Little Tokyo (and its surrounding areas) is all about the magical and fascinating food from Japan. Quite frankly, though, it is the ones fronting the complex that get the most attention (Kikufuji and Seryna come into mind).
But it is going inside where you will find other hidden gems.
Take for instance : Hana.
Hana is a small izakaya (read: after-work drinking joint). Frequented by locals and the Japanese alike. The menu is not as extensive as the other places, as Hana elects to focus more on a few things it can do best in its limited space.
Take for example these delicious Takoyaki Balls:
Takoyaki is basically soft balls if wheat batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan to keep its ball-like shape and doughy, chewy, texture. It is normally filled with prawns, fish, or pickled ginger. This one is filled with octopus.
It is best served hot, and eaten hot, too. It’s savory salty taste complements ice-cold beer, which is pretty much the staple drink (aside from sake) in your typical Japanese izakaya.
Other fried stuff? Check out their shrimp wrapped in bacon. Oh yes. This was a crowd pleaser. It was reminiscent of some Spanish tapas that you can find in Barcinos (This is probably a western influenced dish). Not as much crunch as hoped, but good nonetheless.
There is one treat here that when purchased at some high-end Japanese restaurants, comes out absurdly expensive. In here, you can have it for PHP 180.00: Shishamo.
Shishamo is basically a kind of willow fish, but Shishamo is normally caught off the cold rivers of the northern region of Hokkaido. These have a thin crunch on the outside and very tender on the inside. You eat every morsel of this delicacy. (First encounter with these delicacies was at Senju in EDSA Shangri-La Hotel)
Sushi-like items come in the form of salmon rice cakes. This is reserved for those who prefer lighter, less oily options for their meal.
Personally, though, since you at here, go for fried and grilled stuff. You won’t regret it.
Also, if you order a certain amount, you get complimentary iced tea/soft drink/beer tickets for your return trip. How awesome is that? That touch of gratitude from their part really gives Hana some good marks, even if it is just a glass of refreshment.
Lesson here: Soldier on to look for little gems around you. You are bound to be rewarded, whether it be the self-satisfaction of finding a great hole in the wall, or complimentary drinks. If you want to achieve both, then visit Hana in Little Tokyo, Makati.
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