Exploring Little Tokyo

Trixie Torralba · Makati City Food Tour · created over 2 years ago

Little Tokyo is something lot of people have heard of but only few know where or what it really is. Located in the midst of Makati Central Business District, Little Tokyo is a cluster of authentic Japanese restaurants with a unique setting. And because of its diversity, a lot of people get confused about where to go. Lined with red lanterns called akachōchin, each adorning Japanese characters, you can determine what food a restaurant serves. Unlike the other Japanese restaurants in the city, Little Tokyo has various restaurants each with their own special dishes.

Aside from its authentic taste, the whole premise is patterned after a little village in Tokyo. For this reason, you can get lost, especially if you don’t know where to go. Depending on what you feel like eating, you can be able to try the authentic Japanese food in the area. But if you don’t know what each restaurant does best, you can get lost and end up disappointed. In order to have a pleasant experience in Little Tokyo, here are the restaurants that you must know of:

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    Takoyaki at Hana in Makati City, Metro Manila

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    Okonomiyaki at Kagura Japanese Restaurant

    If you’ve never heard of Japanese pizza, then this is one restaurant you should not miss. Kagura is most famous for its Okonomiyaki. When translated into English, okonomi means ‘what you like’ while yaki translates ‘to cook’ or ‘to grill.’ The reason why this dish is considered as a Japanese pizza adaptation is largely due to the fact that it is circular in shape and is served in slices. Prepared with a pancake batter and noodles, you can ask the cook to combine any other topping along with your order. When it is cooked, it is then topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, nori, and thinly shaved bonito flakes that seem to be alive when the air conditioning hits them.

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    Matcha Pan at Yamazaki Grocery and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines

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    Shoyu Ramen at Yamazaki Grocery and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines

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    Assorted Furai at Yamazaki Grocery and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines

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    Tonkotsu Ramen at Yamazaki Grocery and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines

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    Pino Ice Cream Bon Bon at Choto Stop (Little Tokyo) in Makati City

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    Kaisen Gozen at Seryna

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    Spicy Tuna Sashimi at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Seaweed Soup at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Curry Beef at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Pork Tonkatsu at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Unagi Don at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Shake Don at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Spicy Tuna Maki at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Chahan at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Waton Pork Teppanyaki at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Ebi Tempura at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Gindara Teriyaki at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Gyoza at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Potato Croquette at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Hiyashichuka at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Okonomiyaki at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Kisu Tempura at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Katsu Curry Rice at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Chawan Mushi at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Mabo Nasu at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

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    Grilled Salmon (Shake) at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Iced Coffee at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Makunouchi Bento at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Hokke Fish at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Miso Soup at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Coffee jelly at Chotto Stop in Makati, Philippines

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    Zaru Soba at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Gindara Teriyaki at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Miso Sakana Nabe at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Beef Teppanyaki at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Sushi Nigiri Set at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Inari Sushi at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    mixed tempura at Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati City, Philippines

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    Crispy Salmon Maki at Seryna

    Seryna has gotten the recognition for being the best Japanese restaurant in the country. There is much truth to this! In fact, they are very pricey! Expect to sit beside busy Filipino and Japanese businessmen exchanging a contract over a meal. If you're lucky, you'll find a local actor! I recommend getting a reservation as it can be very crowded even on the weekdays. For inquiries and reservations, call 02) 894-3855.

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    Sushi at Nodasho in Makati City, Philippines

    Finally, the last restaurant on the list is Nodasho. Unlike the other restaurants in the area, this one caters to the people who have a higher budget. At the same time, the dishes here are good for one person only. But the good thing about this restaurant is that they are the ones that are really serving authentic Japanese foods. Nodasho is most famous for its sushi, sashimi and maki.

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    Salmon Bento Box at Choto Stop (Little Tokyo) in Makati City

    When you want to eat something heavy, Choto Stop is the ideal place you should visit. Armed with a big serving for Bento dishes and Ramen noodles, you can fill up your empty stomach with just a couple hundred Pesos before calling it a night. This restaurant not only resembles a small and casual home but also has its own grocery lurking in the side. At only P75 a piece, you can buy just about any authentic Japanese item in the grocery. Don’t forget to try their ice cream imported straight from Japan. Choto Stop is currently closed for renovations. They will resume operations in 2012. However, the grocery is still available.

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  • Kakigori at Hana in Makati, Metro Manila

    If you are a big fan of Takoyaki that is usually seen in the malls, then you have not tried authentic Takoyaki. A visit to Hana will introduce you to how well their version is different from those cheap ones in the malls. Because they are authentic, Hana cooks their Takoyaki according to order. So while waiting for this dish, you can try out the restaurants other specialties such as their donburi plates and salads. But make sure you try their Kakigori, a Japanese dessert composed with ice shavings, flavor, and milk.

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    Yakiniku at Urameshi-ya in Makati City, Metro Manila

    Next stop is one of the famous restaurants in the area called Urameshi-ya. This little restaurant is patterned after a Japanese funeral ceremony as they have made use of sotoba (grave sticks) for their decoration. The food that you can find in this restaurant is the highly recommended, Yakiniku. Translated into English, it simply means grilled meat. These are thinly sliced pieces of beef, pork, and offal (internal organs and entrails) which are cooked over a grill. When served, they come with a soy sauce based dip.

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  • Teppanyaki at Oishinbo Japanese Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines

    The first restaurant in the vicinity is called Oishinbo. As a combination of the two Japanese words: oishii (delicious) and kuishinbo (someone who loves to eat); the term roughly translates to ‘the gourmet.’ Despite its homey appearance and size, this restaurant serves up the finest dishes. Known for its Teppanyaki dishes, the restaurant is perhaps the only one in the area that is serving several items on their menu. When dishes have been cooked using an iron plate, it is called Teppanyaki.

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