Tag Archives: Ramen

Tonchaya Drift: Bringing Osaka to the Fort Strip

fort strip restaurant

The ramen rage has been overly hyped, steering folks clear of the real Japanese goods and driving them to carb showdown. Truth is, the best Jap deals come in other jazzy forms – raw, for the adventurous and perky—and bringing the hype in from Osaka and not the big T—tokyo. Catch my drift?

blog review tonchaya

Tonchaya isn’t just that ramen place, it’s a whole Japanese kitchen and bar concept, so you can expect sushi chef and cocktails, and that snobby Tempura crunch we can never seem to copy at home. It’s also intriguingly artsy yet shambolically homey, every nook is filled with paintings, bottles and Japanese food symbols, you’ll find a comfort zone of your own. Even the sign on the kitchen entrance shows a white cat, so there’s something to claw about.

japanese restaurant review

Daily combos or promos are available which are lavishly posted on the walls, like buy-one-take-one tonkatsu Thursdays or maki days.

fort bonifacio japanese restaurant

With the sashimi chiller on display, it is given that maki, sushi and sashimi are abundantly offered and occupy heaps of meals in the menu. I could live on sashimi buffet and rave about it, and miss out on ramen—not the other way around! So good to actually see the fresh catch waiting to be ordered.

tonchaya_jenina_gonzales_maki

Presented first were the usual Japanese appetizer staples. With that much rice on the first course, the white flag of satiation was close to being raised.

The maki was made of sticky rice, so there was not much crumbling going on. Some were a bit on the spicy side too so manage the wasabi on your dipping sauce—or enjoy them piping spicy!

tonchaya_tuna_maki

Here we have the Crunchy Crab Maki (the long rolls), Crunchy Salmon Maki and Crunchy Tuna Maki (looks like the former but has that dotted by a tuna speck).

maki bgc

And then I got confused with all the crunch going on, since I swear I thought it was called Spicy Tuna Maki! I guess I just made that up. Completing the package though, it was spicy, crunchy, a bit sticky and ultimately soy-worthy.

j.anne gonzales food blog

The Chirashidon 8 Kinds showcases various sashimi atop white rice, including Salmon, Tuna, Tamago, Ika, Mackerel, Kani, Ebi and Uni. With roughly two of each, you get the luxury of variety and whilst I never chanced upon the bestselling tamago, the mackerel and uni were mine to fill.

authentic japanese food philippines

 

tonchaya_beef_teppanyaki

The Okonomiyaki looked like a vast pie of curly cabbage generosity. Cabbage, seafood, pork and sauces contributed to this abstract pie art, and bagged the title of crowd favorite. Beef Teppanyaki was another sizzling plate to watch out for, with veggies on the side to minimize the guilt.

tonchaya_tempura_lazyblackcat

The Ebi Tempura was what you would expect—crisp and long—as a positive gastronomic virtue, nothing else. To describe the length on this one—the damn prawn couldn’t fit on the saucer, damn average saucer! Literally had tempura crumbs on my chin after every bite, and boy were those bites aplenty!

tonchaya_chicken_teriyaki

tonchaya_fried_rice_seafood

Rice meals were just as abound in the menu, as heftily exemplified by the Chicken teriyaki and Seafood Gomuko Chahan, the latter being  a leviathan bowl of fried rice—the toppings can suffice as viands. Guaranteed burp—but then again, where’s the fun in just eating rice?

ramen fort bonifacio

Which is why for this hungry cat, a meal is never complete without noodles! Seafood Ramen was just the fix for a rainy evening. With the proper spice level and thick soup, the noodles were pleasantly chewy so each bite was packed with a zing. The seafood was also in abundance, so this should suffice as a meal on its own. Good for sharing, or for a hungry solo, why go for the boring ramen when you could have seafood on a sea of red? Oishi!

bgc restaurant review

With all those pescatorian slurps and bites, there was no room left for dessert. Sadly. Maybe next time.

There’s nothing like a cozy Japanese bar, the type where Naruto could just sit and slurp his noodles without a care in the world. Well Tonchaya’s a bit close to that—with just better paintings and seats.

For those planning to visit this place soon, Itadakimasu! Or better yet, call me. Lol. =P

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

Kichi Kichitora (Ramen)!

japanese restaurant glorietta 5

As much as I would relish the chance to whisper, “Winter is coming” the opportunity is close to nil. In this fair tropical hub, I have a better chance at “turning black” than experiencing that Winterfell chill.

Whilst the tempest named Glenda (typhoon) did manage to smash our windows and ceilings to leaky paperweights, this is the closest we could get to that so-called winter. More of Twister with a siding of damp clothing.

Enough with the #Glenda and #GoT talk though.

review japanese food glorietta

Having eaten leftovers for the longest time, I have warranted the right to eat out and dine on something prepared elsewhere. This called for a long awaited TGIF at Glorietta, though of course reality came more like rush hour folks trampling on my vibe, embraced in darkness and devoid of any air-conditioning breeze. Rotating brownout and hungry employees never made a good mix, and I have the non-evaporating sweat to prove it.

Of course Yabu was crossed out the minute I said “7pm reservation” to the manager.

Many others were crossed off the list and I feared that we would end up in Heaven and Eggs, which was not really a Friday destination unless you had a sudden craving for that Baguio Country Club Raisin Bread, which really would not necessitate dining in being the to-go loaf for uncreative passersby.

 kichitora collage

Hence we ended up in Glorietta 5’s remote sectors or “posh looking joints”, or in Kichitora’s case, hard to pronounce and remember, you’re better off saying ramen.

Kichitora is actually beside Mad Mark’s Creamery, which is 2 stores away from Yabu. I can see the nodding heads. Thank God for popular competitor landmarks!

Kichitora is predominantly a ramen place that also serves tonkatsu meals and other combo platters that would make our Japanese nakama sigh in delight. From soup to salad to that sweet karaage, it’s a Japanese haven for proper meals and dim lighting.

 ramen review makati

With several menu pages dedicated to ramen, first timers and slow readers will have to spend time lurking, gawking at the photos, reading out the names (there is a Jajamen, suited for the Jeje and a Paitan for Oy, paisan!) until finally narrowing down the choices to 2 or 3. There is also cold ramen to add in to the confusion so choose wisely.

Being the ever stranger to pork, my choices were narrowed down to ramen selections that had the phrase “pork or chicken”. Given a choice, I was safe, as other bowls purely suggested, imposed and necessitated pork as the topping—and I respect that. The waitress though secretly revealed that all their soup bases are “Chicken stock” so it’s just a matter of choosing which name (and price) you fancy.

Being a simpleton who wants chicken all the way, we settled for Paitan Ramen.

Paitan is rather simple and unappealing to the adventurous ramen seeker, but with menma (bamboo shoots), green onions and chicken slices topping the ensemble, it’s comfort food variety, enough for #Glenda post trauma.

The soup is gravely thick (not that hot though), even non soup lovers will spend considerable time sipping the soup. It’s a meal on its own! No need for embellishments and sauces, since the soup and noodle balance each other out. The noodles are chewy and thick, and upon the first bite, my instant worry was: Oh no, I might get so full and have no space left for dessert! (True, true.) Good thing, some people just have the habit of sharing, and so there was enough appetite spared for Mad Mark’s. 

If you manage to finish a bowl single-handedly and have enough room for ice cream, I salute you. #thegodsmustbeproud

 japanese food makati

Out of curiosity, the Chicken Karaage was likewise ordered. Intended to be an appetizer, it came way later, so it was not enjoyed fully.I like the proper sequencing of food, especially in posh places that look like they can afford the service.

These 4 little crunchers were sweet, oily and had my mortal enemy, chicken skin! You can imagine that only half of the piece was made of the actual meat, which is a letdown for those who are not into chicken skin! Even that slice of lemon did no wonder and we are always better off with the likes of BonChon, I kid you not.

 glorietta makati ramen

The other ramen bowls were not mine and I could not indulge in them, since they were pork based. They made picture perfect photos though, complete with the tamago. Oh that egg is just screaming at me!

What is consistent though amongst the orders is that no single person—no matter how hungry or horizontally challenged—could single-handedly finish a bowl. While we did manage a scoop of Mad Mark’s after dinner, maybe finishing one bowl was too cloying or overbearing and a second dish is needed to get rid of the heavy feeling.

 kichitora ramen scrambled

Perhaps the next time around, share a bowl with a friend and order a neat little siding, chicken or katsu. No cloying feeling—just a perfect, full meal!

Still, with chicken on the menu and that warm cuddly feeling you get from slurping the noodles—it’s a satisfying thought to find a ramen joint, sans the queue, for that quick Friday fix.

My Mad Mark’s ice cream was a treat, so another successful #TGIF and #foodcoma.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

Cheap (and not so) Sightings

cheap food manila snacks treats

Some people aren’t really poor; they just go by other names like stingy, misers, self-serving, on a budget and my personal favorite, penny pinchers! We have to face the fact that not everybody has a lavish budget to soothe their gastronomic needs. There are other priorities in life, we get that.

Cleaning through my stuff, I realise I have my share of cheap sightings, worth taking photos (and keeping for a very long time). There are a few pricey grub, but they were all one-time meal,s so none were written about and just used up precious Android memory space.

 So here’s a collection of the cheap and not-too cheap foodstuff that managed a smile on my face and oh-so shallow pockets!

Here’s to penny pinching and more to come!

ice cream oreo dessert

Forget BLT and Reuben. Oreo + DQ = The Sandwich.

greenbelt frozen yogurt

Red Mango Green Tea Parfait has everything perfect in it, on it and is just it!

spaghetti factory food italian glorietta

When in a hurry, Spaghetti Factory can be a so-so lunchy.

tuna dill melt

Starbucks tuna dill melt is so lenten friendly, you can be a sinner for lusting over it.

J.Anne Gonzales Blondie Bar

Sonja’s Blondie Bar is far from dumb. It’s… black, white and to die for!
dessert chocolate cake

Cafe Mary Grace Chocolate Cake: Php100 with change and that awesome filling

bon chon chicken manila

Unbeatable BonChon Chicken Chops and Chap Chae Korean combo

sweet coffee starbucks

Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte: Sweet, sweet and just sweeeeeeet!

philippines taco bell

Ti Amo Taco Bell. Who doesn’t?

american food manila

Chili’s Appetizer Sampler: Best served with good lighting and endless chatting!

seafood pesto sandwich guy

The Sandwich Guy Seafood Pesto: You will regret being a slow eater.. like me!

jamba juice healthy snacks

Jamba Juice Steel Cut Oat:s: The reason why my fridge now has 3 kinds of oats

tea starbucks yummy

Hands down, the best reward in life is Starbucks Green Tea Frap, Grande without Whipped Cream for my forever misspelled name. Purrfect.

subway philippines tuna

Subway with Tuna and mustard is just the best anti-stress lunch, next to green tea frap.

S&R ice cream tillamook

Tillamook Mudslide makes me forget gelato and vegans exists. I love moo!!!

seafood ramen x centris

The only seafood ramen I can eat: Spicy Chikuwa Ramen. Red not because of #filter but because it’s a fiery pit of chili. Sit beside a firehouse. Be safe.

fruit shake manila

Last but not the least, Jamba Juice is love, lust and life in one. Acai Supercharger for sad days, Orange A-Peel for sick days and Banana Berry any day!

Now that I mention it, not everything is cheap or awesome discoveries. Heck, I just unloaded my memory on this post for random sightings.

Promise the next post will be more… educational and relevant. Yeah right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

ROKU and Roll (Katipunan)

QC ramen manila

While ramen houses are abound and everywhere, it is of life threatening importance to maintain a set of standards when slurping on these heavenly slivers of ramen noodles. Amen.

Never believe in promises like “home-made”, freshly made, delicious, authentic. Should you fall for the verbal trap, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Just because a bowl costs more than P300 does not equate to a premium item; oftentimes price is proportional to rent.

japanese lazy black cat blog

Over boasting and trying too hard to seem Japanese-kawaii can be a double edged samurai. When your ramen comes without the zing, pang and kick, it’s hara-kiri for that ramen house.

And so we sentence hara-kiri for Roku (Katipunan). Overpriced, overkill yet simply mediocre, it was an expensive meal for trying to be authentic.

ramen blog philippines japanese

In the lazy mood to write, the experience is best expressed as:

The ramen was bland, forgettable and abnormally bare. The tuna salad was speckled with carbs and onions—the word salad was nowhere to be enjoyed. The sushi rolls were zzzz. And the yakitori, I watched, as my cousin swallowed in disdain.

The ramen, in particular, was a disaster as the chicken karaage provided no pleasure whatsoever and the absence of other potential embellishments made this a last resort meal along the strip of Katipunan.

Japanese food katipunan

And so Roku may mean six but did absolutely nothing for my ramen fix. I can’t believe I’m saying this but: Better off with Ramen X!

Oh and if you think Serenitea, post ramen, will address your woes, think again. I simply ended up with a very bad stomach.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

Kenji Tei: Ramen Night!

Hontou ni? Ramen houses must hate me; what a sad way to treat the cat that came up with Ramen Night at Kenji Tei (Greenbelt 5).

greenbelt 5 ramen

With the prevalence of chashu and pork shio and all that animal fat, it seems that ramen night was not made for vegetarians. But still, I persist. I cannot end ramen night without enjoying a single noodle sliding down my throat.

makati japanese greenbelt jenina gonzales

And so after interrogating the waiter to the point of almost unearthing Kenji Tei’s soupy secret, we managed to come to an agreement without having to resort to yaki soba, which I pointed out is a big no-no.

Cold ramen. It is summer anyway.

The Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen) with sesame miso dressing (Hiyashi Goma Miso) came with pork slices which I asked to be magically turned into more veggies. The result is a chilled half bowl topped with tamago, cucumber and tomato slices. The presentation was lackluster was the flavor was sublimely sour and perfectly meat-free. The noodles were firmly chewy and drenched in sesame-miso, was absolutely apt as a summer salad!

The cheese gyoza seemed to be quite a hit, though sadly its pork composition could not be managed, altered and totally removed. Ah well, it was interesting watching others delight in this fried delicacy. Other shots of the dinner.

lazy black cat japanese restaurant

Japanese Greenbelt 5

makati japanese food

And of course what inspired Ramen Night.*sigh* Itadakimasu!

jenina anne gonzales

Look at my birthday note! Arigatou, Miji-kun!

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord