba offers the better alternative.
With the noodles so hauntingly rich and the flavor bursting with soy wonder, I believe there is nothing little about Little Tokyo.
And yes, I ought to come back. “Eat again, I must,” as Rurouni Kenshin would say.
As for me, Ja ne! See you later!