Urameshi-Ya and Hana at Little Tokyo in Makati City
Budget : Php 200-300 per bowl of ramen
Duration : a couple of hours
Bummers: large crowds of hungry customers
Tucked in the busy streets of Makati City, you can find a quaint compound of small restaurants offering authentic Japanese dishes. Little Tokyo is a popular place visited by fellow foodies, Japanese food lovers, and even celebrities and Japanese nationals. Many say that the food served here is the closest you can get to real Japanese food without the need of flying in the Land of the Rising Sun. If Makati City is busy with the hustle and bustle of thriving businesses, this village-like area is busy filling bellies with ramen, sushi, and katsu.
The food is not the only thing that will make you go Japanese in Little Tokyo. Even the ambiance of the restaurants mimics the Japanese atmosphere. Wooden tables and chairs are used, which allow you to sit seiza-style. Seiza is known as the proper way of sitting – done by kneeling on the floor, folding your legs under your thighs, and relaxing your buttocks on your heels.
Japanese lanterns are hanged all around to light up the area during the night.
In Urameshi-Ya, Japanese mementos like mangas and anime videos are found on large cabinets to accentuate the Japanese ambiance. Bottles of Japanese wine are lined on the bar-like corner.
Little Tokyo has a handful of restaurants so this is perfect place to go on a food trip. You can hop from one restaurant to another to sample different Japanese dishes. It was a big mistake on my side to visit Little Tokyo with a semi-filled tummy. I was not able to have a feast during my first visit but I know there will be more next times.
Our first stop is Urameshi-ya – where we were served with large bowls of piping hot ramen. While waiting for our orders, we were served with complimentary Cold Soba. Cold soba is a common noodle dish in Japan. The cold soba served to us came in small bowls, soaked in a little soy sauce-like broth, topped with thin slices of garlic and onion, and served with wasabi on the side.
Cold soba is usually eaten with a pair of chopsticks. It is acceptable to noisily slurp the noodles, which typically shows how tasty the dish is.
They may not have cold water but you can ask for the complimentary Cold Tea. It basically tastes like water with a very subtle tea flavor.
The Miso Ramen (Php 200) contains miso mixed with a broth that gives a strong tangy taste. Ground pork, corn, and slices of cabbage are soaked in the broth. It is topped with leeks, onion, and a quarter slice of boiled egg. The miso ramen is a slight sweet and hearty soup.
The Shouyu [sic Shōyu] Ramen (Php 200) comes with a clear broth that offers a light savory flavor. It is topped with a slice of marinated pork, nori, kamaboko (fish cake specifically narutomaki), and a quarter slice of boiled egg.
For Urameshi-Ya Menu, you can find it here.
After indulging ourselves with these ramen bowls, we hopped into a nearby restaurant named Hana. At the front of the restaurant, they were preparing Takoyaki (ball-shaped dish made of flour and filled with octopus).
We were tempted to try their takoyaki. The takoyaki had a soft filling inside with real octopus bits. It is topped with a sweet teriyaki-like sauce, Japanese mayo, and dried bonito shavings.
With an empty stomach, I will definitely come back to Little Tokyo soon. There are more Japanese dishes to try and a lot more to discover. Will be expecting dishes that will wow my palate.
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